March 12, 2018

Fostering the Future of Radiology


Dr. West and Mr. Meremikwu at a 2017 PIER program skills session
The importance of mentoring medical students and connecting young talent to radiology continues to be top of mind for the American College of Radiology (ACR). The goal is to introduce medical students to the field early — particularly those from backgrounds underrepresented in the specialty.

Knowing that medical students represent the future of medicine, the College is prioritizing the education of students about radiology has to offer. The ACR Commission for Women and Diversity founded the Pipeline Initiative for Enrichment of Radiology (PIER) mentoring program to increase minority medical student exposure and preparation for radiology postgraduate training. The PIER program was launched with the help of Nth Dimensions™, an educational nonprofit striving to increase diversity in orthopedics and other subspecialty fields of medicine.

Five PIER candidate interns were selected last year to work side by side with experienced radiologists in both academic and private practice environments. PIER interns are expected to prepare a research paper, delving them deep into radiology. They learn to “speak” radiology and to “see” radiologists as contributors within their local communities.

Ramzy I. Meremikwu, a second-year medical student at the University of Texas’ McGovern Medical School, was mentored by Nicholas Beckmann, MD, and Derek West, MD, during the summer of 2017. “Reading radiographs is an earned skill, and Dr. Beckmann loved to test me on my knowledge,” he recalls. “Doing research with Dr. West was amazing because he gave me freedom to independently lead a project … and gave me a sense of ownership in the work. I believe this experience will help in my future research endeavors.”

The PIER program is in the second year of offering internships for first-year medical students with radiology and radiation oncology departments and practices. ACR is urging practice leaders to volunteer to host an intern. The College is also asking that radiologists invite any medical students they may know to apply for 2019 Radiology Summer Internships when the application process opens on Dec. 1, 2018.

In addition, a host of ACR members — in collaboration with the AMA Medical Student Section (AMA MSS), American Medical Student Association (AMSA), Student National Medical Association (SNMA), and other institutions — have been speaking to medical students at mentoring events and workshops around the country. AMSA will feature a session next week at its 2018 Convention and Exposition focused on exploring the truths and myths in radiology and how residents came to choose the field.

ACR members have been volunteering to serve as mentors to medical students through a match program featured on the AMSA website.

If you are interested in becoming a radiology mentor or hosting an internship in the future, contact Angelica Vergel de Dios at avergeldedios@acr.org.