Background: Diversity among health professionals is believed to be an important step toward improving patient communication and addressing health disparities. Orthopaedic surgery traditionally has been overly represented by Caucasian males, and it remains one of the least racially and gender-diversified surgical subspecialties. As the US population becomes increasingly diverse, a concomitant increase in ethnic diversity and gender diversity is needed to ensure that all Americans receive high-quality, culturally competent health care.
Questions/purposes: We asked whether (1) representation of female orthopaedic residents and clinical faculty and (2) representation of ethnic minority orthopaedic residents, clinical faculty, and basic science faculty increased during the past 15 years since our original study.
Methods: A questionnaire, created on SurveyMonkey®, was distributed by email to the coordinators of all 152 orthopaedic residency training programs in the United States.
Results: Eighty (53%) responses were received. The percentage of female orthopaedic surgery residents and female clinical faculty has nearly doubled since 1995. The percentages of African American, Asian/Pacific Islander, and Hispanic orthopaedic residents, and of clinical faculty have increased. Orthopaedic basic science research faculty is 83% male and is comprised primarily of Caucasians (62%) and Asian/Pacific Islanders (24%).
Conclusions: Despite the increase in diversity in the orthopaedic workforce during the past 15 years, ethnic and gender disparities persist among orthopaedic residency programs regarding residents, clinical faculty, and basic research faculty. To increase diversity in orthopaedic residency programs, an emphasis on recruiting ethnic and gender minority candidates needs to become a priority in the orthopaedic academic community.