Hands-on workshop encourages young women to pursue medicine, engineering careers

UNR Med co-hosts national program for northern Nevada women with The Perry Initiative

Northern Nevada high school teenage girls learned from local women surgeons, physicians and engineers as part of an outreach program with The Perry Initiative.

Northern Nevada high school girls learned from local women surgeons, physicians and engineers held at UNR Med as part of an outreach program with The Perry Initiative, a national non-profit working to recruit women into orthopedic surgery and engineering careers. UNR Med photo by Brin Reynolds. 

Saturdays are for adventure and/or power tool jobs,  and today, the University of Nevada, Reno School of Medicine (UNR Med) outfitted local high school girls with just that. Approximately 40 northern Nevada teenagers wearing safety goggles and with power tools, pins, clamps and rods in hand, sawed through artificial bone during mock surgery sessions while learning the basics of orthopedic surgery and engineering concepts.

The girls, all northern Nevada high school students, learned from local women surgeons, physicians and engineers as part of an outreach program with The Perry Initiative, a national non-profit working to recruit women into orthopedic surgery and engineering careers. It was the first-time many of the students received any hands-on medical training.

Today’s workshop followed a session on Friday geared to medical students, in which 30 female medical students from UNR Med attended. Experts in the medical and engineering fields say such programs can be critical in instilling knowledge and confidence in young women early on and in motivating them to pursue careers in male-dominated fields.

"By providing students with interactive learning experiences and professional mentors to instruct and inspire them, we are working to encourage more women to pursue careers in medicine and engineering," said Sara DePaoli, foundation director for Reno Orthopedic Clinic (ROC) Foundation.

While young women excel in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) programs, women continue to be significantly under-represented in fields like medicine and engineering. Currently, women constitute less than seven percent of practicing orthopedists according to the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons, and women constitute 13 percent of engineers, according to the Society of Women Engineers.

The Perry Initiative is part of the Perry Outreach Program and sponsored by the ROC Foundation, a local 501c3 with the primary mission of supporting local orthopedic education, outreach, evidence-based research and advanced fellowship training, and UNR Med. Today, the initiative runs more than 40 one-day outreach programs nationwide and has reached more than 6,000 high school, college and medical students.

Participating students submitted an essay and application to gain admittance to the program. The Perry Outreach Program is free to female high school and medical students. For more information, contact Sara DePaoli at ROC Foundation, (775) 785-3416 or Amy McFarland at UNR Med, (775) 682-7734. For additional information about The Perry Initiative, go to perryinitiative.org.

UNR Med has trained 3,100 physicians with nearly 1,300 currently practicing in Nevada, who are leading the way to a healthier Nevada, the nation and the world since the School of Medicine was established in 1969.


Media Contacts

Julie Ardito, APR
Senior Director, Advancement and Engagement
Office: (775) 784-6006

Tessa Bowen
Communications Manager, Advancement and Engagement
Office: (775) 682-9254

The University of Nevada, Reno School of Medicine is a community-based, research-intensive medical school with a statewide vision that has served Nevada for 50 years. The state's first public medical school, UNR Med fosters a healthy Nevada through excellence in medical education, medical care, research and community engagement, within a culture of respect, compassion and inclusion. Through targeted growth and investment in research, clinical services, education and outreach, UNR Med is improving the future of health care. For more information, visit our 50th anniversary website.

Released: Saturday November 10, 2018 @ 12:00 PM