Co-authors: Monica M. Matsumoto, MD, Tarig Elhakim, MD, and Ayah Mugahid, MD
International Outreach Committee: Thinking Globally
Perhaps you consider global health and interventional radiology (IR) to be mutually exclusive?
In the next few minutes, we aim to demonstrate that, in fact, opportunities abound for international engagement in IR. IR is an essential component of healthcare to which many people across the world have limited access1,2. International development is critical, not only to health, but also to the future of the field. However, we need more engagement of trainees and attendings alike to advance the field of IR globally.
We, as representatives from the International Outreach Committee (IOC) of the Society of Interventional Radiology (SIR) Resident, Fellow and Student (RFS) Section, are pleased to share these global health opportunities with trainees and to try to raise awareness among the radiology community at large.
Because international work is broad, we have a multipronged approach of Professional, Educational and Service outreach. We provide resources for international medical graduates interested in pursuing IR training in the United States, including opportunities for observerships and information about the residency match process.
In 2021, we launched the Global IR Roundtable, a series of webinar discussions that offer a space for conversations relevant to IR and global health, with the hope of not only equipping the audience with information on how to advance IR globally, but also to develop solutions to the current challenges.
For example, we hosted a live discussion on IR equipment procurement during which our dynamic panelists discussed the technical challenges and opportunities of acquiring, implementing and maintaining a supply chain of medical imaging and disposable IR equipment in resource-limited settings. We are always looking for volunteer moderators and panelists who can offer additional perspectives.
One of the newest and most exciting initiatives is Global IR Juniors, a collaboration among trainees from IR societies across the world — SIR RFS, British Society of Interventional Radiology (BSIR), Cardiovascular and Interventional Radiology Society of Europe (CIRSE) and Pan-Arab Interventional Radiology Society (PAIRS). This effort is inspired by the understanding that we can strengthen IR by connecting local experiences and communicating across borders, both of which are currently being underutilized.
We organized the inaugural summit for IR trainees worldwide in July 2021, which brought together speakers from over 10 countries with more than 600 attendees from over 60 countries. The program focused on different IR training pathways and opportunities, with a keynote given by George (“Geogy") Vatakencherry, MD, from the SIR. We recently organized the second summit in August 2022 and plan to continue into 2023 and beyond, with the goal of creating a hybrid in-person/virtual setup and expanding to new initiatives.
To better understand the status of IR globally we, with the support of the SIR, recently launched the “Global Assessment of the Status of IR” survey. The goal of this project is to better understand—and thereby overcome—IR disparities worldwide by collating information about training, current practices, challenges to expansion, and specific tools and resources that may facilitate growth, such as international partnerships, creation of unified training programs, and development of practice standards.
Finally, we want to highlight service opportunities. RAD-AID, a nonprofit organization dedicated to improving radiology services in low-resource settings, and the SIR have a formal partnership to help improve access to interventional radiology services. RAD-AID has a Certificate of Proficiency program in global health radiology, which can be completed by both trainees and attendings.
We also want to mention the Road2IR program (Twitter handle @Road2IR), which began in 2018 in East Africa and serves as a global model to introduce IR to low-resource settings through education and outreach, having recently established the first accredited IR training program in East Africa.
What is next? If you are already interested in international work, you are in good company, and your engagement is needed to educate and support this important component of radiology. In a recent survey of U.S. IR residents, 73% agreed/strongly agreed they wanted to participate in a global health rotation, although only 36% knew of ways to get involved3. We welcome applications to join the SIR RFS IOC and bring new ideas to inspire future IRs about global engagement. Please reach out to us with any ideas, feedback or questions.
- Mollura D.J., Soroosh G. and Culp M.P., RAD-AID Conference Writing Group. “2016 RAD-AID Conference on International Radiology for Developing Countries: Gaps, Growth, and United Nations Sustainable Development Goals,” Journal of the American College of Radiology, 2017;14:841–847.
- Shin D.S. and Menon B.E. “Global IR: Interventional Radiology in Developing Countries,” Journal of Clinical Interventional Radiology, ISVIR, 2019;3:3–6.
- Matsumoto M.M., Dixon R., Anton K., Hunt S.J. and Kesselman A. “Global Health and Interventional Radiology: Supporting Trainee Engagement and Diversity for Future Development,” Journal of Vascular Interventional Radiology, SIR. 2022;33(5):605–606.e2.