Women in Medicine Month: Celebrating and Elevating Women in Radiology

Each September, the American Medical Association’s (AMA) Women in Medicine (WIM) Month serves to showcase the accomplishments of women physicians, highlight advocacy related to women physicians and bring light to health issues that impact women patients. The UC San Francisco Department of Radiology and Biomedical Imaging strives to promote a diverse, inclusive and welcome environment, including support for women in radiology.

Looking back almost 40 years, 23 percent of all medical residents nationwide were women, but only 21 percent of radiology residents were women, according to the American Association for Women Radiologists (AAWR). Fast forward to today, and we see that 46 percent of all medical residents nationwide are women, but only 26 percent of radiology residents are women. While the number of women entering medicine as a profession doubled, there was only a modest increase in the number of women choosing Radiology as their career. At UCSF Radiology, 33 percent of all residents are women. We are steadfast in our support of women faculty and trainees and have deliberate efforts in place to point this trend upward.

What are the lessons we have learned and where do we go from here? 

  • Overall, diversity improves performance. As such, the UCSF Radiology Diversity Committee applies its efforts toward recruitment and retention of underrepresented groups, education on a wide variety of topics, research opportunities and empowering learners from nations around the world. The Diversity Committee is also working to build the pipeline with outreach to pre-medical school and medical school learners. 
  • RADWomenUCSF is a new initiative promoting advocacy for women at all career levels in Radiology at UCSF. Faculty members Christine Glastonbury, MBBS, Priyanka Jha, MBBS and Kimberly Kallianos, MD have received the UCSF Chancellor’s Fund Needs and Enrichment Award to support speakers for a series of talks to raise awareness of special circumstances faced by women faculty and trainees and support their careers at UCSF Radiology and beyond. With this grant support, we are hosting the “Inaugural UC-wide Radiology Grand Rounds: Women in Medicine”, an event developed by RADWomenUCSF. Through this virtual event, we will liaise with UC-wide faculty support initiatives as well. This event will be held on September 30, 2020 from 7:30 a.m. to 9:00 a.m. PST and all are welcome to attend. Please see the event page for more information.  
  • Additional support for women in UCSF Radiology from RADWomenUCSF will include support for new mothers including peer support groups and parental leave awareness. There is a new lactation room in Radiology at the Parnassus Campus and plans are underway for additional lactation rooms at other sites. 
  • Providing mentorship and sponsorship opportunities for women in radiology is very important. Mentorship means giving advice and providing help for trainees and junior faculty, and in particular, understanding and recognizing the barriers that women in radiology face. Women are more likely to be over mentored and under sponsored, and need both men and women faculty to advocate for them for involvement on committees, panels, editorial boards and authorship for manuscripts. Faculty development programs can provide access to opportunities for women in radiology. Learn more about UCSF Radiology faculty mentoring.   
  • Preventing burnout and promoting better wellbeing is a good step. According to research published in the Journal of General Internal Medicine (PubMed), women physicians have 1.6 times the odds of reporting burnout, and these odds increase when the workweek extends over 40 hours per week. Read more about Wellbeing and Professional Climate at UCSF Radiology and the committee’s efforts. 
  • It is important to understand and accommodate provisions from both the Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993 (FMLA) and the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). According to research published in Radiographics, women physicians have gender-specific needs that include (but are not limited to) pregnancy, postpartum recovery, and lactation. Read more from Kirti Magudia, MD, PhD, clinical instructor, on efforts taken to encourage organizations to properly follow leave policies by the American Board of Internal Medicine (ABIM).  

Overall, recruiting, supporting and retaining women in radiology is paramount and definitely a priority here at UCSF. Having diverse, engaged teams in radiology (and across other medical specialties) leads to better collaboration, stronger departments, and overall better patient care.

And while we know that women are underrepresented in radiology, we’d like to take this opportunity to celebrate and highlight the hard work and accomplishments of women in radiology at UCSF. There are quite a few! Follow us on Twitter (@UCSFImaging) as we will be sharing more content each day.


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