Looking to the Future: Creating a Diverse Radiology Community

Michele H. Johnson, MD, FACR, FASER, Professor of Radiology and Biomedical Imaging and Neurosurgery; Director of Interventional Neuroradiology at Yale University School of Medicine, Program Chair for the ACR PIER Program, contributed this post.

As we continue to embark in the New Year with strong feelings of hope and excitement for the future, we stand strong in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic. However, even with the ongoing masking, social distancing and vaccine distribution, the healthcare community as a whole faces an array of challenges including social justice, healthcare inequities and economic stresses. 

The American College of Radiology® (ACR®) works to improve healthcare inequities by proudly acknowledging that medical students represent the future of medicine, and that we must strive to mirror the populations we serve by attracting students from diverse backgrounds into careers in the radiological sciences including diagnostic and interventional radiology, radiation oncology and medical physics.

As such, the ACR prioritizes medical student outreach and education. The ACR Medical Student Hub is a free resource tailored just for medical students, created by the ACR Medical Education & Student Outreach team as well as the Medical Student Subcommittee. Our hub supports medical students in getting started in the field of radiology, connecting with peers and mentors, keeping informed on the latest educational resources and accessing various scholarship and internship opportunities.

A signature event of the committee is the 2021 Medical Student Symposium, to be held this Sat., Jan. 23, 2021. The virtual event, Co-Chaired by Tonuka Chatterjee, BSc, and Ryan Morrison, BS, is a great opportunity for medical students to discover the evolving field of radiology, radiation oncology and subspecialties.

Our flagship internship opportunity that particularly engages medical students from diverse backgrounds is the Pipeline Initiative for the Enrichment of Radiology (PIER) Internship. The initiative began through the Commission for Women and Diversity with the goal of providing underrepresented minorities (URMs) and women an opportunity to explore the radiology specialties and engage in research. This program was converted from an in-person internship to a virtual program in 2020 as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Tonuka Chaterjee, BSc, was a participant in this program and has continued her activity in the ACR. For 2021, we are growing our virtual PIER program to include more interns and faculty in order to expand our medical student outreach efforts.

If you’re a first-year medical student interested in the field of radiology, I urge you to check out the many free ACR resources and take advantage of opportunities to further explore the specialty in both the Medical Student Virtual Symposium and the PIER Internship.

  • Registration is still open for the 2021 Medical Student Symposium, held virtually Saturday, Jan. 23 from noon to 5pm ET.
  • The PIER application deadline is Friday, Jan. 29. Find out if you qualify and submit an application today.

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