Paving the way for a culture of change

December 27, 2023
Paving the way for a culture of change
Jennifer M. Weiss, MD

The year preceding the introduction of SpeakUpOrtho website and organization in March of 2023 has been both long and lightning-fast, joyful and heartbreaking, isolating and connecting. Still, most of all, EMPOWERING is the adjective that rises above all other descriptors.

Our organization has come to exist as our own entity because of a need to be nimble and flexible. Paving the way to an orthopaedic culture that is inclusive and devoid of harassment and bullying is a wildly important goal that deserves our full attention. Our established orthopaedic societies believe in culture change and have demonstrated support of and collaboration with our work, understanding that nothing will distract SpeakUpOrtho from pursuing the shift our beloved profession deserves.

So far, SpeakUpOrtho has been a grassroots effort started on social media in 2021. Stories have been amplified. Relationships have crystallized. The slang for bad behavior has become “SpeakUpOrtho moments.”  The people who inhabit the world of orthopaedic surgery have spoken, and there is agreement that we can do better.

We have gathered resources. We have created and piloted a kit for journal club. We have spoken on podcasts. We have published. We have given grand rounds. We have hit a lot of podiums. The momentum and support have crystallized.  

“The stage is set. We know that bullying and harassment live in our house. And we are determined to sweep this out of our home.”

We will continue to tell and amplify stories. We will continue to knock on the door of every regulatory body around our schools, residency programs, hospitals, and institutions. We seek transparent codes of conduct and accountability. We must and will emerge from the era of culture that repels many from our noble profession. To serve our patients best, our orthopaedic community deserves an environment free of the distraction of harassment, bullying, and retaliation.  

We have only just begun, and our infancy will continue to pave the way to a culture in orthopaedic surgery that fosters diversity and inclusivity. Our patients deserve access to care from physicians and clinicians who function in a workplace free of harassment, bullying, discrimination, and retaliation.  

SpeakUpOrtho Wine & Cheese Reception, AAOS March 2023, Las Vegas