It’s been the third year Dawn LaPorte, M.D., and Lynne Jones, Ph.D., faculty members and researchers in the Johns Hopkins Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, have participated in the Perry Initiative and introduced many young women to orthopaedics.
The Perry Initiative aims to reach out to young women to encourage them to develop interest and pursue careers in the fields of orthopaedic surgery and engineering. The organization partners with leading health care institutions like Johns Hopkins to host lectures and workshops throughout the country for female high school and medical students.
“This is an opportunity to introduce girls and young women to science and technology in a way that is fun and stimulates their interest,” says Jones. LaPorte adds that no prior knowledge of orthopaedics is required from participants. As long as they show interest in learning, they will get all the information they need from the combination of lectures and hands-on skill sessions.
Johns Hopkins has been involved with the Perry Initiative since 2014 and hosts two outreach events in orthopaedic surgery each year, led by Jones and LaPorte.
“When I was in high school, I was fortunate enough to have very strong mentors. I also attended a National Science Foundation program that had similar goals to the Perry Initiative: to introduce high school students to the worlds of medicine, bioengineering and research. I know that this impacted my life, and I wanted to share the same experience with others,” says Jones.
“Orthopaedic surgery is an outstanding and very rewarding field, yet it has fewer women than any other surgical subspecialty. It is very important for young women to be exposed to orthopaedics and engineering early, and to see that women can and do succeed in these fields and love what they do. I enjoy and value the opportunity to introduce these young women to orthopaedic surgery, and to serve as a mentor to them,” shares LaPorte.
One of the benefits of the Perry Initiative is that the young women who participate in these programs get their foot in the door of such prestigious institutions as Johns Hopkins. Jones and LaPorte have had numerous Perry Initiative graduates reach out to them for more information.
“I have had high school students reach out to me to take a tour of the hospital and research labs,” says Jones. “And I have had at least five students shadow with me personally and have helped arrange shadowing and summer projects for others,” adds LaPorte.
Jones and LaPorte are hoping to continue their involvement with the Perry Initiative next fall.