October 19, 2021

Women in Radiology Spotlight Special Edition: Celebrating a Year of Questions and a Future of Answers

Austin Wheeler, MD; Joelle Wazen, MD; and Faezeh Sodagari, MD

The authors would like to thank Ragheed Al-Dulaimi, MD, for his contributions to this article.

The ACR-RFS Women and Diversity Advisory Group launched the Women in Radiology Spotlight Series in September 2020 to highlight the achievements of outstanding female leaders in the field of radiology through a Q&A interview conducted by radiology trainees from different radiology institutions. To celebrate this special, first-year anniversary, we reflect on the goals and future of this series, and share the collection of articles published in its inaugural year.

As we consider the many lessons learned during this global pandemic year, we can be sure of this: No one has all the solutions, but well-placed questions can lead to a treasure trove of answers. Over the past year, the Women in Radiology Spotlight Series has revealed an abundance of unsung talent that has indeed existed all along, if only we take the time to ask the right questions.

Throughout the series, we bring to light the extraordinary cohort of female leadership in the radiology community. And in the year to come, we seek to shine that light with even more brilliance. We are grateful to the outstanding women in radiology who have shared their stories and pearls of wisdom.

The series launched in September 2020 with the Cheri L. Canon, MD, FACR, interview, in which she emphasizes the importance of empathy in cultivating diversity and thriving in a male-dominated profession.

In the November 2020 issue, Melissa Davis, MD, MBA, explains that embracing a new way of thinking is key to reaching out and filling the gaps between medicine and leadership.

We later appreciated the value of having a role model that influences one’s path and were delighted to hear from Anne Osborn, MD, FACR, in her January 2021 article that no matter who you are, the final determinants of success are hard work, knowledge and expertise.

The weather got warmer and so did our series in March with a story about the inspiring career path of Anu Brixey, MD. Here, we discover that keeping one’s vision in focus despite the obstacles is crucial and admitting when a problem exists is required to initiate a solution. She also shows us that raising each other up is the key to overcoming female gender disparity.

We then revisited the significance of empathy in connecting with one another in the May 2021 Spotlight when Elizabeth Trullenque, MD, highlights the influence of empowering others and the need to maintain a balanced life in order to persevere.

In our June issue this year, Dorothy Gilbertson-Dahdal, MD, reiterates the incredibly simple yet true ‘show up and work hard’ adage. She inspires us to find meaning in what we do and to not be afraid to take a chance, which is what it took to transform her department.

Our series got more colorful in July when we interviewed Lakshmi Ananthakrishnan, MD, who shared her life lessons on prioritizing what matters most and how the COVID-19 experience opened so many opportunities for working parents through a remote work setting.

We then explored the beauty of combining education and outreach with Mara M. Kunst, MD, who touches on the value of interdisciplinary collaboration in building solid relations with providers as a means to succeed.

Finally, we wrapped up our year with Judy Yee, MD, FACR, who illuminates the path to leadership through mentorship and sponsorship and sheds light on the importance of early-career development.

As we forge ahead, what questions should we ask? How can we dig deeper and tap further into this vast wealth of talent? To do so, we look forward to expanding the Spotlight Series to include role models who will represent all members of our community. We hope to feature a rich tapestry, knitted together with radiologists who resonate profoundly with our trainees and students.

We also plan to explore aspects of diversity and inclusion, such as race, cultural and ethnic backgrounds, sexual orientation and disability. Our quest will take us to new heights in professional societies as well, inclusive of our remarkable colleagues in nuclear medicine and radiation oncology, who work alongside us to uphold the pillars of the American College of Radiology (ACR).

One exciting new venture will be a Rising Star Series to inspire the next generation of diversity within the ACR. The series will run parallel with the existing Spotlight Series and call attention to “ones to watch” within our community. We intend to highlight early-career professionals in addition to established paragons and to shed light on diversity at progressive stages of career evolution.

The initiative is designed to galvanize young radiologists to find role models despite the status of their professional paths. In particular, we hope to feature those with diverse backgrounds who have overcome substantial hardship and to extol their accomplishments, despite any unique challenges in academia, private practice or advocacy efforts.

As we ask trailblazing questions in the academic year before us, take note of the powerful answers in these interviews with our guests. There is wisdom and strength in the diversity of our shared experiences, if only we can open our minds and ears to listen to one another. To make listening a bit easier, the ACR RFS Subcommittee on Women and Diversity will be magnifying its virtual presence on social media to reach a greater audience.

Despite the constraints of pandemic distancing, our virtual community is burgeoning with new medical students and residents joining the radiology community on #SoMe platforms. We will coordinate our outreach with a monthly theme to celebrate the various elements of diversity among women, underrepresented minority groups, immigrants and international medical graduates, members of the LGBTQ community, and beyond.

Thank you to all who have voyaged with us so far, and please join us in honoring this first anniversary of our journey.






 1 September 2020 Cheri L. Canon, MD, FACR, FAAWR
Juan D. Guerrero-Calderon, MD Women in Radiology Spotlight: A Q&A with Cheri L. Canon, MD, FACR, FAAWR
 2 November 2020 Melissa Davis, MD, MBA  Jesse M. Conyers, MD Women in Radiology: A New Way of Thinking - Q&A with Melissa Davis, MD, MBA
 3 January 2021 Anne Osborn, MD, FACR
Ragheed Al-Dulaimi, MD Women in Radiology Spotlight: Seeing Is Believing
 4 March 2021 Anu Brixey, MD
Julia Saltalamacchia, MD Women in Radiology: Anu Brixey, MD
 5 May 2021 Elizabeth Trullenque, MD
Amanda P. Marrero-González, MD Women in Radiology: Breaking Down Barriers — Q&A With Elizabeth Trullenque, MD
 6 June 2021 Dorothy Gilbertson-Dahdal, MD Miguel Craig, MD Women in Radiology Q&A: Interview With Dorothy Gilbertson-Dahdal, MD
 7 July 2021 Lakshmi Ananthakrishnan, MD
Merissa Harris, MD Women in Radiology Spotlight: Q&A With Lakshmi Ananthakrishnan, MD
 8 August 2021 Mara M. Kunst, MD
Diana Murcia Salazar, MD Women in Radiology Spotlight: Q&A With Mara M. Kunst, MD
 9 September 2021 Judy Yee, MD, FACR
Faezeh Sodagari, MD Women in Radiology Spotlight: Q&A With Judy Yee, MD, FACR