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A Message to Female Medical Students

A message to female medical students from Kristy L. Weber, MD, Professor of Orthopaedic Surgery, Vice Chair of Faculty Affairs, Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, University of Pennsylvania.

Kristy L. Weber, MDI want to welcome and encourage female medical students to consider Penn Orthopaedics as I think you will find this to be an outstanding orthopaedic program in many ways.

I joined Penn Medicine in May 2013 to build a world class Sarcoma program and take a leadership role in the Department of Orthopaedics. I made the decision partly because I was impressed with the upward trajectory of the Orthopaedic Surgery department. I wanted to be part of a winning team and have been extremely impressed with the collegiality and leadership here since my arrival. The residency training program is top notch with high standards for educational value and teaching. Philadelphia is a vibrant city that provides endless opportunities for exploration when the work day is over!

Looking at the strong history of female residents in this program over the past 5-10 years, I have noted that many of the ‘chief’ residents have been female. Last year we were excited to match four top notch females amongst the eight new interns! We hope that we are able to match equally high quality female applicants this year.

This department is no stranger to female leaders in medicine. Mary Ann Keenan, MD was Chief of Neuro-Orthopaedics from 2002 until she retired in 2012. Dr. Keenan was revolutionary in her understanding that surgery is sometimes a more conservative and cost-effective treatment than non-operative management. She embodied the idea of a surgeon-scientist, long before this became a popular pursuit, publishing more than 80 peer reviewed manuscripts, 50 book chapters and three books. Dr. Keenan was also dedicated to the career development of her students and residents -- sharing her knowledge, skills, insights, and wisdom to not only serve as a mentor, but more importantly as an advocate, sponsor and friend.

Similar to Dr. Keenan, I am committed to mentoring, both, male and female residents and have taken a particular interest in promoting the careers of female residents and faculty over the years. Having good mentors is one of the main reasons I have been able to develop a successful academic career and am returning that kindness to the next generation of surgeons.

The Department Chairman, L. Scott Levin, shares in this commitment. Dr. Levin has been incredibly supportive of women, sets a high standard for himself and others and helps residents and faculty identify and achieve their goals. He is the best leader that I’ve worked for in the field of orthopaedics. Dr. Levin has been a supporter of the Perry Initiative. Penn Orthopaedics has hosted this program in past years and we look forward to hosting it again in early 2015. Both of us are also members of the Ruth Jackson Orthopaedic Society.

I have also organized a quarterly ‘Ortho Gals Night Out’ to bring female faculty and residents together in a casual setting so that we can discuss professional topics such as networking, negotiation, conflict management and anything else that the group feels is important. Recently I hosted an Ortho Gals Luncheon at my home for all female orthopaedic surgeons who are residents/fellows/practicing surgeons in the Philadelphia area. Fifteen women were able to participate and we will have this again as there are ~40 female orthopaedic surgeons in the city!

If there are any questions you might have as you consider Penn Orthopaedics, please don’t hesitate to contact me at Kristy.weber@uphs.upenn.edu.

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