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Women’s History Month: Orthopaedics

Female Orthopedic Provider, Surgeon, Orthopaedics, Surgery, Women's History Month

Women's History Month & International Women's Day

March is Women's History Month, commemorating the observance and celebration of the vital role of women in American history. In medicine, we'd like to celebrate the females who have paved the path for the future, like the late Dr. Ruth Jackson, the first board-certified female orthopaedic surgeon.

Female Orthopaedic Surgeons

For those who do not know her - Ruth Jackson was born on a farm near Scranton, Iowa and moved to Dallas, Texas at age 14 with her family. 

Upon completing high school, Jackson told her parents she was planning to take premedical instruction at the University of Texas at Austin, but her father disapproved so she became a sociology major. She changed her major to pre-medicine before graduating in 1924 when she learned a father was unable to support his family because of a bad knee. Jackson was then motivated to learn how to prevent instances like that in the future.

She earned her bachelor's degree in economics and sociology from the University of Texas at Austin, and her medical degree from Baylor College of Medicine in 1928, where she was one of four women in a class over 100 students.

After graduation, intentions of pursuing a career as a general surgeon could not be fulfilled because general surgery internships were not available for women. In 1928, she found a rotating internship at the Worcester Massachusetts Memorial Hospital and returned in 1930 to continue her residency in orthopaedics after she accepted and carried out an opportunity to train in orthopaedic surgery in later 1928 under Dr. Arthur Steindler at the University of Iowa. After completing her residency in orthopaedics at Worcester, Jackson served as a resident physician for the Scottish Rite Hospital for Crippled Children in Dallas, Texas from 1931 to 1932.

American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons

Dr. Jackson opened her own private practice in Dallas after she completed her residency in 1932. In 1933, the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons (AAOS) was founded and would only allow Dr. Jackson, a female, into the academy if she passed the American Board of Orthopaedic Surgery examination. She became board-certified by the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons in 1937 - thus making her the first woman to be a board-certified orthopaedic surgeon.  

After a truly remarkable life, Dr. Ruth Jackson died in the Baylor University Medical Center at Dallas in 1994 at the age of 91. 

International Women’s Day - Orthopaedics

In the United States, women constitute approximately 51 percent of the population and 49 percent of the total workforce.

Women comprise approximately 50% of medical students; however, only 14% of current orthopaedic residents are women. There are many factors that contribute to the reluctance of female medical students to enter the field including limited exposure to musculoskeletal medicine during medical school, negative perception of the field, lack of female mentors, barriers to promotion, and acceptance by senior faculty.

Perimeter Orthoapedics Supports International Women’s Day & Women in Health

At Perimeter Orthopaedics, we are proud to support the continuing education of our female staff members. We recognize our female staff members for their hard work and unwavering dedication to our patients and communities.

With the majority female clinic, we encourage the continuing education of all our PA’s and MA’s. Additionally, our orthopaedic surgeons offer guidance and mentorships to promote not just from within the organization but through the staffs entire orthopaedic careers. 

So from all of us at Perimeter Orthopaedics - happy International Women’s Day! 


*Information collected by AAOS and OrthoInfo. Additional information gathered by Dr. Ruth Jackson's biography. 

Lauren Mueller Marketing

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