Current Trends in Sex, Race, and Ethnic Diversity in Orthopaedic Surgery Residency

Background: 

The representation of minorities among medical students has increased over the past two decades, but diversity among orthopaedic residents lags behind. This phenomenon has occurred despite a recent focus by the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons on the recruitment of minorities and women.

Objective: 

To analyze the impact of recent efforts on diversity in orthopaedic residents in comparison with other surgical specialties from 2006 to 2015.

Methods: 

Data from the American Association of Medical Colleges on residents in surgical specialty programs in the years 2006 to 2015 were analyzed. Linear regression models were used to estimate trends in diversity among orthopaedic residents and residents in other surgical specialties. A mixed model analysis of variance was used to compare rates of diversification among different specialties over time.

Results: 

Female representation in orthopaedic programs increased from 10.9% to 14.4% between 2006 and 2015. However, the rate of increase was significantly lower compared with other specialties (all P < 0.05) studied, except for urology (P = 0.64). Minority representation in orthopaedics averaged 25.6% over the 10-year period. Residents of Hispanic origin in orthopaedic programs increased (P = 0.0003) but decreased for Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islander (P < 0.0001). During the same period, white representation increased (P = 0.004). No significant changes were found in African Americans or Asian American representation. Diversity decreased among orthopaedic residents over the period studied (P = 0.004).

Conclusions: 

Recruitment efforts have not reversed the sex, racial, and ethnic disparities in orthopaedic residents. Orthopaedics has the lowest representation of women and minorities among residencies studied. The rate of increase in women lags behind all surgical subspecialties, except for urology.