What does diversity mean to you?
BY MARCELINA G. PEREZ, MD, MBA, AND ERIC J. KELLER, MD, MA SPRING 2020
Like other procedural disciplines, interventional radiology has struggled to promote a broad range of diversity in terms of gender, race, sexual orientation and gender identity.1–3 Having a diverse range of providers affords many beneficial effects3,4 including fostering innovation and improving patient experiences. To support and promote existing IRs and appeal to future students, SIR formed the Women in IR Section and Diversity and Inclusiveness Committee. Accordingly, grant opportunities, SIR lectures and forums such as IRQ have created opportunities for exploration and elevation of diversity within our specialty.
Diversity has multiple layers, from gender identity, race and sexual orientation to geographic location, background and occupation.3 In order to best promote diversity in IR, it may be helpful to first understand what diversity means to us and the future of our specialty.
As such, we reached out to three members at different stages of their careers for their thoughts. These accounts underscore the importance of diversifying the workforce, and it is our hope that this forum will inspire continued efforts to promote diversity in IR—not just by a small group of committee members, but at all levels throughout our specialty.
Dania Daye, MD, PhD, IR fellow at Massachusetts General Hospital
A diverse workforce provides the specialty with access to a variety of backgrounds, perspectives, talents and experiences to solve our most pressing challenges. Promoting diversity in IR means striving to include women and men from different ethnic, socioeconomic, national and religious upbringings, as well as those with diverse sexual orientations into the fabric of the specialty.
Increasing diversity and inclusion promotes creativity. Groups with diverse teams contribute more innovative solutions and have better overall performance. Promoting diversity and inclusion in IR also allows us to better connect with our patients, leading to improved care and potentially improved patient outcomes. More broadly, diversity in IR will allow our specialty to better adapt to the continuously changing environment in health care, from rapid introduction of new technologies to the changing reimbursement landscape.
Ibrahim Idakoji, MD, MPH, clinical assistant professor of radiology at Stanford Healthcare
IR has always been a leader in pushing the frontier of medicine through the complex and cutting-edge treatments we offer, and leading the charge for promoting representation through diversity and inclusiveness should be no exception. We cannot fully claim to be the specialty of the future until we have representation across racial, ethnic, gender, religious, socioeconomic, cultural, sexual orientation and language lines, and more.
Diversity improves everyone’s lives, ultimately adding to the richness of our specialty and directly impacting patient care. The perspective offered by having a diverse workforce made up of people who can relate to patients from different backgrounds has a profound impact on the way our care is received. It is very empowering for a patient to be cared for by a physician who shares similarities on a deeper level, which goes a long way in fostering a connection and trust.
Paul J. Rochon, MD, FSIR, chair of the SIR Diversity and Inclusiveness Advisory Council, University of Colorado Health
Diversity in IR does not mean much without inclusion. Without this synergy, we cannot reach equity. Diversity is the start of a process, and the process is not that simple.
Our specialty is driven by clinical expertise, imaging, procedures and innovation. All four of these can be further divided into components where diversity is of greater importance. Moreover, our population is not homogeneous, so our specialty shouldn’t be either. We continue to progress in making our specialty one of the most diverse and inclusive in medicine. As we do so, we will see the field of medicine thrive.
- Perez, MG et al. Untapped resources: Attaining equitable representation for women in IR. JVIR. 4 (2019): 579–583.
- Deville, C et al. Diversity in graduate medical education in the United States by race, ethnicity, and sex, 2012. JAMA Intern Med. 10 (2015): 1706–1708.
- Lightfoote, JB et al. Improving diversity, inclusion, and representation in radiology and radiation oncology, part 1: Why these matter. JACR. 7 (2014): 673–680.
- Lightfoote, JB et al. Improving diversity, inclusion, and representation in radiology and radiation oncology, part 2: Challenges and recommendations. JACR. 8 (2014): 764–770.