The orthopedic industry is a primarily male-facing field with less than eight percent female orthopedic surgeons nationwide. But among one of these females is Erika Daley, MD, a pediatric orthopedic surgeon at Riley Children’s Health specializing in cerebral palsy, orthopedic trauma, complex hip disorders and other pediatric orthopedic conditions. She, among others, is leading the next generation of female leaders in the orthopedic field, and here’s why.
In part, Dr. Daley is the first to introduce The Perry Initiative to the Indianapolis community, an outreach program building a pipeline for women in the engineering and medicinal fields. Founded in 2009 by Dr. Jenni Buckley, a mechanical engineer, and Dr. Lisa Lattanza, an orthopedic surgeon, The Perry Initiative inspires young females to pursue careers related to science, engineering or medicine. Targeting females in high school, college and medical school, the idea exposes students to real-world orthopedics in hopes that one day, a new generation of ladies will steward the industry.
“I think all of us feel a debt of gratitude, that we need to pay it forward to the next generation because it was so impactful to us when we were younger,” Dr. Daley said. “Seeing the underrepresentation of females in my own resident program inspired me, and I would not have become an orthopedic surgeon without the support from The Perry Initiative. I want to bring the same opportunities to other girls in the Indiana area.”
Christine Caltoum, MD, division chief of orthopedics at Riley Children’s, is another woman who exemplifies female leadership in the industry. Earning her medical degree from Wayne State University School of Medicine, she specializes in pediatric sports injuries, limb deformity and leg-length discrepancy and complex hip disorders, among others. Further, she recently published two works via PubMed to study idiopathic clubfeet and talipes equinovarus in Indiana.
Dr. Daley and Dr. Caltoum are also alongside four female APPs working in pediatric orthopedics at Riley Children’s. Together, they are supportive of females in the orthopedic industry overall and are particularly intrigued by the formative work of The Perry Initiative Outreach Program in Indiana.
Moving forward, Dr. Daley has plans to host the outreach day in Indianapolis annually, and the entire female orthopedic team will continue pushing for female representation in the industry.
“There is clearly a lack of women in orthopedics, but I hope this team effort will change the face of that disparity,” Dr. Daley said.
Dr. Daley, Dr. Caltoum and the orthopedic team are acclaimed for providing exceptional pediatric care to patients. Learn more about the orthopedic program from our annual report.