By Hazel Asumu, MD, in collaboration with Grace G. Zhu, MD
An Introduction to #RadDiscord
#RadDiscord is a server on the Discord platform that was created in October 2020 by Grace G. Zhu, MD, a radiology resident at the University of Utah School of Medicine. The server was created to help radiology residents get together to study for their board exams. In the midst of a pandemic, studying together in person is difficult; however, this unprecedented challenge presented an opportunity for a creative new solution and thus the server was born.
While there are many online radiology resources, this is the first international online radiology community that promotes real-time interactions and allows members to ask questions, discuss cases, debate difficult concepts, share tips and resources, get career advice, and build friendships. Many devoted educators and residents have volunteered their time to help make this community succeed.
I first heard about #RadDiscord when one of my neuroradiology attendings shared the link to the server with my residency class. As someone who is usually more of a “lurker” when it comes to social media, I was initially hesitant to get involved. However, the idea of engaging on a forum-style platform and having discussions with others going through the same stress of preparing for the ABR core exam was something that appealed to me. After joining, I found myself quickly immersed in several of the server channels — reading up on interesting cases, asking questions and getting involved in various conversation threads.
Shortly after, I started attending virtual group study sessions and first met Grace during one of the MSK review sessions. We continued to study together and after getting more involved in the server, I was invited to join the ranks of the “Power Rads” and have since had the opportunity to help with some behind-the-scenes aspects of the server. Below is a quick tour of what the server has to offer:
How to Join
First, download the Discord app on your mobile device and use the invite link to join. You can also access Discord on your computer by visiting discord.com and using the downloadable app or web browser version. Once in the server, head to the #-introduce-yourself channel and write a short introduction, including your first name, institution, year, and fellowship and/or future plans. After posting an introduction, a moderator will reach out to you for verification. Once verified, you gain full access to all of the #RadDiscord channels and content.
Along the left-hand side of the screen, you’ll find multiple channels to explore. So far, channels include case of the day, study topics, voice channels for virtual group study sessions and more.
Under the study topics channel there are multiple subspecialty channels to explore, ranging from neuro, to chest and cardiac, to pediatrics, and much more.
One of the most incredible aspects of these channels is the faculty engagement. Residents ask and answer each other questions; however oftentimes an attending who has subspecialty training will weigh in. If a resident asks a question and is seeking input from someone in that specialty, they can tag their question @subspecialty and faculty with that subspecialty tag in their profile will be notified about that discussion thread. Being able to directly reach out to so many world-renowned experts and have them answer questions has been truly amazing.
Case of the Day and Physics Corner
Residents post a variety of cases each day, often accompanied by a question with a poll response. Answers are typically posted the following day.
For those who enjoy group studying while preparing for high-stakes exams, there are virtual “study rooms” that can be joined at any time. Once in a study room, the voice channel is active and those in the room can talk, video chat or screen share with one another. Past group study sessions consisted of five to 10 residents going through board prep questions together. Taking cases in a low-stress environment helps build confidence and reasoning through answer choices.
Career Planning Advice
Under #career-planning and #fellowship, residents can get advice, learn about job opportunities, and hear about choosing fellowships from other residents, fellows and attendings from diverse practice backgrounds.
One of the great things about #RadDiscord is that it’s entirely resident-driven and resident-run. Moderators and Power Rads respond to feedback and suggestions and new channels are often created based on popular requests.
Faculty-Led Board Reviews
These reviews have been one of the best things to come from the server and are incredibly helpful in preparing for boards. We have had faculty from all over the country and from multiple subspecialties give lectures for the recent core exam for the R4s — usually in a “hot seat” format over Zoom, with residents taking cases.
That is a quick run-through of some of the great #RadDiscord features, but there is so much more to check out after joining! Last but not least, I am incredibly grateful for the friendships I’ve made since joining #RadDiscord. It’s been exciting to watch as radiologists and radiology residents from all over the world continue to join, and I am so excited to see how the server will continue to grow and evolve in the future.