Jessica Block, MD

Orthopaedics ’23

Jessica Block, MD, found a home in the orthopaedics residency program at the Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences and in the city itself.

What has the orthopaedics residency program been like?

It has been even better than I expected. It has all the specialties within the city and within the program. That is really special. That is not the case for many orthopaedic programs in the country, to have all subspecialties represented at a high level without having to travel or share the experience with other residency or fellowship training programs.

As a junior resident, you get a lot more hands-on training than you might get in other orthopaedics programs. I don’t think I appreciated that before I came here.

We have a tremendous amount of collegial support between residents of different classes. It’s built into the culture here, both in terms of residents and attendings. Somebody always has your back.

What was it that drew you to orthopaedics?

I had worked in orthopaedics before medical school. It's rewarding. Patients come in with a mechanical problem that you can diagnose and truly fix. It can make a huge impact in their quality of life.

Orthopaedics has traditionally been a male-dominated field. How has it been for a woman going into the field?

I’ve had good female mentors in this program and support from all of our residents and attendings, so it’s never been an issue for me.

K. Keely Boyle, MD, was chief resident in my first year and Allyson Zakrzewski, MD, was in the program in my second year. They were really influential for me. They know what it is like to be a woman in orthopaedics. I’ve also had Drs. Allison S. Binkley, MDLindsey D. Clark, MDSusan M. Daoust, MD; and Jennifer Gurske-dePerio, MD, as attendings. They have all been great at setting examples and providing support, both in and out of the hospital.

There’s definitely a physicality to orthopaedics, especially in our junior training when we’re responsible for seeing consults and reducing bones and joints in the emergency department, that could put women at a disadvantage. Having women in the program provides not only an emotional support system, but they have taught me maneuvers that allow me to use physics and perform all of the same tasks that the male surgeons do.  

The city of Buffalo is currently going through a renaissance. What are your thoughts on the city?

I love Buffalo. I came right when the renaissance was taking off. I don’t understand how more people aren’t clamoring to come to Buffalo.

I like the fact that if I have to change hospitals during the day it’s not a headache because I can get anywhere I need to be in 20 or 30 minutes.

There’s a great food scene and there are always things to do.  

The people are great. I can’t believe how friendly people are and how much they will help you out.