Cultural transformation Organizational Culture

Challenges to the Prevailing Orthopaedic Culture: Breaking Barriers

l could not have chosen a better year to attend the annual meeting of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons #AAOS2019 (AAOS). Last week, while I attended the meeting in Las Vegas, Dr. Kristy Weber became the first female president of the AAOS. This is a historic milestone for those within the field of Orthopaedics and one that will hopefully signal important changes in the prevailing Orthopaedic culture.

For me, one of the highlights of the meeting was having the opportunity to interview Dr. Weber on-camera. My team and I were there working for the American Board of Orthopaedic Surgery (ABOS), producing a series of videos featuring leaders in the field of Orthopaedic Surgery (part of a content marketing initiative). It was an honor to spend a few minutes with Dr. Weber and hear her perspectives on any number of issues. During a very busy time, she was gracious to give me a few minutes of her time.

It is an understatement to say there was a buzz at the conference as Dr. Weber delivered her inaugural address. The excitement continued well after the ceremony and will hopefully ignite a passion for transformation within the field. The Tweets from attendees and fellow Orthopaedic Surgeons tell the story:


For a couple of years now, I have followed the #LooksLikeASurgeon social media campaign that addresses issues related to gender, racial, and ethnic diversity within the surgery profession.

“The movement started with a couple of tweets and a blog post on the evening of August 5 2015). Friends Sara Scarlet, MD, and Heather Logghe, MD, both surgical residents at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, were texting each other and discussing #iLookLikeAnEngineer, a movement and Twitter campaign characterized by women engineers and other marginalized groups in engineering and technology who are posting pictures with the hashtag or comment #iLookLikeAnEngineer. As Dr. Logghe, a Resident Member of the ACS, recalls, Dr. Scarlet made the comment that it was unfortunate that surgery didn’t have a hashtag along the lines of #ILookLikeASurgeon. A few tweets ensued, and on August 7, Dr. Logghe generated a blog post titled “#ILookLikeASurgeon. Tweet it. Own it: Be the Role Model You Always Wanted But Never Had,” and from there, the message spread across the Internet.” (Source: Bulletin of the American College of Surgeons, November 1, 2015)

“Both the intent of and response to this campaign have been generally positive. Early on, in a move that separates it from similar campaigns, #ILookLikeASurgeon welcomed the involvement of men with the goal of including surgeons from all backgrounds, regardless of gender identity, ethnicity, culture, or physical impairment. The campaign seeks to bring a community of surgeons together to communicate and collaborate to address stereotypes in surgery that affect both men and women, and which ultimately affect all surgeons. The positive tone of the message and the spirit of inclusion have helped #ILookLikeASurgeon achieve global recognition, extending to more than 75 countries and 20 languages. Posting continues around the world, showing surgeons at work and at home; in the operating room (OR) and on vacation; with colleagues, students, residents, and mentors; with friends, family, and children—including more than a few family photos containing multiple generations of surgeons.” (Source: Bulletin of the American College of Surgeons, November 1, 2015)

It is exciting to witness real change taking place! Congratulations, Dr. Weber. It was a pleasure meeting you. I am grateful for the opportunity.


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