Barriers to Increasing Diversity in Orthopaedics

Tyler C. McDonald, Luke C. Drake, William H. Replogle, Matthew L. Graves, Jaysson T. Brooks

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

37 Scopus citations


Background: There are little data to explain why the surgical subspecialty of orthopaedic surgery struggles with improving the racial/ethnic composition of its workforce. The current work sought to determine what orthopaedic residency program directors and coordinators believe are the barriers to improving diversity at their own programs. Methods: Between November 17, 2018, and April 1, 2019, a 17-question survey was electronically distributed to the program directors and coordinators of 155 allopathic orthopaedic surgery residency programs. Seventy-five of 155 programs (48.4%) responded to the survey. A p-value of < 0.05 was used to determine statistical significance. Results: The most commonly stated barriers to increasing diversity within the orthopaedic surgery programs were the following: “We do not have enough minority faculty, which may deter the applicants” (69.3%), “We consistently rank minority applicants high but can never seem to match them” (56%), and “Not enough minorities are applying to our program” (54.7%). Programs with higher percentages of underrepresented minority (URM) faculty had higher percentages of URM residents (p = 0.001). Programs participating in the Nth Dimensions and/or Perry Initiative programs had a higher percentage of URM faculty as compared to the residency programs that did not participate in these programs (p = 0.004). URM residents represented 17.5% of all residents who resigned and/or were dismissed in the 10 years preceding the survey while also only representing 6% of all orthopaedic residents during the same time period. Conclusions: From the orthopaedic residency program perspective, the greatest perceived barrier to increasing the racial/ethnic diversity of residents in their program is their lack of URM faculty. Surveyed programs with more URM faculty had more URM residents, and programs participating in Nth Dimensions and/or Perry Initiative programs had a higher percentage of URM faculty.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere0007
JournalJBJS Open Access
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 1 2020
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine


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