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High school girls learn what it takes to be an orthopedic surgeon at UC Davis

<i>KOVR</i><br/>Dozens of high school girls from the Sacramento area learned what it takes to be an orthopedic surgeon at UC Davis on December 16. It was all about girl power at UC Davis
KOVR
Dozens of high school girls from the Sacramento area learned what it takes to be an orthopedic surgeon at UC Davis on December 16. It was all about girl power at UC Davis

By SAKURA GRAY

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    DAVIS, California (KOVR) — Dozens of high school girls from the Sacramento area learned what it takes to be an orthopedic surgeon at UC Davis on Saturday.

It was all about girl power at UC Davis, from suturing to fixing fractures, high school students rolled up their sleeves for a morning of mock surgical exercises.

“My favorite moment was casting because I’ve never had a cast before and I wanted to know what it felt like,” high school junior Bailey Norgart said.

Saturday’s hands-on learning was part of the Perry Initiative, a nationwide program introducing girls to orthopedic surgery and engineering.

“Young women might not pick up a drill and think this is something I see myself doing and as soon as they learn how to do it they’re like, ‘Yeah this is possible and this is fun and I could really see myself being there in the future,'” said Holly Leshikar, a pediatric orthopedic surgeon at Shriners Children’s Northern California and UC Davis.

Women are drastically under-represented in these fields and working professionals like Lleshikar are looking to change that.

“Only 8% of practicing orthopedic surgeons are women so for us and our engineering colleagues it’s incredibly important for us to pay it forward to the younger generation,” Leshikar said.

As mentorship like this opens doors for young women, it can also create a ripple effect in healthcare.

“When we have underrepresented groups in medicine, those patient populations suffer,” Leshikar said. “So we want a diverse population of practitioners in pediatrics, in medicine in orthopedic surgery so that everyone gets the best care.”

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