If You Can See It, You Can Be It: Perceptions of Diversity in Surgery Among Under-Represented Minority High School Students.


Purpose: Increasing racial and ethnic diversity in the surgical workforce is essential to improving outcomes for marginalized communities. To address the persistent shortage of under-represented minority (URM) surgeons, this study assessed the impact of providing early exposure to the field of surgery on URM high school students' perceptions of pursuing surgical careers. Methods: The Association of Women Surgeons organized a pilot 3-hour “Day in the Life” virtual event geared toward URM high school students involving suturing/knot-tying, case conferences, and mentoring activities. Results: Pre- and post-event survey results from 65 participants showed that students became more familiar with surgery (p < 0.001) and perceived the field as more diverse (p = 0.017). Over 70% felt capable of becoming surgeons themselves and over 80% were interested in learning more and gaining mentorship. Conclusions: Our programming provides a model for future initiatives aimed at strengthening the pipeline of URM surgeons.

Journal of Surgical Education