To achieve gender parity in radiology, the entire specialty must work together

Bruce J. Hillman, MD, the outgoing editor-in-chief of the Journal of the American College of Radiology (JACR), knows that gender parity in radiology is an issue that must be taken seriously. As he explained in a post on the official blog of the American College of Radiology (ACR), many in the imaging industry—including himself—have “silently acquiesced to decades of discrimination and inequality in our field.”

Now, Hillman noted, the specialty must move forward and work to right this wrong.

“There is so much to be done,” he wrote. “We need methods to determine where our efforts are most likely to lead to success—smart methods that lead to broader equality but avoid unfairly citing discrimination when little exists. We need to look beyond simple percentages of men and women in a given sphere to what’s behind those percentages if we are to avoid, and productively chase down, confounding influences that contribute to the gender makeup of our profession, our associations and our councils, boards and leadership teams.”

Hillman added that the JACR has already taken one significant step forward: naming Ruth C. Carlos, MD, MS, the journal’s next editor-in-chief. Carlos, who will begin her service on Jan. 1, 2019, previously served as the journal’s deputy editor and has been a contributor for the last 12 years. In addition she has more than 20 years of experience in both medical imaging and medical journalism. Carlos will be the first woman to serve as the editor-in-chief of a major radiology academic journal.

“Ruth is one of many talented women and men whose names have graced the journal’s masthead and contributed in extraordinary ways to its success over the first 15 years of its existence,” Hillman wrote. “While it may be tempting, in retrospect, to claim their appointment was strategic, it was truly my desire to assemble the best possible talent to work on behalf of the Journal that has resulted in diversity—not the other way around.”

The ACR is working for gender equality in other ways as well. The ACR Young and Early Career Professionals Section and Women in Radiology, for example, are co-hosting a book club later this month to discuss the book How Women Rise: Break the 12 Habits Holding You Back from Your Next Raise, Promotion, or Job. Men and women “of all levels of training and practice” can join in the conversation, and there will either be a social media conversation revolving around the hashtag #RadChicks.

The ACR Commission for Women and Diversity, Hillman wrote, is another group working to make a real difference when it comes to gender parity.