Two years ago I gave a talk titled, “Diversity & Orthopedics” to the medical students of the Columbia Longitudinal Information Program, our version of a virtual sub-internship during the challenging COVID period. I was asked to give this talk because I consider myself an ally and an advocate for diversity in medicine, and especially orthopedic surgery. My work with the Ruth Jackson Orthopedic Society, being mentored by Julie Samora and Dawn LaPorte, and working at an institution like Columbia is not accidental. Columbia Orthopedics is in some ways a champion of diversity in orthopedic surgery training: we consistently have over the national average of women residents (usually ~30%) and are in the top ten residency programs in the country to graduate African American trainees. Yet, I found myself giving this talk embarrassed that a key piece of diversity was still being addressed in whispers among orthopedic surgeons: sexual orientation and gender identity.
The slides above are taken directly from my talk – nearly two years ago.
A few days ago, I became the 100th member of Pride Ortho.
Pride Ortho has turned the whispers into conversation. The dilemmas into discussion. The uncomfortable no one was talking about into the uncomfortable everyone should be celebrating – because the only way to change is to get uncomfortable.
I am a white, heterosexual cis woman in orthopedic surgery without a pedigree of orthopedic surgery, or medicine, behind me. I will treat any patient regardless of race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, and I recognize that not every patient will want me to be their doctor – and perhaps they would prefer someone who is Latinx, bisexual, trans female – and more importantly maybe their outcome will be better because of that. As the 100th member of Pride Ortho, I feel lucky to join 99 others in orthopedic surgery as an advocate an ally towards uncomfortable change.
Welcome to the century club, Pride Ortho – cheers to all of the milestones ahead!!
Author: Dr. Christen Russo MD
Dr. Russo became the 100th member of Pride Ortho on May 26th, 2022.
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