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The Harvard Gazette

No bones about it

Moving beyond the scientific nudge

Health & Medicine

No bones about it

Blake Hauser (drilling) and Julia Gelissen practicing drilling and inserting intramedullary nail on sawbones model.

Health & Medicine

No bones about it

Henry Alves helps medical students Blake Hauser (left) and Julia Gelissen at a recent orthopaedics workshop.

Photos courtesy of Brigham and Women's Hospital

Program encourages women med students to specialize in orthopaedics

In medicine, orthopaedics has traditionally been a male-dominated field. But that doesn’t mean it has to stay that way.

Now in its third year, the B.O.N.E.S (Bringing Orthopedics to New England Students of Medicine) Initiative is a half-day event hosted by the women of the Harvard Combined Orthopaedic Residency Program that provides networking opportunities, information, and hands-on experience with orthopaedics for female medical students from all around New England.

Dr. Brandon Earp, Brigham and Women’s Faulkner Hospital’s chief of orthopaedics, was among the organizers of the May 12 session. She said, “The goal is to show female medical school students what we do and hopefully interest them in pursuing a similar career path.”

Though orthopaedics has been a male specialty, Earp said that’s changing. “There is a perception that you need to be big and strong to be an orthopaedic surgeon. I like to think it’s more about being smart and thoughtful and using finesse rather than brawn.” The B.O.N.E.S. Initiative, held at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, was designed to show young women how rewarding a career in orthopaedic surgery can be.

“During the main part of the day, we have them practice suturing on pigs’ feet, do splinting and casting, use the drills and put in hardware that we would use for fracture patients. We also have them do reconstructive techniques for sports injuries. It’s all designed to give them a broad picture of the different procedures we do,” said Earp.

Trenika Williams learns suture techniques using a pig foot model.

Trenika Williams learns suture techniques using a pig foot model.

Mitchel Harris demonstrates to Heleyn Grissom (left) and Tricia Giglio methods to place an intramedullary nail on a femur sawbones model.

Students learn how to insert an intramedullary nail on a femur sawbones model. Image 1: Alves (from left), Williams, and Amber Parker. Image 2: Heleyn Grissom (from left), Tricia Giglio, and Mitchel Harris.