Education of Radiologists in Healthcare Disparities


      • There are disparities between ethnic groups in access to radiology services, including screening, diagnostic, and image-guided interventions.
      • Addressing disparities in radiology can be done by a three-prong approach through individual, institutional, and national change.
      • At the individual level, educating radiologists, understanding individual contribution to disparities, developing radiology-specific cultural competency training, and increasing awareness of political action committees is needed.
      • At the institutional level, embracing the concept of systemic change through reevaluation of goals and incentives and creating new mandated requirements addressing disparities with outcomes measures would be an initial start.
      • At the national level, leveraging radiology organizations to co-sponsor an annual national meeting on radiological disparities based on diversity would enable an open forum of discussion among a diverse group of radiologists.


      Disparities exist in access to a multitude of screening and diagnostic imaging examinations and procedures. To address these disparities within radiology, emphasis so far has been placed upon diversifying the workforce and formally educating trainees on healthcare disparities. Currently, there is no organized and nationally accepted educational program or content for practicing radiologists specific to diversity and healthcare disparity. This void can be addressed by providing an educational curriculum framework for practicing radiologists based on three key factors: individual efforts, calling for institutional change, and national collaboration. Individual efforts should focus on acknowledging the existence of disparities, understanding the contribution of one's implicit bias in perpetuating disparities, understanding and highlighting issues related to insurance coverage of radiology examinations, and participating in radiology political action committees. These efforts can be facilitated by a consolidated web-based training program for practicing radiologists. To pave the way for meaningful systemic change, the implementation of institutional change like that initiated by the Culture of Safety movement in 2002 is needed. A national collaborative effort initiated by radiology organizations to empower radiologists and recognize positive changes would further provide support.


      A three-pronged educational framework combining individual radiologist education, institutional change, and national collaboration will enable radiologists to play a role in addressing imaging-related disparities in healthcare.


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