Muyibat Adelani, MD
Former visiting elective student
Vanderbilt University School of Medicine
Assistant Professor, Dept. of Orthopaedic Surgery,
Washington University School of Medicine
Muyibat Adelani, MD, grew up in University City, home of Washington University’s main Danforth campus. While she moved away to do her undergraduate degree at the University of Southern California, Los Angeles, and then a bit closer to medical school at Vanderbilt University, she knew she wanted to eventually come back to St. Louis for her residency.
It was through the Office of Diversity Programs (ODP) that she found out about the Visiting Elective Program and figured it would be a good opportunity to see if Washington University School of Medicine might be a good fit for her.
“The ODP staff were very helpful. They were always checking in with me while I was here to make sure everything was going well.”
Familiar with the area, but not the school, “I was interested in the orthopaedics program and Washington University’s approach to diversity on the medical campus,” said Adelani. She found excellent support from the ODP. “The ODP staff were very helpful. They were always checking in with me while I was here to make sure everything was going well.” Adelani noted that one of Washington University’s goals is to retain the people that train here. That wasn’t always the case at other institutions she had been to, she said.
Support along the way
The most memorable aspect of Adelani’s rotation was working with her mentor, Charles Toman, MD, a former resident in the orthopaedics program. “He was very helpful in making sure that the rotation went well for me and that I met key people in the department,” said Adelani. “He even called to congratulate me when I matched here!” She said Toman helped her learn how to stand out and have a better chance of matching when she applied here for her residency training.
Another key advocate in Adelani’s early career was the program’s executive vice chairman, Rick Wright, MD, the Jerome J. Gilden Distinguished Professor of Orthopaedic Surgery. Adelani rotated with Wright and has maintained a close relationship with him even now, ten years later. She said he was instrumental in helping her secure a position here after her residency.
Groups that Adelani was involved with here, like the ODP and the Resident and Fellows Diversity Initiative, a collaboration between Barnes-Jewish Hospital and Washington University, help trainees from diverse backgrounds engage and connect with one another. “I think that’s definitely a unique approach to diversity at a medical center,” she said.
Understanding her patients
Now an assistant professor in the department of othopaedics, Adelani performs joint replacements and studies the differences in outcomes between genders and among different races. Joint replacement surgeries tend to have poorer outcomes in women and minorities than in men and whites. “We are trying to understand why that is and how we can improve on this,” said Adelani. She plans to start by better understanding the communities her patients come from and how that may be affecting their recovery.
Adelani said she chose to specialize in orthopaedics because she appreciates how goal-oriented her patients are about getting back to a certain level of activity without pain. Her ability to restore that function for them gratifies her. For example, when she performs a joint replacement, a patient may already be able to walk the very next morning. “Being able to see that first hand is really special.”