Orthopaedic Faculty and Resident Sex Diversity Are Associated with the Orthopaedic Residency Application Rate of Female Medical Students

UMMS Affiliation

Department of Orthopedics and Physical Rehabilitation

Publication Date


Document Type



Medical Education | Orthopedics


BACKGROUND: The representation of women in orthopaedics in the United States remains among the lowest in all fields of medicine, and prior research has suggested that this underrepresentation may stem from lower levels of interest among female medical students. Of the many proposed reasons for this lack of interest, the male-dominated nature of the field is one of the most commonly cited. The purpose of this study was to determine the degree to which the representation of women among orthopaedic faculty and residents influences female medical students at that institution to apply for a residency in orthopaedics.

METHODS: Using data provided by the Association of American Medical Colleges, we identified all U.S. medical schools that were affiliated with an orthopaedic surgery department and an orthopaedic surgery residency program (n = 107). For each institution, data on the representation of women among the orthopaedic faculty and residents from 2014 through 2016 were collected, as well as data on the proportion of female medical school graduates who applied to an orthopaedic residency program from 2015 through 2017. The association between institutional factors and the female medical student orthopaedic application rate was assessed.

RESULTS: Of 22,707 women who graduated from medical school during the 3-year study period, 449 (1.98%) applied to an orthopaedic surgery residency program. Women who attended medical school at institutions with high orthopaedic faculty sex diversity were more likely to apply for a residency in orthopaedics (odds ratio [OR], 1.30; 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.04 to 1.64; p = 0.023), as were women who attended medical school at institutions with high orthopaedic resident sex diversity (OR, 1.30; 95% CI, 1.05 to 1.61; p = 0.019).

CONCLUSIONS: In this study, we found that increased sex diversity among orthopaedic faculty and residents was associated with a greater likelihood that female medical students at that institution would apply for an orthopaedic residency. These results suggest that at least some of the factors currently impeding female medical student interest in orthopaedics may be modifiable. These findings may have important implications for efforts to improve the sex diversity of the field of orthopaedics going forward.

DOI of Published Version



J Bone Joint Surg Am. 2019 Jun 19;101(12):e56. doi: 10.2106/JBJS.18.00320. Link to article on publisher's site

Journal/Book/Conference Title

The Journal of bone and joint surgery. American volume

Related Resources

Link to Article in PubMed

PubMed ID