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The Relationship Between Required Medical School Instruction in Musculoskeletal Medicine and Application Rates to Orthopaedic Surgery Residency Programs
Joseph Bernstein, MD1; Matthew R. DiCaprio, MD2; Samir Mehta, MD1
1 Department of Orthopedic Surgery, Veterans' Hospital, University of Pennsylvania, 424 Stemmler Hall, Philadelphia, PA 19104-6081. E-mail address for J. Bernstein: orthodoc@post.harvard.edu
2 Department of Orthopedic Surgery, Yale University, P.O. Box 208071, New Haven, CT 06520
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The authors did not receive grants or outside funding in support of their research or preparation of this manuscript. They did not receive payments or other benefits or a commitment or agreement to provide such benefits from a commercial entity. No commercial entity paid or directed, or agreed to pay or direct, any benefits to any research fund, foundation, educational institution, or other charitable or nonprofit organization with which the authors are affiliated or associated.

The Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery, Incorporated
J Bone Joint Surg Am, 2004 Oct 01;86(10):2335-2338
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Abstract

Background: Orthopaedic residency programs lack gender and race diversity. This study examines the hypothesis that exposure to a required course in musculoskeletal medicine in medical school is associated with a higher rate of application to orthopaedic surgery residency programs by underrepresented groups.

Methods: All 122 medical schools in the United States were surveyed in 2001 to determine whether they required dedicated course work in musculoskeletal medicine, defined as a preclinical module or clinical clerkship in orthopaedic surgery, rheumatology, or physiatry. Data from the Electronic Residency Application Service were obtained for the class of 2002. From these two sources, the rate of applications from students to orthopaedic surgery residency programs was calculated as a function of exposure to a required course in musculoskeletal medicine. Subgroup analysis was further carried out for women and for African Americans, Latinos, and Native Americans.

Results: In 2002, there were 16,294 graduates of American medical schools, of whom approximately 55% had mandatory instruction in musculoskeletal medicine. The rate of application to orthopaedic surgery residency programs was 5.7% among the students with required instruction compared with a rate of 5.1% for students without such required instruction. The rate of application for female students was 2.0% for those who had required courses and 1.1% for the female students who had not had the required courses. The rate of application for minority students in schools with required courses was 8.2% compared with a rate of 6.1% for those students without such exposure.

Conclusions: Required instruction in musculoskeletal medicine was associated with a 12% higher rate of application to orthopaedic surgery residency programs among all students (5.7% of those who received required instruction compared with 5.1% of those who did not). The relative difference was more pronounced among women (a 75% difference in the rate of application) and minorities (a 35% difference in the rate of application). This study suggests that required instruction in musculoskeletal medicine can help to promote diversity in orthopaedic surgery residency programs.

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    Accreditation Statement
    These activities have been planned and implemented in accordance with the Essential Areas and policies of the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education (ACCME) through the joint sponsorship of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons and The Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery, Inc. The American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons is accredited by the ACCME to provide continuing medical education for physicians.
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