The Distribution of Underrepresented Minorities in U.S. Orthopaedic Surgery Residency Programs

Muyibat A. Adelani, Melvyn A. Harrington, Corey O. Montgomery

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

27 Scopus citations


Background:Orthopaedic surgery has generally lagged behind other surgical subspecialties with respect to racial and ethnic diversity in its U.S. residency programs. Efforts have been made to increase the number of underrepresented minorities (URMs) applying to orthopaedic surgery residencies; however, the impact on diversity at the residency program level is unknown. The purpose of this study was to determine whether orthopaedic surgery residency programs have become more racially diverse over time.Methods:The Graduate Medical Education Track database was queried for individual racial/ethnic identification of orthopaedic surgery residents in U.S. Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME)-accredited programs for 15 consecutive years (2002-2003 through 2016-2017). The number of URMs in each residency program during each academic year was recorded. The number of programs per year with no URMs, 1 URM, 2 URMs, and >2 URMs was recorded, and the change over time was assessed.Results:The number of programs per year with >1 URM resident decreased over time, from 61 programs in 2002 to 53 programs in 2016, with the trough being 31 programs in 2010 (p < 0.0001). The number of programs per year without any URM residents increased over the period of study, from 40 programs in 2002 to 60 programs in 2016, with the peak being 76 programs in 2011 (p < 0.0001).Conclusions:The number of residency programs with >1 URM resident has decreased significantly over time, suggesting that diversity at the program level is limited. Program-level diversity should be further examined as a potential barrier to the recruitment of URMs to orthopaedics. Difficulty attracting URM residents to certain programs may have the unintended consequence of effectively limiting potential positions for these candidates, which can decrease the odds of minority students matching into orthopaedics and, therefore, perpetuate the cycle of lack of diversity in our field.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)E96
JournalJournal of Bone and Joint Surgery - American Volume
Issue number18
StatePublished - Sep 18 2019


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