Despite academic efforts to reduce the gender disparity in the field, there are still not enough women in radiology. According to a recent study published in Current Problems in Diagnostic Radiology, efforts to increase female presence in radiology have fallen short.
Lead study author Elizabeth D. Yuan, a medical student at University of Massachusetts Medical School, evaluated the effectiveness of the programs and curriculum designed to increase female interest. These interventions included: flexible clinical experiences during the third year of medical school, which featured electives that ran in tandem with the core clinical curriculum; 15-20 new image-focused lectures adopted by the pre-clinical curriculum; and a panel called “Women in Radiology,” which centered around discussions on patient rapport and work-life balance.
However, these initiatives only resulted in creating more interest among male students. According to the preliminary data compiled by Yuan, “students rated their perception of patient contact within radiology 28 percent higher after attending the panel.” After participating in these programs, 71 percent of female medical students said they “wanted to take a clinical elective in radiology, and 29 percent stated they would consider it.” However, despite this spike in female interest, ultimately, these interventions “occurred preferentially in males.”
Although this study sheds light on the gender gap in radiology, more research is needed to fully examine the influence of pre-clinical programs geared toward attracting more women to the field.