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Clin Orthop Relat Res. 2010 Jul;468(7):1804-8. doi: 10.1007/s11999-010-1318-4.

Do men outperform women during orthopaedic residency training?

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Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, University of Minnesota, 2450 Riverside Avenue, Suite R200, Minneapolis, MN, 55454, USA.



Orthopaedic surgery residency has one of the lowest percentages of women (13.1%) of all primary surgical specialties. There are many possible reasons for this, including bias during the selection process.


We therefore asked whether performance during residency might adversely bias the selection of future female orthopaedic residents by researching whether males and females perform equally in orthopaedic surgery residency.


Ninety-seven residents enrolled in our residency between 1999 and 2009; six males and one female left the program, leaving 90 residents (73 males, 17 females) as the study cohort. Resident performance was compared for OITE scores, ABOS results, faculty evaluations, and in a resident graduate survey.


Males and females had similar faculty evaluations in all ACGME competency areas. Males and females had similar mean OITE scores for Years 2-5 of residency, although males had higher mean scores at Years 3 through 5. Males and females had similar mean ABOS Part 1 scores and ABOS Part 1 pass rates; however, fewer males than females took more than one attempt to pass. Males and females had similar Part 2 pass rates or attempts. For the 45 resident graduates surveyed, females pursued fellowships equally to males, worked slightly less hours in practice, and reported higher satisfaction with their career choice.


For the 90 residents at one residency program, we observed no differences between males' and females' performance. Although females pursue orthopaedic residency less frequently than males, performance during residency should not bias their future selection.

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