March 09, 2020

My Experience With AAWR

By Suzanne M. Parets, MD, radiology resident at Hartford Hospital, Hartford, Connecticut. 

It all began with my first national meeting ever — ACR 2019 — and naturally I was shy and completely overwhelmed. I was chosen by my program as one of two resident representatives for Connecticut and was shipped off to Washington, D.C. To this day I have no idea how or why they picked me given how painfully introverted I am, but I am forever grateful.

ACR’s annual meeting opened my eyes to new ways that I could make a difference in the world of medicine, and specifically in radiology. Still one experience stands out as one of my most memorable — that was the speed mentoring lunch. I sat down at a random table and began to listen as different mentors discussed various topics ranging from how to publish manuscripts to how to find a job. I slowly realized I’d joined Elizabeth K. Arleo, MD — the 2019 AAWR President — almost by accident. I remember briefly looking at the description of her table and asking myself, “What is the American Association for Women Radiologists (AAWR)?”

The whole talk was informal but informative. When I asked about the AAWR, she explained to me that it was a society for women in radiology, by women in radiology. To put it simply: the purpose of the AAWR for women to help lift each other up; to propel us forever in the male-dominated field of radiology. I think you could have seen the sparkles in my eyes at that moment; I wanted to join. I wanted to be a part of this, but sadly our time was short. Dr. Arleo urged me to email her if I wanted to get involved in the AAWR. I promised I would, but to be honest, I think it took me a week or so just to muster the courage. I was scared of not getting an answer back or of looking desperate. I thought for sure she would be too busy to remember me.

Little did I know that I would not only receive a prompt response, but also be put in contact with Member-in-training (MIT) subcommittee members. I was immediately welcomed and invited to telephone meetings during which I could share my ideas and be heard. To this day I am thankful to the ACR for hosting the speed mentoring lunch and to the AAWR for allowing me this chance to get involved in a society that is so invested in empowering all women in radiology. I cannot wait to attend this year’s annual meeting — ACR 2020 — and attend all of the AAWR-sponsored events.

If you would like to become a member of this amazing organization, please visit aawr.org/Membership/Join-AAWR. MIT, including fellows, can become members for free!