47% of women in IR have experienced sexual harassment, and 91% have been mistaken for a nurse, rather than an attending physician. This week, I talk about the hurdles like these faced by women in IR on the BackTable podcast. BackTable is a podcast all about interventional radiology (IR), featuring topics from technical to practice-related. I messaged the hosts to ask if they’d be open to speaking to me, and to my delight, they accepted. The creators, Aaron Fritts and Michael Barraza, have been wanting to do an episode on inclusivity in IR for a while. That’s because as one of the most competitive specialties, IR is currently lacking in diversity.
Through my role as the Chair of Women in IR Section of the Society of Interventional Radiology (SIR), as well as my role on the Diversity & Inclusion Advisory Board, I’ve worked with other leaders in the field to try to improve our specialty’s diversity profile. It is a bit like turning the Titanic, though, since the specialty makeup and the forces creating it have existed for a long time.
Through our work on diversity initiatives, we explore how we can make our specialty more inclusive and attractive to members of a diverse talent pool. After all, if we want the best possible IRs in the future, we need to draw from 100% of the talent pool, not just half of it!
Not only is IR lacking in gender diversity (at just 9% female), but we are lacking in diversity of background as well, with minute numbers of IRs identifying as African American, Latino, or Native American. The diversity conversation also concerns those of non-binary gender, and those with non-heteronormative sexuality, of which less is currently known.
Another part of the work of changing these stats is getting the word out. Let’s talk about inclusivity in IR and make it happen.
I wanted to provide some notes for this broadcast, which is BackTable episode #54. The podcast can be accessed from whichever service you use, whether Apple Podcasts, Sound Cloud, Spotify, etc. Here’s the link to listen on Stitcher.
In this episode, I reference the SIR’s Pregnancy Toolkit, published by the Women in IR Section. It’s currently in phase 1, with plan to add more documents and perspectives this year. So check back for more information. You can link to the toolkit here.
Some data on women in radiology can be found in this paper.
Here’s a nice survey by CIRSE on the gender gap in IR.
Check out the myriad programs, resources and support which have been created by the Association of Women Surgeons. There’s a lot we can learn from the surgeons, and what they’ve done to attract more women to the field!
Access the SIR’s Mentor Match platform here. You can sign up to be a mentor or a mentee (or both)! It’s for people at all stages of their career. Access some frequently asked questions about how to use the platform here.
On the podcast, Mary Costantino talks about the importance of receiving mentoring in mid-career. It’s so true. Guidance is helpful at all stages of a career! To hear more about her own story, and how she built a thriving outpatient-based fibroid embolization practice, listen here.
Watch a short clip on the SIR’s diversity initiatives, touching on the importance of diversity of IR physicians and its effect on patient care.
And if you care about having the brightest, most engaged healthcare team possible, this matters!
I hope you enjoy our discussion on BackTable Ep. 54. Share this post or the podcast itself on your channels, and support women in male-dominated fields. Help spread the word that interventional radiology is a damn good career for women!
The path can be riddled with failures, even if you're doing it right. In this recording, I share some of my gaffes with you.