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Bringing Young Women to Orthopaedics and Engineering: WFBH Orthopaedics and The Perry Initiative

The Perry InitiativeWith a goal of bringing young women into the fields of orthopaedic surgery and engineering, Wake Forest Baptist Health and The Perry Initiative recently teamed up to give a 2 day workshop that introduces young women to the tools of orthopaedics.

The Perry Initiative was brought to Wake Forest Biotech Place on February 6-7, 2015, by Drs. Cynthia Emory and Anna Miller, assistant professors in the Department of Orthopaedic Surgery at Wake Forest School of Medicine and Kerry Danelson, PhD, assistant professor in the Department of Orthopaedic Surgery and Biomedical Engineering.

During the 2 days of the workshop, medical students and high school students used bone saws, learned suturing techniques, implanted femoral nails, used arthroscopic cameras, along with many other orthopaedic techniques and materials.

The Perry Initiative“I think the lectures and the hands on session were both interesting and fun,“ says Danelson. “ I enjoyed talking with the participants in the small groups during the hands on portion because they had really great questions.”

The Perry Initiative runs hands-on, in depth training sessions aimed at introducing young women to the tools and methods of orthopaedic surgery and biomedical engineering -- fields with historically low numbers of female professionals. Women comprise only 12% of orthopaedic faculty and 7% of practicing orthopedists across the country, according to the Perry Initiative website.

"The goal is to educate young women about careers in engineering and orthopaedic surgery early in their education, with the long-term goal of increasing the number of women who enter engineering fields and orthopaedic surgery,” Miller says.

“I think it is helpful for these young women to see women that have been successful,” says Danelson.  “I also think it is useful for us to tell them that if they are interested in their careers they can be successful if they work hard.

 Jenni Buckley, Ph.D., an assistant professor of mechanical engineering at the University of Delaware, and Lisa Lattanza, M.D., a board-certified orthopaedic surgeon and associate professor of orthopaedic surgery at the University of California at San Francisco, founded the organization.

The Perry Initiative



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