Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Maimonedes Women in Science Summer Program for Girls

Orthopedic Surgery has always been a male dominated field; in fact, only 4.3 percent of board-certified orthopedic surgeons are female, the lowest percentage of women in a surgical specialty.

One of the reasons for this disparity is a lack of female orthopedic role models. “Women orthopedic residents were also twice as likely to cite a perceived lack of acceptance by senior faculty as a barrier to entering the field” (O’Connor, HuffingtonPost.com, Orthopedic Surgery: Women on the Rise in a Male-Dominated Field, August 2012).

While the presence of women in orthopedic residency programs has recently increased, only 14 percent of today’s orthopedic residents are female. As our population continues to age, the need for orthopedic surgeons continues to increase, as does the need to attract the best and the brightest.  Therefore, orthopedics needs to become more attractive to female students.

Taking an example from The Ruth Jackson Orthopaedic Society, a support and networking group for women orthopedic surgeons, and from The Perry Initiative, which aims to inspire young women to be leaders in orthopedic surgery and engineering by sponsoring hands-on outreach to young women in high schools and medical schools across the country, the Maimonides Bone and Joint Center aspires to attract young women to a future in orthopedic surgery.

Headed by Dr. Mara S. Karamitopoulos, Pediatric Orthopedic Surgeon, the Maimonides Women in Science Program is a one-month summer internship,  July 5 – July 29, for female high school students who wish to pursue a career in medicine.

Dr. Karamitopoulos and her colleagues inspire young women to pursue a career in science by providing a hands-on learning experience, during which the students will

  • be assigned their own research projects, leading to a presentation upon completion of the program.  Students will work with a female research associate and a female research resident.

  • assist surgeons in an outpatient setting, learning more about the direct patient experience

  • join surgeons in the operating room to view firsthand the process of surgery and healing

  • use the simulation equipment to “operate” on a patient

  • join resident-led orthopedic lectures and discussions

  • read and discuss articles written by female surgeons and about female surgeons

  • be paired with a female mentor, who will provide one-on-one guidance to the students

The program’s curriculum will hopefully improve young women’s confidence in their abilities in the fields of medicine and science, and, for some, will provide their first exposure to patient care, surgery, research, orthopedics and medicine.

Only the most motivated students will be accepted to the program, which will have an application process that will include an essay and interview with the Volunteer Department.


¤Students must identify as female
¤Students must be entering their junior or senior year in high school in the Fall of 2016

¤Essay quality will be a major factor in the admission to the program.  It is strongly suggested that you proofread your essay for proper grammar prior to submission.


¤Application deadline March 21st, 2016.  No applications for the Summer of 2016 will be accepted after this date.
¤Interviews will take place April 4th – April 8th

¤Decisions rendered by April 25th, 2016.
¤Applicants will be notified by EMAIL.
¤Accepted applicants must provide additional information to Volunteer Services by May 23rd.
¤Parental waiver form must be submitted.

¤The application and essay may be submitted in one of the following two ways:

1) By email to Viktoriya Furina (vfurina@maimonidesmed.org)

2) By mail to   Viktoriya Furina

Department of Orthopaedic Surgery

927 49th Street

Brooklyn, NY 11219

¤After initial acceptance, all candidates must complete the application process in the Volunteer Office, which includes a personal interview, a mandatory orientation, and medical clearance, and submission of a parental permission form.

Please click here to access the application form


Participants’ Comments:

The opportunity to participate in the Women in Science program has both expanded and enhanced my interest in the medical field and my confidence in pursuing a male dominant career. Over the course of this program I was able to experience shadowing a physician and understanding the responsibility and discipline that comes with a medical profession. In addition, I expanded my breadth of knowledge in medical terminology and in geriatric vascular procedures. I made new connections and friends who have similar interests in pursuing a career in a medical profession. Working alongside girls who were just as dedicated and motivated as me, has heightened my confidence. I’m thankful I was given this opportunity by Dr.  Mara Karamitopoulos, and I am honored to have worked alongside Dr. Shiferson and 10 passionate individuals.   Thank you! – Rebecca


Although I knew that I wanted to pursue a career in medicine, I never considered a career in Orthopedics. I had always assumed I would go into Neurology or Cardiology; those were the fields I had the most knowledge about. The internship was beneficial to me in many ways. To begin with, on the first day of the internship I met the doctors, physician’s assistants, residents and x-ray tech. I was able to network and expose myself to new people and environments. The internship also educated me on different diagnoses. It was while networking that I met lead x-ray tech John. He educated me on how to take an x-ray, register patients into the computer and identify different fractures on x-rays. Before I returned to Dr. Karamitopoulos, he gave me a series of tests to challenge me and see what information I had absorbed. In addition to the lessons I learned, the internship gave me the opportunity to observe surgical treatments. After having spent a few days observing Dr. Karamitopoulos diagnose patients at the Bone and Joint Center, she gave me the opportunity to observe her remove an osteochondroma in a thirteen-year-old girl. July Eighth was the first day I had ever observed a surgery in the Operating Room. I was entranced as Dr. Karamitopoulos made a distal incision after inserting an anesthetic. Once a block as inserted, x-rays were taken to determine the growth of the mass. I watched ceaselessly and absorbed everything that was stated or discerned. Then a mallet was used to remove the osteochondroma; it was excised in pieces to avoid jeopardizing the kneecap. I remember my eyes never left the table unless it was to look at an x-ray. I remember ignoring the shooting pain in my foot as I stood observing; refusing to admit that I needed to step out for a moment of rest. I believed that if the Doctor had to stand and operate the whole time, the least I could do was stand and observe the whole operation. I the first week the Women in Science internship made me question the career paths I initially believed in. The internship was an excellent method of learning different lessons and managing the work that is associated with those lessons. It made me realize that I didn’t need to know what career I would pursue at seventeen, but that I should know what my interests are and pursue those instead. Lastly, the internship developed my mental maturation and determination to succeed. The internship was a month well spent; although I initially knew I wanted to pursue a career in medicine, now I know the steps in order to do that. – Alexa


At first, when people asked me about this program when I had yet to begin it, I assumed that it would be some basic program where I learned some essentials for medicine but didn’t really learn anything tremendously life-changing. I thought that I was too young to be offered any sort of great experience, however, I had hope that I would be proven wrong and I truly was. When I went to the interview with Dr. Karamitopoulos, I realized how passionate they both were about helping us girls chase after our desires and ambitions in whatever field we choose. I immediately noticed how determined they were to pick the right girls and assign them to a mentor that would not only teach them about medicine but also about life. Then, I was sent an email stating that I was assigned to the neurosurgery department and I would get to shadow a doctor by the name of Dr. Simone Betchen. I wasn’t sure what to think about it because I was in awe that I was a. accepted into the program officially and b. working with a neurosurgeon (since that is the field I would love to pursue). On my first day, I met Dr. Betchen. Automatically, I knew I would have a lot to learn from her. As we went into the OR, I was overwhelmed. I had no idea that I would actually be able to witness a surgery firsthand. I had dreamt about this moment but didn’t think it would come so soon. In all the chaos, my mentor taught me the basics of the OR and told me what/who to avoid and exactly where to stand. She was very careful with making sure that I was always comfortable and learning. As the month proceeded, she and I created a bond between us, something I didn’t expect either. We not only talked about her experiences in medicine but also spoke about how to obtain what you want as a woman in science. She taught me how to be a better and stronger person. Something that also stuck with me was that she remembered my name and was so willing to help me with anything and everything. I usually have something to complain about but I have nothing to complain about with this program. It was the best experience of my life thus far. I am truly grateful for it and am in debt to all the amazing people who volunteered their time and effort to helping us girls take our first steps in potential careers in medicine. – Irla
For me to get into Women in Science was completely tough, since I had to write a great essay. However, after earning such great experiences, I realized that all my hard work paid off. This program is extremely beneficial for young girls who are willing to start their field in medicine. I was so scared at first that that I fainted watching a injection. Moreover, I started to watch surgeries; the process of cutting and replacing a knee gave me insight that I definitely want to be a surgeon in the future. Working with Dr. Munyak impacted me in positive way. He would spent more than 20 minutes with each patient, listening patiently about their problems. I realized how patients feel calm with doctors who would spend more time with them, and give them advice about their illness. With Dr. Munyak we not only discussed  illnesses of the patients, but we discussed my future plans. Moreover, Dr. Munyak helped me to choose the college that I want to apply to. At the end of this program, I had to give a presentation about the main topic. I felt extremely proud of myself for being able to stand up on the stage and give a presentation to all of the doctors. This program not only helped me to overcome my fear, but also it  helped me to decide what I really want to become in future. – Nigina

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