Impact of a Musculoskeletal Clerkship on Orthopedic Surgery Applicant Diversity

Am J Orthop (Belle Mead NJ). 2016 Sep/Oct;45(6):E347-E351.


Orthopedic surgery lacks racial and sexual diversity, which we hypothesized stems from absence of exposure to orthopedics during medical school. We conducted a study to determine whether diversity of matched orthopedic surgery residency applicants increased after introduction of a required third-year rotation. We compared 2 groups: precurriculum and postcurriculum. The postcurriculum group was exposed to a required 1-month musculoskeletal rotation during the third year of medical school. Comparisons were made of percentage of total students exposed to orthopedics, percentage who applied to and matched to orthopedic surgery, and proportion of women and underrepresented minorities. A prospective survey was used to determine when students chose orthopedics and what influenced their decisions. The required rotation increased the percentage of third-year students rotating on orthopedics (25%) with no change in application rate (6%). It also led to an 81% relative increase in the proportion of female applicants and a 101% relative increase in underrepresented minority applicants. According to survey data, 79% of students chose orthopedics during their third year, and 88% thought they were influenced by their rotation. A required third-year rotation exposes more medical students to orthopedics and increases the diversity of matching students.

MeSH terms

  • Career Choice*
  • Cultural Diversity
  • Decision Making*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Internship and Residency*
  • Male
  • Orthopedics / education*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires