RSNA Events

Speed Mentoring

AAWR Speed Mentoring at RSNA

November 29, 2017

Submitted by Alixandra Purakal, MD 

On Wednesday, November 29, women leaders from throughout the radiology community came together to provide mentorship for residents, fellows, and other female radiologists, early in their career.  A broad scope of practice was represented, from large university academic centers to small private practices. A variety of topics were covered, ranging from how to excel early in your career to choosing the right type of practice. The event was well attended and sparked a number of thoughtful conversations on several subjects. A brief summary of each table discussion is provided below:


One of our former AAWR presidents, Dr. Susan Ackerman, talked about women in leadership.  She extolled wisdom on taking small steps at first, and to set realistic goals for promotion.  She reminded us that we could start in leadership positions within our own local practice and to work our way up from there.  Dr. Ackerman advised us to pick specific areas that interest us, whether in politics, research, education, etc, and to find specific people at national meetings, introduce yourself, and state why and how you’d like to get involved in their organization.  She discussed the merits of networking, especially at big meetings, like RSNA.  On a similar note, Dr. Ackerman wanted her mentees to be aware of “Imposter Syndrome,” especially when you begin to achieve higher leadership positions, and she recommended a number of interesting books to read on this topic, including a few by author Brene Brown.


At Dr. Claire Bender's table, we discussed the value of obtaining additional degrees.  She emphasized that choosing which additional degree to obtain of course depends on your individual interests.  Whether to obtain an MBA or MPH or another degree will depend on whether you want to pursue administration, business, statistics, etc.  She further recommends that starting earlier is better.  She encouraged women to have fun and to make connections with another woman, especially in our field, where there are few women.  She recommended turning all educational exhibits into publications, as most of the work has already been done.  Lastly, she reminded us to be persistent when pursuing our goals.


Life in private practice was discussed by Dr. Catherine Everett, who has spent her career in a small private practice setting in Eastern North Carolina.  She chose this primarily based on geography, which she reminded us, is a perfectly valid reason to choose a practice.  Dr. Everett recommends looking at many options and not deciding on a certain practice style too early in training. She also told the resident and fellows that we can still be active on a national scale and involved in a variety of organized radiology settings from the prior practice sphere.  She discussed the pros of a small group practice, especially the personable nature and flexibility.  She enjoys covering a number of different subspecialties and disease processes and recommended this type of practice to others who like the same.  Finally, she reminded us that it is okay to take breaks in our careers and offer the time when we have it.  She emphasized that we should not think that if we do not have time to get involved on a broader scale right now, that does not mean that we will never have time in the future, and we can volunteer when its right for us on a personal level.


Dr. Amy Kotsenas gave us advice on things she wished she would have known earlier in her career.  This is such an interesting topic for a young radiologist, because of course hindsight is 20/20, and everyone wishes they had had some better advice earlier on in life. Primarily, she recommended to the radiologists in training to have self-awareness and understand what makes them happy.  She gave some insightful advice on dos and don'ts in your first job, especially to do your homework about a practice before you join it, and to never burn any bridges.  She advised to save tough questions on your interviews for the HR department, and once you’re settled in a job, know who to go to for tough issues, such as sexual harassment in the workplace. Dr. Kotsenas advised that it is ok to stay in your first job for a long time, but it is also ok to leave for a better fit.  She encouraged us to build strong networks on a national basis early on in our career and to find other women both within our practice and within radiology as a whole that you bond with, as they can be excellent connections as well as sources of information and support throughout our careers.


Dr. Katarzyna Macura led the topic "climbing the ladder."  She discussed with us how academic positions can have a certain degree of job security, as well as the importance of knowing the pathway and requirements for promotion. This will help us to meet appropriate milestones. She recommends finding the "faculty development office" within your institution and regularly checking in with the staff there.  In the first year, she discusses, how your first priority is to be accurate and to learn the ropes. However, after that, you can work on finding your niche and to discover a way to be uniquely valuable to the institution.  She encouraged us to be flexible and to learn new skills so that we can be the "go-to person" for something specific.  Dr. Macura also emphasized that we should not shy away from self-promotion, especially when we have evidence to back it up.  She promoted the importance of finding mentors, both locally and nationally.


The topic of career choices was tackled by Dr. Geraldine McGinty. Dr. McGinty wanted us to remember that many radiologists will change jobs, especially earlier in their career, so you are not trapped in one type of practice from the beginning.  She encouraged us to make sure our interest in the practice is clearly stated to those hiring, and to follow-up on the jobs we especially want. Of course, new hires should always thoroughly check all contracts and have a lawyer review all documents before signing any agreement.  She emphasized how we should trust our gut feeling during the interview process, and to look for a practice for is a good fit for you as an individual. She recommended that the practice that we choose should be members of the ACR and that the most important aspect of choosing a practice to join is the people who work there, and the least important aspect should be the salary.


At her table, Dr. Carolyn Meltzer discussed how to make a smooth transition into practice from training.  She emphasized how it may be advantageous to seek a fellowship in the city you want to settle in, in order to make early connections during the job search.  She also recommended finding someone at your current institution with contacts and reminded the residents that many of the chairs know one another, which can be especially helpful when you are pursuing an academic position.  Dr. Meltzer reminded the residents and fellows to apply broadly for our first job, and to be open to many types of practices and locations.  Of course, reach out to your mentors and build a broad base of contacts.


Focusing on “work-life integration,” Dr. Margaret Szabunio, who is also the outgoing president of AAWR, extolled the importance of learning to delegate tasks. She helped us to remember that we are not "superwoman" and nothing is going to be perfect, and that is okay.  She talked about how important it is to have help with both home and childcare duties, especially if you want to excel as a physician.  She also wanted us to not feel guilty if we take time for self-care. She advised the trainees to pursue a career in a speed that is comfortable for their individual life. Whether your career progresses quickly in the beginning or not, either is okay and we can climb the ladder at our own pace.  She recommends to seek help from colleagues and to be aware that burnout is real.  She enjoys many hobbies and uses these past times as “mental cleansing time.”  Lastly, she recommends having a short commute as possible.


Dr. Ellen Wolf gave us tips on how to get involved in organized radiology.  First and foremost she said to, "jump right in."  She recommended investigating many different societies based on our interests.  She suggested approaching people at meetings who are in those groups or committees that interested us, and to be persistent, in order to let them know that we are interested.  Dr. Wolf also told us that although many people bring business cards at meetings, that is not enough.  She encouraged to write our interests on the cards when we hand them out.  This way, those committee members will be better able to remember us and be able to associate the card with the person.  She wanted us to remember that it was okay to ask for help, but if we do accept a specific task to always do it well, and do it on time.




Celebration Dinner

AAWR R&E Dinner

Submitted by Michelle Dorsey, MD


The 3rd Annual Celebration Dinner supporting the AAWR Research and Education Foundation was a great success. Forty-four friends and colleagues gathered on Sunday night, November 26th, at the Signature Room on the 95th floor of the John Hancock Building. Over a spectacular view of the Chicago skyline, AAWR President Margaret Szabunio, MD, FACR kicked off the proceedings proclaiming it had been an exciting and interesting year. The AAWR is launching its new fellowship program this year at RSNA with 19 new members expected to be inducted into the inaugural class here at RSNA. Maria D Kelly MD, BCh, FACR was welcomed as the incoming President and will be succeeding Dr. Szabunio shortly. Amy Patel, MD was recognized for her enthusiasm, giving a new face to the AAWR through social media. The speed mentoring sessions at previous meetings were also noted to be well received, and we look forward to the event again this year. Vice President Dr. Elizabeth Kagan Arleo encouraged members to send articles for submission to the journal Clinical Imaging, of which she is Editor-in-Chief. She is also looking for more clinician reviewers, and one can earn 3 CME for every review completed. The event was a wonderful opportunity to network with members old and new, and a number of residents were in attendance. The future of the AAWR is promising!



AAWR Facebook Event at RSNA

Women in Radiology and Burnout: AAWR Facebook Live Event Q and A with Dr. Cheri Canon, MD, FACR
By Amy Patel, MD
AAWR Board Member-at-Large

At RSNA 2017, AAWR held it’s first Facebook Live Question and Answer Session with Dr. Cheri Canon, MD, FACR, Chair of Radiology at the University of Alabama at Birmingham who addressed questions regarding women in radiology and burnout. It was incredibly well received with 1,600 views and a reach of 3,304 and counting! Questions which were addressed included what are the most contributing factors to burnout, particularly to women in radiology, how does Dr. Canon maximize her efficiency, what practices and institutions can do to avoid burnout, and what advice would Dr. Canon give to a woman radiologist currently feeling burned out as she is considered one of the experts on burnout in the field of Radiology.


Dr. Canon touched on points that Radiology is uniquely susceptible to burnout as oftentimes, what we do as radiologists are more isolated, such as reading in a dark room, the department itself is in a different part of the hospital which could be far removed, etc. She also noted that “as service providers, we are at greater risk because we are not in control of our environment.” The example she provided was that in academic medicine, the challenge is producing high RVUs and being able to keep up with rising volumes when radiologists are attempting to keep up with other facets such as research and teaching. She notes that for women, this can be particularly challenging as many have “two careers,” the “work career” and the “home career.”  She stresses that women radiologists need to take breaks and “moments to yourself,” and to “unplug” on vacation. In the workplace, Dr. Canon points out that to reduce burnout, practices, and institutions can identify particular activities that each radiologist enjoys and allow her/him to do that. For Dr. Canon, it is making sure she has time allotted for fluoroscopy. Finally, in her closing remarks about providing advice to women radiologists who may be feeling burned out, she notes that one must be “forgiving” of herself.


To watch the entire Q and A, please go to:




2017 Business Meeting