University Orthopedics partners with high schools to connect young women to careers in orthopedics

UNIVERSITY ORTHOPEDICS is partnering with Lincoln School to introduce more young women to careers in orthopedics. / COURTESY UNIVERSITY ORTHOPEDICS

EAST PROVIDENCE – University Orthopedics is partnering with Lincoln School on a program aimed at exposing more women to a career in orthopedics surgery and reducing gender disparity in the field.

University Orthopedics recently began “Orthopedics in Action,” a program for students in grades 9-12 at the Lincoln School and the Metropolitan Regional Career and Technical Center, known as The Met High School, in Providence. The program follows a curriculum developed by The Perry Initiative, an organization dedicated to building a pipeline for women in engineering and medicine. It offers six classes from the curriculum and two additional sessions curated by University Orthopedics physicians: Intro to Orthopedics and Women in Orthopedics.

“This is a win-win for both groups,” said University orthopedic hand surgeon Dr. Julia Katarincic. “The students get to see a career opportunity they may never have thought of. And for females in orthopedics – who may not have had role models coming up as residents, fellows and young attendings – this is our chance to pay it forward.”

The eight-week program will include instructional lectures, hands-on orthopedic challenges and discussion/written work.

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“It is so essential for women to be able to see people who look like them in health care,” said Lincoln School junior Anabel Schiller, who is the daughter of University pediatric orthopedic surgeon Jonathan Schiller. “If there are only men in the field, why would a girl ever believe she could become an orthopedic surgeon? In making this program available here, I wanted to be able to give girls in my area the chance to see that it is possible to become a surgeon and pursue exciting opportunities in the medical field.”

Only 7.4% of orthopedic surgeons are women, said University hand surgeon Dr. Vanessa Lund, one of the instructors for the program.

“The best ways to fight this lack of gender diversity in orthopedics are pipeline programs like the Perry Initiative. These excellent programs expose young women to orthopedics and other male-dominated fields at an early age to spark an interest in the topics and also provide women with support and mentorship if they are interested in pursuing these fields,” Lund said. “A career in orthopedics is a great choice for individuals of any gender, and the field of orthopedics and its patients will benefit from a more diverse workforce of orthopedic surgeons.”

Claudia Chiappa is a PBN staff writer. You may contact her at 

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