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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Take the Pledge to Image Wisely in 2021

Beth Ann Schueler, PhD, FACR, American College of Radiology® (ACR®) Co-Chair of the Image Wisely Executive Committee, and Diana Litmanovich, MD, Radiological Society of North America (RSNA) Co-Chair of the Image Wisely Executive Committee, contributed this piece.

Beth Ann Schueler, PhD, FACR

As imaging professionals, we play a unique role in patient care. We must put radiation safety at the forefront of our work. And whether you’re a diagnostic or interventional radiologist, radiation oncologist, medical physicist or other imaging practitioner, you can make the commitment to put your patients’ safety, health and welfare first and Image Wisely® is here to support you in doing so.

Diana Litmanovich, MD

A joint initiative of the ACR, RSNA, American Society of Radiological Technologists and American Association of Physicists in Medicine, Image Wisely aims to optimize the use of radiation in medically necessary imaging studies and eliminate unnecessary procedures. We are committed to ensuring the highest standard of patient care.

Join us as we take the annual pledge to Image Wisely in 2021. Together, we’ll put patient safety, health and welfare first, convey the principles of the Image Wisely program to our colleagues, communicate optimal patient imaging strategies, routinely review imaging protocols and monitor examination radiation dose indices.

Please visit the Image Wisely website to learn more and renew your commitment to radiation safety.

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ACR-Managed Trials Aiding Health Equity Goals

Pamela K. Woodard, MD, FACR, Chair of the ACR Commission on Research, contributed this post.

As organized medicine works to increase health equity, two major American College of Radiology® (ACR®)-managed trials are among the most ethnically diverse studies ever performed and are flourishing after the COVID-19 non-urgent care shutdown. 

TMIST Sets Record in Q4 2020

Since non-urgent care resumed July 1, the ACR-managed Tomosynthesis Mammographic Imaging Screening Trial (TMIST) has enrolled more participants than all other National Cancer Institute trials combined.

Despite the COVID-19 pandemic and the holiday season, TMIST posted its three highest monthly enrollments in the fourth quarter of 2020 (October–December). In 2019–2020, participating sites doubled and patient enrollment quadrupled vs. 2017–2018.

TMIST has now enrolled 36,367 participants. Nearly 20% of the enrollees from the United States are Black women. The average Black cohort in U.S. clinical trials is approximately 8%.  

Mammography sites interested in taking part in TMIST may visit acr.org/TMIST or email TMIST@acr.org for additional information and start the application process.       

New IDEAS off to a Fast Start

One hundred eighty PET imaging sites have completed a practice survey — the first registration step for the New Imaging Dementia—Evidence for Amyloid Scanning (IDEAS) study since its Dec. 9 launch. One hundred seventy-five dementia providers have also completed this first registration step.

With at least 4,000 of the 7,000 New IDEAS study patients to be Black or Latino, the trial is among the most diverse dementia studies ever performed.

New IDEAS will accept approximately 350 PET sites. PET imaging facilities serving large Black and/or Latino populations are strongly encouraged to apply to take part in New IDEAS. Please send any questions to newideas@acr.org.

Working Together

As Chair of the ACR Research commission, I think we — as radiologists — should be proud of our efforts to move medicine forward and ensure that underserved communities are not left behind as healthcare advances.

Together, we can make medicine better for all of our patients.

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