September 13, 2021

Women in Radiology Spotlight: Q&A With Judy Yee, MD, FACR

Interview by Faezeh Sodagari, MD, PGY-5 Radiology Resident at Yale School of Medicine

The monthly ACR RFS Women & Diversity Subcommittee “Women in Radiology” Spotlight Series aims to highlight women leaders in the field of radiology who have inspired others and have made substantial contributions to the field.

What helped you succeed as a leader in a male-dominant field?
I have always tried to do my own personal best and have focused on that without becoming deterred about the fact that I am a woman working in a male-dominant field. I went to Barnard College of Columbia University which is an all-women’s college and had some terrific women role models and mentors who instilled in me not only a strong work ethic but having a larger purpose and to think big.

What is the favorite part of your work?
I enjoy my current role as Chair of the Radiology Department at Montefiore-Einstein because of the larger and more timely impact I can have on improving patient care, not just within my area but in other departments as well. I also mentor and sponsor many faculty within my department and from other institutions which I find very gratifying. It has been so rewarding to see some of them become chairs of departments as well!

What have you found to be the most challenging experience in your career?
The COVID-19 pandemic that hit us so hard and fast in New York City starting March 2020 was tough. We quickly became a major hotspot, and I had to learn as we went along in developing new workflows while trying to keep everyone safe. This was not easy. I’m proud to say that we came through with increased resilience and have learned so much from the human experience, including the importance of equity, transparency and fairness.

What steps can women take to advance in leadership roles in radiology?
Women should find mentors and sponsors early on if interested in leadership. These should be within radiology, but it’s important to find some outside of the field as well. Networking is important and this includes developing relationships nationally and internationally. Society and industry relationships are also important. The Executive Leadership in Academic Medicine (ELAM) program is a worthwhile course for women leaders and is designed to help develop professional and personal skills for leadership and addresses the unique challenges faced by women.

How can radiology improve diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) efforts in a sustainable, meaningful way?
I think we must attack this from all directions. Highest level leadership needs to be invested and to  model behavior that encourages DEI. At the same time, all levels need to become educated about DEI and to help in efforts that will sustain incremental gains. For example, we developed a DEI committee in my department, and we bring in speakers to expand education in this area. We still have a lot to do, but I think there have been some tangible wins.

Dr. Yee
Judy Yee, MD, FACR, is Professor and University Chair of Radiology at Montefiore Medical Center and the Albert Einstein College of Medicine. Prior to this role, she was the Vice Chair of Radiology and Biomedical Imaging at the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) and the Chief of Radiology at the San Francisco VA. Dr. Yee received her medical degree and radiology residency training at Albert Einstein College of Medicine, followed by an abdominal imaging fellowship at UCSF. She is a pioneer in the field of abdominal imaging with a research focus on CT colonography. Dr. Yee is an experienced leader, providing valuable mentorship to many radiologists and trainees, and has served in major leadership roles in many radiology organizations.