Public Perceptions of Orthopaedic Surgeon Diversity for Residency Selection Using Online Crowdsourcing

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Conference Proceeding

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Introduction: There is growing emphasis within the orthopaedic community to improve surgeon diversity. Here we evaluate the public's perception of surgeon background, diversity, academic success, and technical competency when selecting potential orthopaedic residents. Methods: A survey was developed and distributed using an online marketplace. 510 completed responses were collected. Participants were divided into an “acceptable” and “unacceptable” cohort based on their response to the following scenario: a) accepting a more diverse orthopaedic surgery residency candidate of satisfactory academic competency versus a b) less diverse but more academically competitive applicant. The cohorts were compared regarding their demographics, various values placed on surgeon background, and importance of technical competency using Student's unpaired t-test and χ2 test. Results: 297 participants (58.2%) responded acceptable, while 213 (41.2%) responded unacceptable. Acceptable respondents were generally younger (39.34 vs 41.99 years; p< .05), female (49.49% vs 39.44%; p< .05), and of minority background (Caucasian 79.46% vs 88.26%; p< .05). When asked about diversity in isolation, the majority of respondents from both cohorts found it valuable (95.29% vs 60.56%; p< .0001). In a hypothetical scenario, respondents were asked how admissible/inadmissible they were with accepting a A) highly diverse resident candidate with varying levels of surgical skill over an B) average diversity residency candidate with high surgical skill. As the surgical skill of candidate “A” decreased, an increasing number of respondents from both cohorts found it inadmissible to select candidate A over B. However, the acceptable cohort was more tolerant of accepting a more diverse applicant as surgical skill decreased (Diverse with [high skill]: 96.96% vs 83.09%; [average skill]: 48.48% vs 8.92%; [below average skill]: 39.39 vs 7.52%; p< .0001). Conclusion: An increasingly diverse community of orthopaedists is valued among potential orthopaedic patients. However, technical competency remains a more critical factor when selecting surgeons among the public.


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