January 19, 2023

RadDiscord: Looking Back and Moving Forward

David Payne, MD, Director of Recruitment, and Fatima Elahi, DO, MHA, President

 David Payne, MD    Fatima Elahi, DO, MHA


In addition to the extensive impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on patient health and the international economy, COVID-19 also upended the traditional educational system from pre-K to the graduate level. Graduate medical education and radiology, in particular, were affected by this upheaval.

To reduce the risk of exposure while continuing to provide patient care, faculty physicians transitioned to work from home while many residents were placed on nonclinical electives off-site. In an effort to sustain residency education, didactics and case conferences were hosted on various digital platforms, often requiring payment for subscription access.

Shortly thereafter, all in-person teaching, local and national conferences, and board review courses were either canceled or transitioned to a virtual setting. While these changes were rational given the unprecedented loss of human life that occurred at that time, the effects of those changes on the quality of education and engagement ranged from highly inconvenient to devastating.

In October 2020 (during the early days of the pandemic), RadDiscord was founded. The aim was to create a community for radiology residents to collectively study for radiology examinations. This community has now expanded to include devoted faculty educators, highly motivated medical students, and thousands of residents and fellows from all over the world.

At the time of this publication, RadDiscord hosts 3,760 members who represent 56 countries and 444 institutions. Survey results have shown many user-reported benefits, including establishing a sense of community in radiology education on RadDiscord and receiving expert instruction through the various faculty-led case-review lectures.

Screenshot of faculty-led programming on RadDiscord

Now in our third academic year of operation, RadDiscord offers online educational content and case-conference style lectures by leading national and international faculty. The platform offers a robust and friendly online educational “town square” atmosphere of diverse radiologists and trainees. If you attend any major national radiology conference, there is a good chance you will find an informal RadDiscord meetup where you can share a meal and discuss your aspirations with other members. The platform also allows trainees to connect with expert radiologists from across the world!

With the transition of our new resident leadership and counsel from previous residents, our goal is to continue the well-established case-review series and online discourse. We want to expand on our vision of the platform to include new initiatives over the course of this academic year. These include providing educational content tailored to our junior radiology residents, streamlining the process of joining the platform, collaborating with medical students interested in radiology, and creating partnerships with other radiology education groups.

Screenshot of member-led programming on RadDiscord

We are also in the process of implementing a formal channel moderator program where users can ask questions on a subject channel (e.g., breast imaging, nuclear medicine) and receive an answer from a senior level resident (or higher) while sharing interesting cases about the subspecialty field on that channel.

RadDiscord hopes to not only continue what has worked in the past, but also aims to evolve as our global community grows. Through all of our changes, however, our mission remains the same: To provide equal access to radiology knowledge to all practicing radiologists and trainees and seek to continually improve radiology education in order to advance the profession of radiology.

Currently, RadDiscord runs through 100% volunteer efforts with a zero-dollar budget. We are especially grateful to all the faculty, residents, trainee volunteers and leaders who donate their time and educational expertise to our collective mission.

We look forward to seeing you on the platform soon! If you are not already a member, please visit RadDiscord to join, and remember to follow @RadDiscord on Twitter.

Interested in collaborating or implementing a new initiative on RadDiscord? Let us know at elahirads@gmail.com OR david.payne@stonybrookmedicine.edu.