The Women in IR Section (WIR) looks to continue growing in 2018 and beyond.
WIR, which promotes women in the specialty by providing the tools and inspiration to reach professional and personal goals, will strive to increase the group’s visibility and membership in the coming year, said Barbara Nickel Hamilton, MD, incoming WIR chair.
One of the primary goals of the section has been to increase the participation of women in interventional radiology meeting sessions as speakers and moderators. Speaking at national meetings is essential for building a professional reputation and career promotion, and women have historically been underrepresented at national meetings. A speakers bureau was established that maintains a list of qualified and capable speakers as well as their areas of expertise. Under the leadership of Meridith J. Englander, MD, FSIR, outgoing chair of the section, significant improvements in benchmarks have been realized two years into this initiative. WIR serves as a resource to meeting coordinators to match women speakers into appropriate sessions.
“We’re actively encouraging women to volunteer themselves in their areas of expertise,” Dr. Hamilton said. “It’s important that medical students, trainees and the entire IR community have an opportunity to see and hear women experts.”
Mentoring has been an important focus for Dr. Hamilton. WIR has worked with the SIR Resident, Fellow and Medical Student Section (RFS), the Diversity and Inclusion Committee, the Student and Resident committee (SARC) and the RFS Education and Research Committee on developing an online mentorship program dedicated to matching mentors and mentees of diverse backgrounds. The online database helps those seeking advice to find a mentor who shares their interests, background or outlook. Mentors have to sign up to be included in the database, so mentees know that when they reach out to somebody in the database, they will find somebody accepting and highly motivated to help.
“Given the varied interests and experience of IRs and trainees within our specialty, it is important to have a mentorship platform that helps match mentees in any stage of their career with a mentor who fits their purpose,” Dr. Hamilton said.
She said that, as a volunteer mentor, she wants to help represent the private practice realm.
WIR recently collaborated with the RFS’s Women in IR Committee (RFS WIR) on a video to promote awareness about women in IR. Monica Uceda Arriola, MD, and Yuli Zhu (a fourth-year medical student) worked with SIR staff to produce a video that highlights the roles of the WIR and RFS WIR. After debuting at SIR 2018 during The 2nd Women in IR InspIRed Lecture and also in SIR Central, the video will be available through the society’s social media channels.
RFS Women in IR Committee
The SIR Resident, Fellow and Medical Student Section Women in IR Committee (RFS WIR) is helping to recruit more women into the specialty and eventually to leadership positions by serving as a resource for those considering an IR career, says Monica J. Uceda Arriola, MD, 2017–18 RFS WIR chair. About 60 percent of the women members of SIR are are in training, either as residents, fellows or medical students. The work of the RFS WIR focuses on writing articles and holding webinars to educate students about IR careers and address concerns such as radiation exposure, pregnancy and life–work balance.
“Recruitment will always have to be an important role for this group, and we have to support efforts to disseminate more information about interventional radiology for women and clarify misconceptions,” Dr. Uceda said. “We need to raise awareness.”
The RFS WIR has received a microgrant for a large workforce study geared toward trainees, to study the factors that influence medical students considering a career in interventional radiology. The committee is also creating a webinar series on development of leadership skills for all trainees, with an emphasis on leadership for women.
The RFS WIR is having its first official committee meeting on Sunday at 7 a.m. at the JW Marriott LA, Atrium III.
Women in IR events
2018 SIR Gold Medalist Renate L. Soulen, MD, FSIR, will deliver The 2nd Women in IR InspIRed Lecture on Monday afternoon. The lecture and lunch takes place from 12 – 1 p.m. in Room 502B.
It costs $25 to attend, and advanced registration is required by adding the lunch to your annual meeting registration.
Dr. Soulen was a founding Fellow of SIR — one of only four women in that pioneering group — and served as chair of the society’s third annual meeting in 1978.
The Women in IR Governing Council will meet on Tuesday morning at 7 – 8 a.m. in the JW Marriott LA, Atrium I.