High School Students introduced to Orthopedic Medicine through ONS Foundation “Women in Medicine” Program

Education initiative encourages female students to consider career in orthopedics

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Greenwich Academy students are given hands on experience in arthroscopic research laboratory at the ONS Foundation Lab in Greenwich, CT.

Greenwich Academy students get hands on eperience in arthroscopic research laboratory at the ONS Foundation Lab in Greenwich, CT.

Inspiring and mentoring high school and college students toward a career in medicine is part of the education initiative of the ONS Foundation.

GREENWICH, CT (PRWEB) January 09, 2013

On December 10th fifteen students from Greenwich Academy, an independent, all girls school in Greenwich, visited the ONS Foundation for Clinical Research and Education in Greenwich Office Park for a unique introduction to medicine led by orthopedic surgeon Katie Vadasdi, MD. The program consisted of a series of talks, demonstrations and hands-on labs for the young women, including an ultrasound demonstration, a physical therapy lecture and clinic tour, MRI review, as well as a hands-on arthroscopic surgery demonstration- all aimed at providing the experience of diagnosing and treating patients with musculoskeletal injuries or conditions. Dr. Vadasdi, who is in practice with Orthopaedic and Neurosurgery Specialists and on staff at Greenwich Hospital, was assisted by physiatrist Tamar Kessel, MD, hand specialist Mark Vitale, MD and physical therapist Alicia Hirscht.

The ONS Foundation offers programs for medical professionals as well as for students beginning in high school. Since opening an arthroscopic research lab at their site on Valley Drive in Greenwich, the ONS Foundation has hosted numerous training and research sessions for locals as well as physicians from as far away as Germany and China.

According to the Association of American Medical Colleges, women account for less than half of all applicants and enrollees in medical schools and they make up about 35 percent of medical residents. When it comes to orthopedics however, less than 10% of medical students choose to specialize in orthopedic surgery. “The reasons for this are complex but one big factor is the lack of adequate role models for young women,” says Dr. Vadasdi. “Mentoring is key to drawing more young women into many areas of specialized medicine, especially orthopedics.”

“Inspiring and mentoring high school and college students toward a career in medicine is part of the education initiative of the ONS Foundation,” said Foundation President Paul Sethi, MD. “It is the aim of the Foundation and the lab to serve both the immediate Fairfield County community and the broader field of medicine.”

“I loved the hands-on aspect of the visit,” commented one of the Greenwich Academy students. “Being able to do the ultrasound myself and perform a mock knee surgery was the coolest thing ever. Even though it was a model, I really felt like I was actually looking inside a knee! One of the {best} parts was Dr. Vadasi's video in her powerpoint of the real shoulder surgery {where we saw} the clamp grabbing hold of the tendon, using the anchor, and tying the strings.”

Dr. Vadasdi, who is fellowship-trained in shoulder surgery and sports medicine, was the first female orthopedic surgeon on staff at Greenwich Hospital. A graduate of Dartmouth Medical School, she did her residency at the Hospital for Special Surgery and her fellowship training at Columbia University Medical Center in New York. Her other passions for family and sports were also topics of conversation for the visiting students, who were relieved to know that it’s possible to have a career in medicine - and have a life and other interests in addition to being a doctor.

“It is so important for the girls to not only understand the work but also to envision themselves working and learning in a medical practice environment,” said Ann Decker, Greenwich Academy Director, Duff Center for STEM Initiatives. “Working with the actual surgical tools, ultrasound machine and other equipment in the teaching lab made a huge impact. The significance of interaction with Dr. Vadasdi and her colleagues as role models cannot be overstated. Students respond to people who are engaged with them.”

“When I was a senior in high school in Massachusetts, I had the opportunity to do an internship with an orthopedic surgeon,” recalled Dr. Vadasdi. “In college I interned at Boston Children’s Hospital. These experiences stimulated my interest in learning about the musculoskeletal system. Despite a lack of female mentors in the field, I studied under a lot of wonderful people who encouraged me to follow my gut.”

ONS Foundation for Clinical Research and Education, Inc. is a registered not-for-profit, 501(c)3 organization devoted to understanding the causes and optimal treatments of orthopedic injuries and musculoskeletal conditions. In alliance with Greenwich Hospital, the ONS Foundation strives to improve standards of excellence for the treatment of musculoskeletal disorders through clinical research, physician and patient education, and community outreach. The office is located at 6 Greenwich Office Park, Greenwich, CT. For information about the ONS Foundation, visit http://www.ons-foundation.org or call (203) 869-3131.


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