Kristin Kelly Porter, MD, PhD
Associate Professor, Abdominal Imaging Section
University of Alabama - Birmingham
Department of Radiology
“All my life through, the new sights of Nature made me rejoice like a child.” – Dr. Marie Curie
The renewal marked by spring this year was desperately needed, and I will admit to rejoicing like a child during the 40th Anniversary Celebration of the AAWR. Our organization commemorated its members’ accomplishments and celebrated its impact to date. With the support of generous co-hosts and corporate sponsors, we are in an even better position to accomplish our mission to promote opportunities for women, facilitate networking among members and other professionals, and provide mentorship opportunities for the next generation of women radiologists. While I enjoyed the celebration of the AAWR’s accomplishments, I also understand Dr. Marie Curie’s drive for progress with her statement, “I never see what has been done; I only see what remains to be done.” There is still much for the AAWR to do.
At its annual meeting this spring, the American College of Radiology (ACR) voted to adopt Resolution 48, which supports parental, caregiver, and medical leave during training for residents in diagnostic radiology, interventional radiology, radiation oncology, and nuclear medicine. The resolution includes support for 12 weeks of family/medical leave for residents without extension of training (Looking Ahead From ACR 2021 | American College of Radiology).
More recently, the American Board of Radiology released its residency leave policy, allowing residents to take 12 weeks of family and medical leave in addition to vacation and protected interview days without extension of training (https://www.theabr.org/exam-details/residency-leave-policy). Since the US, and medicine in particular, lag the rest of the world in parental leave policies, these resolutions mark substantial progress. Adequate family and medical leave are the foundation for creating a more diverse and healthy radiology workforce; however, there are many additional steps that need to be taken to support women in radiology and mitigate gender disparities, such a providing adequate lactation support and effective sponsorship.1,2
I am proud of my membership in the AAWR, as our organization is initiating, influencing, and leading these important discussions and initiatives. Over the first six months of my AAWR Presidency, I have been fortunate to have a front row seat to the AAWR, RADxx, Ambra Financial Freedom Webinars led by Dr. Geraldine McGinty, during which many of these important topics have been discussed (past webinars are available to AAWR members on the AAWR.org website). Most recently, I was inspired by radiology entrepreneurs Dr. Melissa Davis and Dr. Elizabeth Hawke during the Financial Freedom with RADxx: Entrepreneurial Radwomen webinar. I inferred a message of priorities in lieu of the at times stressful and confusing discussion of work-life balance.
The balance topic is riddled with both explicit and implicit biases. The panelists’ reframing the discussion to priorities felt liberating and less gendered to me, with welcomed fluidity and opportunities to reorder as circumstances change. Further, balance to me has always felt isolating, as if it were up to the individual to singularly balance the components of their world. Focusing instead on priorities affords one the opportunity to align their priorities with their partner, their employer, and their community. With this reframing, I envision numerous opportunities for support and feel much less like we, as individuals, are a solo circus act. Further, I am inspired to advocate for ways to back the priorities of women in radiology and to ensure that these priorities are valued and fairly compensated.
As I think about the opportunities we have in radiology and as AAWR members to advocate and support one another, I am excited about both the upcoming ASTRO and RSNA meetings in Chicago. I do hope that you are planning to join the AAWR at one of these upcoming events. Please check the website for opportunities to network and support the AAWR’s mission, and please be sure to attend the AAWR’s RSNA educational panel during which we will explore both the pros and cons of creative scheduling and how it impacts AAWR members’ and allies’ lives. Thank you for your continued support of the AAWR, its mission, and our collective priorities.
1. Porter KK, Arleo EK, Spalluto LB, McGinty G, Hess CP. A lactation credit model to support breastfeeding in radiology: The new gold standard to support "liquid gold". Clin Imaging. 2021;80:16-18.
2. Balthazar P, Murphy A, Tan N. Mentorship, Sponsorship, and Coaching for Trainee Career Advancement. RadioGraphics. 2021;41(4):E100-E102.
Meridith J. Englander, MD, FSIR
Associate Professor of Radiology
Albany Medical College
There is something wonderful about waking up to the birds chirping and knowing that the sun will still be shining when I leave work. And what’s not to love about the summer? Vacations, no homework, and no work travel. I have more energy in the summer. I walk the dog a little longer, spend more time visiting with my neighbors, and lingering at the table after dinner. I love summer food, especially fresh corn, peaches, cherries, raspberries, and barbeque. I notice that time slows in the summer, yet it always seems to pass too quickly.
This year, I am trying to savor each day of summer, even the rainy ones. Taking our family vacation early this year means that I am not planning my summer around going away. Rather, I can focus on the moment. I am trying to not have expectations, but rather to allow the days to unfold and then find the nuggets of joy. This is not always easy. The demands of work do not stop in the summer. Patients still need imaging and interventions. Yet somehow, summer seems to buffer the impact of a busy professional life. Hectic days, full call weekends, new trainees, and vacation coverage are all easier to take when the weather is nice and the days are long.
Summer is also the time when I think about the upcoming year and my goals, personally and professionally. While many people do this in January, in the dead of winter, now seems like a much more appropriate time to take stock of my life and my career. Right now, I am thinking about the new leadership roles I have accepted and transitioning those that I will be leaving. I am thinking about the impact I can make in the positions that I have and where I want to be headed. And, I am thinking about my mentees and how to ensure that our relationships are meaningful.
Over the next few weeks, there will be many visits with friends and family. There will be bonfires and cookouts and glasses of wine. Relaxing and recharging are on top of the agenda. In September, I am hopeful that I don’t wonder where the time went, but rather I want to look back at the summer and think about all that I accomplished. There is a different kind of productivity in the summer and I am hoping to maximize mine.