CC BY-NC-ND 4.0 · The Arab Journal of Interventional Radiology 2018; 02(03): S17
DOI: 10.1055/s-0041-1730690

Assessing Perceptions About Inclusion, Career Deterrents, and the Specialty of Interventional Radiology Among Medical Students and Female Trainees

Vishal Kumar
University of California, San Francisco, US
Yilun Koethe
University of California, San Francisco, US
Evan Lehrman
University of California, San Francisco, US
Maureen Kohi
› Author Affiliations

Background: A diverse health-care workforce in radiology, as in other medical services, helps expand health-care access for diverse communities, including traditionally underserved populations. Radiology ranks 20th out of 20 of the largest medical specialties in terms of under-represented minorities (URM) in medicine representation (Chapman et al., 2014), and interventional radiology (IR) demonstrated the lowest levels of URM representation (West et al., 2017). In 2015, women comprised 47.6% of the US medical graduates, which translated into 26.7% female radiology and diagnostic radiology residents and fellows, and only 9.3% of IR female residents and fellows. The purpose of this study was to identify perceptions medical students and female IR trainees (residents and fellows) have regarding the field of IR, including issues of inclusion and occupational deterrents. Methods: Medical students, female residents, and female fellows were asked to complete an anonymous web-based survey to gauge understanding of and interest in IR, perceptions of diversity, and inclusion of underrepresented minorities and female physicians, and career deterrents when considering IR as a specialty. The survey responses used a 5-point Likert scale and were collected and stored using Google Forms cloud-based software. Data were examined using generalized mixed modeling assuming a binomial distribution and sandwich estimation with SAS and GLIMMIX. The study was IRB approved and HIPAA compliant. Results: A majority of medical students have negative or neutral perceptions when it pertains to issues of inclusivity of both female and minority physicians in IR. In addition, females perceived the length of training and male predominance within the specialty as deterrents to pursuing a career. Furthermore, female students were less likely to view IR as being inclusive of female physicians (all results statistically significant; P < 0.05). Regardless of gender, students expressed concerns over occupational radiation exposure, lack of direct patient care, and work-life balance. The majority of female resident and fellow respondents demonstrated that the presence of a female IR mentor influenced their decision to pursue a career in IR. Furthermore, mentorship was equally influential during medical school (46%) and residency (46%). While all female resident and fellow trainees believed that pursuing IR can fulfill potential career goals of direct patient care, high percentage of procedural work, and high salary, 38.5% did not believe that work-life balance can be achieved. Regarding lifestyle changes, many considered duration of training of 6–7 years (23.1%), extended daily work hours beyond training (38.5%), and call responsibilities in IR (46.2%) as deterrents in their pursuit of IR. Furthermore, despite existing data that pregnancy and fetal outcome among pregnant interventional radiologists matches that of the general population, nearly half (46.2%) were worried about occupational radiation exposure. About 38.5% of attendees did not consider IR to be inclusive of women, and equal number considered male predominance in the field of IR as a deterrent to their pursuit of IR. Conclusion: While limited by small sample size, our experience has identified critical perceptions medical students and female trainees have that may hinder women and URM from pursuing a career in the specialty. As our specialty looks to increase diversity and inclusion efforts, issues of diversity and inclusiveness, occupational radiation exposure, and career life balance should be discussed openly to promote recruitment and retention.

Publication History

Article published online:
11 May 2021

© 2018. The Arab Journal of Interventional Radiology. This is an open access article published by Thieme under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonDerivative-NonCommercial-License, permitting copying and reproduction so long as the original work is given appropriate credit. Contents may not be used for commercial purposes, or adapted, remixed, transformed or built upon. (

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