RUTH JACKSON ORTHOPAEDIC SOCIETY (RJOS) was founded in 1983 as a support and networking group for the growing number of women orthopaedic surgeons. The women at the first meeting felt that there were many common problems confronting them, which could best be solved by pooling resources. These range from sharing technical solutions for practice problems to how to survive motherhood and orthopaedic practice/residency at the same time. RJOS began with 42 women and has grown to a membership of more than 1,000.
RJOS never imagined that a problem facing women in orthopedics would be the virtual presence of a living document subjecting future orthopedic surgeons to derogatory vitriol, but in 2021, we find ourselves in a place where we must denounce such activities. For those who are unaware, last week a widely circulated google document (created to help navigate some of the unique issues facing applicants due to the COVID pandemic) was found to contain disturbing comments targeting underrepresented minority and female orthopaedic applicants. Although posted anonymously, they are presumed to be from one or more current orthopaedic applicants. It frightens and disturbs RJOS leaders to know that these individuals may match into orthopaedic surgery and assume roles as our peers and colleagues.
RJOS supports all orthopedic surgeons, regardless of race, ethnicity, gender, creed, disability, or sexual orientation. Every potential trainee, every current trainee, and all practicing orthopaedic surgeons must know that this recent behavior has no place in our field. RJOS offers open support to any individual who might have been personally affected and welcomes you to contact anyone in our leadership team. We also call on those who made these comments to come forward to receive necessary education for your long journey ahead in orthopedic surgery.
We must stand together, stand up for one another, and start the uncomfortable conversations about systemic issues in orthopedic surgery. RJOS will always endorse a NO TOLERANCE policy of bullying, microaggressions, harassment, sexual harassment, racism, and discrimination.