Rationale and Objectives
Many medical schools offer minimal exposure to radiology, leading to a decreased understanding
of the field and negative perceptions among medical students. The purpose of this
study was to examine the effects of a radiology intensive series piloted by a novel
virtual radiology interest group. Specifically, we were interested in how radiologists
and medical educators can expand students’ general awareness, drive greater interest
in the field, and achieve more uniform national messaging across all trainees.
Materials and Methods
We launched a national/international interest group called Radiology Student Interest
Group (RadSIG) and piloted the RadSIG Intensive, a series of five events aimed at
increasing awareness and dispelling misconceptions among preclinical medical students.
Validated pre-intensive and post-intensive surveys were used to ascertain the students’
baseline and changed perspectives, respectively. A separate faculty survey was also
distributed to understand how they perceived our events. Statistical analysis was
carried out on the collected data to identify trends and assess the utility of our
205 students completed the pre-intensive survey, and 61 students completed the post-intensive
survey. Of the pre-intensive survey respondents, 51.7% (106/205) indicated that they
had a limited understanding of what a career in radiology entails. Of those who completed
the entire RadSIG Intensive, average 5-point Likert scale scores for understanding
of a radiology career rose from 3.30 to 4.38 respectively pre- to post-completion.
A Wilcoxon signed-rank test revealed that this difference was statistically significant
(Z=-5.95, p<0.001), and that the RadSIG Intensive significantly improved perceptions of radiologists
across every single question measured, except for perception of long hours worked
(Z=-0.20, p=0.841). The results also showed increased student comfort in reaching out to radiology
attendings (Z=-4.30, p<0.001) and residents (Z=-5.12, p<0.001). Faculty survey results indicated positive perceptions of the series.
Our results show that the RadSIG Intensive was effective in increasing students’ understanding
of radiology as a field and a potential career. Online outreach can also lower the
resistance and improve student comfort in reaching out for mentorship, which may provide
a new pathway to reach underserved students with a unifying message. By furthering
a platform based on voluntary and supplemental resources, we see a far greater potential
of impacting the perception and known role of the imager in patient care among our
next generation of physicians.