Perspective: Mandatory Radiology Education for Medical Students

Published:November 19, 2022DOI:


      • This paper reviews the current state of radiology education in US medical schools and discusses the rationale for a mandatory radiology curriculum taught by radiologists.
      • With increased emphasis on value-based care and patient outcomes, students should learn appropriateness criteria, imaging safety, costs of imaging tests and economic implications of overutilization.
      • Increasing radiologist teaching and engagement with students may improve diversity and inclusivity in radiology by increasing interest in the specialty by underrepresented minorities (URMs).
      Radiology education of medical students is increasingly important given the intersection of radiology with virtually all medical specialties and integral role of imaging in modern patient care. Yet radiology education requirements in US medical schools are variable with only a minority of schools requiring a clerkship in radiology. When required, the radiology curriculum is often limited to anatomy courses in the preclinical years or partially incorporated into required core clerkships and often taught by nonradiologists. Given the growing mandate for value-based care and emphasis on patient outcomes, medical students require better imaging education, both interpretive and non-interpretative skills. They should be taught how to apply appropriateness criteria for exam ordering and the relative costs of different imaging modalities given the economic implications of imaging overutilization. Medical students should also be educated regarding imaging safety considerations. In addition, they must learn the radiologist's role as consultant to assure appropriate ordering of imaging studies, oversight for performance of diagnostic exams and image-guided procedures, interpretation of studies, and communication of results.
      Increasing radiologist teaching and engagement with medical students also has the potential to improve diversity and inclusivity in radiology by increasing interest in the specialty as physicians who identify as underrepresented minorities (URMs) are more likely to practice in underserved areas and with underserved populations thus addressing healthcare disparities and improving access to healthcare for those patient populations.
      Medical schools should support preclinical and clinical curricula that is designed and taught by radiologists.

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