More women are entering medical and graduate schools, but women constitute only 12 percent of academic faculty in orthopedics and only seven percent of practicing orthopedists, according to the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons. Likewise, just 11 percent of engineering school faculty members are women. The Perry Outreach Program seeks to increase those numbers.
In 2011, Beaumont’s department of orthopedic surgery hosted the first ever Michigan-based program, with the goal of encouraging local high school women to consider careers in orthopedic medicine or engineering. Last weekend, the program drew 35 new attendees from several southeast Michigan high schools, one college freshman from Wayne State and one student from Kansas.
“The focus of our program is to encourage young women to consider their future and a career in medicine or engineering,” explains Rachel Rohde, M.D., Beaumont orthopedic hand and upper extremity surgeon and Perry Outreach Program site coordinator. “How better to judge if it might be a career fit than to spend a day here with professionals from those fields.”
In addition to Dr. Rohde, many other Beaumont-affiliated professional women volunteered their time and expertise at the event.
Beaumont’s version of the program was a one-day, hands-on event designed to inform and inspire participating students. The eight-hour program was held in the Applebaum Surgical Learning Center at Beaumont, Royal Oak and included presentations from local orthopedic surgeons and research engineers, and interactive lab exercises, which allowed participants to simulate:
- external fixation
- knee ligament reconstruction
- intramedullary nailing
- complex fracture repair
The mission of the Perry Initiative is to inspire young women to be leaders in the fields of orthopedic surgery and engineering by running hands-on outreach programs across the country for women students in high school, college and medical school. The program is named in honor of Jacquelin Perry, M.D., the first female orthopedic surgeon to graduate from the residency program at the University of California, San Francisco.