Many people assume leadership positions, but it takes an individual skilled in leadership to turn lofty ideas into a compelling vision and plan of action. Dr. David Chandler, an orthopaedic spine surgeon at Andrews Institute, and a member of the Brown University Executive Master in Healthcare Leadership (EMHL) Class of 2018, exemplifies this high-impact leader.
Recently appointed to the position of president at the Florida Orthopaedic Society (FOS), Chandler made it his mission to realize the organization’s commitment to diversity and inclusion. As he stated in his acceptance speech at the FOS annual meeting,
The Florida Orthopaedic Society has a longstanding strategic goal of diversity which we have not supported. As the newly installed president, I have challenged our society to address this goal.
Chandler cited alarming stats from Penn Orthopaedic Oncologist Dr. Kristy Weber to support this priority. Out of all orthopaedic surgeons in the US,
- 6.1 percent are women
- 4.8 percent are underserved minorities
To help the audience connect to these figures on an emotional level, he referenced a conversation he had with his daughter who is now a breast reconstruction plastic surgeon.
During medical school, she rejected going into orthopaedics stating that we were nothing but a bunch of old white men. I remembered arguing on the cell phone with her while I was at an AAOS meeting. I looked over at the escalators carrying orthopaedists up and down, decided that she was right, and conceded the argument.
Integrating various business analytical tools learned in EMHL coursework, Chandler mapped the forces bearing down on this medical sector and the opportunity hidden in these trends to grow the ranks of outstanding orthopaedics through diversification. Referencing readings from EMHL, he noted the derisive effects of microaggressions and other tolerated biases embedded in the this white, male-dominated field that needed to be addressed to achieve this demographic change.
To turn this commitment into action, at his first board meeting as president, Chandler launched an ad hoc committee to promote diversity in the Florida orthopaedic workforce. He noted,
Gender diversity will be our initial focus and the committee, which will include several senior-ranking female orthopaedists, will be afforded the freedom and creative space needed to address the committee charges.
These charges include the creation of:
- Initiatives to promote the entry and advancement of women and minorities into the orthopaedic workforce and professional society.
- A program to increase the sensitivity and cultural competence of FOS members about the culture of privilege from which they benefit and knowingly or unknowingly reproduce through their behavior and choices.
We commend Dr. Chandler for his commitment to diversity and inclusion to create a more healthy and prosperous world.
David R. Chandler, M.D. is a fellowship trained orthopaedic spine surgeon with over 30 years of experience. He practices at the Andrews Institute headed by the renowned sports medicine physician, Dr. James Andrews.