Approximately 40 northern Nevada high school girls were equipped last weekend with power tools, pins, clamps and rods that enabled them to saw through artificial bone during mock surgery sessions while learning the basics of orthopedic surgery and engineering concepts at the University of Nevada, Reno School of Medicine.
UNR Med, in partnership with the Reno Orthopedic Clinic (ROC) Foundation and The Perry Initiative, a national non-profit working to recruit women into orthopedic surgery and engineering careers, co-hosted a day where the girls received hands-on training from local women surgeons, physicians and engineers.
The workshop followed a session on Friday geared to medical students, in which female medical students from UNR Med attended. Experts in the medical and engineering fields say such programs can be critical in instilling knowledge and confidence in young women early on.
Currently, women constitute less than 7% of practicing orthopedists according to the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons, and women constitute 13% of engineers, according to the Society of Women Engineers. The Perry Initiative is working to motivate young women to enter male-dominated fields through introductory skills and mock surgeries.
“The statistics for women in STEM fields are sobering,” says Sara DePaoli, foundation director of the Reno Orthopedic Clinic (ROC). “The Perry Initiative is focused on introducing young women to STEM careers and creating a support network. It’s important for young women to see and connect with women working in STEM.”
Today, the Perry Initiative runs more than 40 one-day outreach programs nationwide and has reached more than 6,000 high school, college and medical students. These programs are supported in Reno by the ROC Foundation, a local 501c3 with the primary mission of supporting local orthopedic education, outreach, evidence-based research and advanced fellowship training.
Since it was established in 1969, UNR Med has trained 3,500 physicians with nearly 1,300 currently practicing in Nevada, who are leading the way to a healthier Nevada, the nation and the world.
Participating students submitted an essay and application to gain admittance to the program. The Perry Outreach Program is free to female high school and medical students. For more information, contact Sara DePaoli at ROC Foundation, (775) 785-3416 or Amy McFarland at UNR Med, (775) 682-7734. More information about The Perry Initiative.