Arkansas Orthopaedic Surgeon Encouraging the Next Generation of Female Surgeons
Rosemont, Ill. (August 9, 2018) – Ruth L. Thomas, MD, of the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences (UAMS), earned the inaugural Women’s Leadership Award from the Orthopaedic Foot & Ankle Foundation, the philanthropic arm of the American Orthopaedic Foot & Ankle Society® (AOFAS). The award recognizes Dr. Thomas’s work as an orthopaedic educator, clinician, researcher, and humanitarian.
"Today, being a woman in orthopaedics is no longer a negative. We are finally receiving equal pay for equal work,” Dr. Thomas said. “Opportunities are opening up for women in leadership positions. Take full advantage. There are also many other ways to contribute; it doesn't have to be in the spotlight. You have much to give, so start now, just get involved."
Dr. Thomas completed her orthopaedic residency at UAMS, becoming only the second female to do so. She received her fellowship training at the Campbell Clinic in Memphis, Tennessee. Dr. Thomas has been an integral part of orthopaedic resident education for 29 years in the Department of Orthopaedic Surgery at UAMS.
“In my opinion, Ruth was such an obvious choice to be the first recipient of this award,” said A. Holly Johnson, MD, AOFAS Board of Directors member-at-large. “As one of the first female trailblazers in orthopedics and as a true humanitarian, Ruth embodies exactly what the Women’s Leadership Award is meant to honor.”
Dr. Thomas is an active humanitarian participating in mission trips to Africa, Central America, and Asia. As part of the Foundation’s Overseas Outreach Project to Vietnam, she volunteered with other AOFAS surgeons to visit underserved areas of Vietnam providing evaluations and corrective surgery to patients with lower extremity deformities.
With support from Thomas H. Lee, MD, 2017-18 AOFAS president, the Foundation established the Women’s Leadership Award, along with the Women’s International Leadership Award, to recognize current and future female leaders in the field of Foot and Ankle Orthopaedic Surgery. Dr. Lee has challenged all AOFAS stakeholders to contribute $50,000 to the Foundation for women’s leadership programming by December 31, 2018, with the promise of matching an additional, personal gift of $50,000.
About Foot and Ankle Orthopaedic Surgeons
Foot and ankle orthopaedic surgeons are medical doctors (MD and DO) who specialize in the diagnosis and treatment of musculoskeletal disorders and injuries of the foot and ankle. Their education and training consists of four years of medical school, five years of postgraduate residency, and a fellowship year of specialized surgical training. These specialists care for patients of all ages, performing reconstructive surgery for deformities and arthritis, treating sports injuries, and managing foot and ankle trauma.
About the Orthopaedic Foot & Ankle Foundation
The Orthopaedic Foot & Ankle Foundation, the philanthropic arm of the American Orthopaedic Foot & Ankle Society (AOFAS), is a 501(c)(3) organization that advances the AOFAS mission to improve lives through exceptional orthopaedic foot and ankle care. Through its funding of humanitarian endeavors, educational outreach programs, and innovative research, the Foundation enhances foot and ankle care for patients around the world. For more information visit the Orthopaedic Foot & Ankle Foundation online at aofas.org/foundation.
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