While the number of women working in interventional radiology remains low, the number training for an IR career continues to grow and offers more hope for the future.
According to the abstract “Women-in-IR: Are we making an impact?,” there are more women in training today than there are practicing. The abstract will be part of this year’s e-poster presentations.
The abstract’s presenting author, Ava Star, MD, and her team reviewed 6,887 records in the SIR membership database, excluding records in which the gender was unknown. The data showed that 305 women are in training, while the number of current practicing female IRs was 226.
Changes in training and an increased emphasis on recruiting to IR during medical school appear to have a significant impact. Dr. Star’s research found that 23 percent of SIR medical student members are female, which parallels the current percentage of female radiology residents, 27 percent.
“The results were surprising and very encouraging,” Dr. Star said. “We are definitely doing something right, and the next steps will be figuring out what that is and finding new and innovative ways to support, encourage and promote women in IR.”
Dr. Star and her colleagues plan on submitting their findings this year to the Journal of Vascular and Interventional Radiology (JVIR).
Meridith J. Englander, MD, FSIR, inaugural chair of the SIR Women in IR (WIR) Section, said the numbers show that more women are realizing that IR is a field that offers a meaningful, satisfying career. Earlier reports estimated the percentage of practicing women IRs close to 10 percent, but quality data was lacking because reporting gender was not required.
The WIR has worked with the SIR Annual Meeting Committee to help develop several sessions at SIR 2017. “Personal Wellness for the Interventionalist,” 8–10 a.m. on Tuesday in Room 144C, will talk about physician burnout, how to create balance between work and personal lives, and strategies to manage stress. Wednesday’s “Career Development: Part I” at 1 p.m. and “Career Development: Part 2” at 3 p.m. in Room 146A will outline different career paths and the competencies required to maximize professional achievement.
“We can be cautiously optimistic,” Dr. Englander said. “I think we know what the barriers are, and we have opened the door for many more women to enter the field. Now we have some work to do to open it up even more. Fifty percent of medical students are women, so we have a long way to go.”