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How the Tuskegee Airmen are inspiring diversity ideas in Radiology

Radiology is a science that doesn’t recruit alot of minorities in today’s world.  For those not familiar with the science, radiology is the science dealing with X-rays and other high-energy radiation.  Radiation can be used for a myriad of health benefits including the diagnosis and treatment of disease.  According to Curtiland Deville, M.D., co-director of the Johns Hopkins Sibley Prostate Cancer Multidisciplinary Clinic in Washington, D.C “just 2.1 percent of practicing diagnostic radiologists and 3.1 percent of diagnostic radiology residents were black.”  Surprising, these numbers are very close to diversity in tech.

Johnson Lightfoote, M.D., medical director of the Pomona Valley (Calif.) Hospital Medical Center’s radiology department is looking to change the narrative for future minority radiologists.  In an effort to do this, “the American College of Radiology is actively studying how to imitate the successes and avoid the mistakes of other organizations and industries that have worked to promote diversity.”  One group they’re taking a look at is the Tuskegee Airmen.

“Among the first and largest organizations to become successfully integrated was the U.S. military, and Lightfoote showed a 1941 photo of first lady Eleanor Roosevelt flying in a small plane piloted by C. Alfred “Chief” Anderson, lead flight instructor for the legendary Tuskegee Institute.”  In addition to the Tuskegee example for expanding diversity, Deville noted the “Diversity in Cardiology,” at Ohio State as another way to improve diversity in radiology.  The Diversity in Cardiology was “a deliberate and intentional plan implemented at the Ohio State Wexner Medical Center which boosted minority representation in its fellowship training center from zero to near 25 percent in just five years.”

 As radiologists continue to brainstorm different ways to increase diversity for minorities and women, the American Hospital Association lends aid as well, offering “a number of tools and resources for boosting diversity, and is a backer of the #123forEquity campaign.”

HHN Mag

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