Patient Disparities and Provider Diversity in Orthopaedic Surgery: A Complex Relationship

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Disparities in the access to, utilization of, and outcomes after orthopaedic surgery are a notable problem in the field that limits patients' ability to access the highest level of care and achieve optimal outcomes. Disparities exist based on numerous sociodemographic factors, with sex and race/ethnicity being two of the most well-studied factors linked to disparities in orthopaedic care. These disparities cross all subspecialties and tend to negatively affect women and racial/ethnic minorities. The increased recognition of the disparities in orthopaedic care has been paralleled by an increased recognition of the lack of diversity among orthopaedic surgeons. Although efforts are being made to improve the representation of women and underrepresented minorities among orthopaedic surgeons, the numbers, particularly of racial and ethnic minorities, show little improvement. The lack of gender and racial diversity among orthopaedic surgeons may be one of many factors related to the gender and racial disparities seen in orthopaedic care. Patients may prefer a provider that they can better identify with and that may affect care. Orthopaedic surgery as a specialty must continue to work to foster an inclusive environment and make concerted efforts to improve diversity through the recruitment of women and underrepresented minorities, among others, for the benefit of patients, surgeons, and the continued growth of the field as a whole.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)132-139
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons
Issue number3
StatePublished - Feb 1 2023


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