Reflections from Women Radiologists

Compiled by  Katarzyna J. Macura, MD, PhD, 2005 President of AAWR

Dear AAWR Member,

I invite you to turn to "Portraits from AAWR" for answers to questions about a career in radiology, and the balancing act between the family and the professional life. I hope you will find this collection to be informative, entertaining, and heartwarming. I have been inspired by the wonderful words of wisdom from these accomplished women radiologists and I promise that so will you. Happy reading!

Please send us your comments related to this anthology. If you would like to share your own story, please contact our office at info@aawr.org to receive an entry template.

Ritsuko Komaki , MD , FACR

2001 President of AAWR
2005 Marie Sklodowska-Curie Awardee

Teacher, Researcher, and Clinician

I am a Professor of Radiation Oncology and Gloria Lupton Tennison Distinguished Endowed Professor for the Lung Cancer Research at the University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, Texas. I was the AAWR President 2001 and have received the Marie Sklodowska-Curie Award in 2005. I have also, received an award medal-commemorating centenary of discovery of Radium from the Society in Tribute to Maria Sklodowska-Curie. This award was given to me based on my activity promoting achievements of Marie Sklodowska-Curie and personal achievements in Radiation Oncology on August 24, 2006.

I was raised in Hiroshima where I met Ms. Sadako Sasaki at age 10-years-old who developed acute granulocytic leukemia due to the exposure from the Atomic Bomb at her infancy. Sadako’s death at 11 years old triggered my decision to become researcher and physician of malignancy. I have worked with Sadako’s older brother and classmates to create “ the Sadako’s Memorial Statue” which is standing at the Peace Memorial Park in Hiroshima where thousands of origami crane birds have been sent from all over the world to pray the Peace in the World. The Origami Crane is the symbol of “Happiness and Longevity” and that we will recover from illness and tragedy if we fold one thousand of Origami Cranes. I still teach 10 th or 11 th grade school children about Sadako and how to fold Origami Cranes. Sadako’s legacy lives in me and the AAWR has recognized my legacy, which I deeply appreciated.

What has changed about your career and self-perception since you were younger? If you could go back and speak to your younger self, what piece of wisdom would you share?

When I faced Sadako’s death due to Leukemia when she and I were at age of 11 years old, this event has changed my perception of the life of human beings. Ms. Sadako Sasaki was one of my friends at the elementary school and we used to compete for running in the fall athletic meeting. She became short of breath and was found to have Acute Granulocytic Leukemia, which was most likely caused by the exposure of Atomic Bomb when she was an infant.

I would like to give a message to younger generation that we should not repeat the war and we all have to give up the nuclear weapons. Incredible number of people would be suffered by more recent nuclear weapons, which would not be due to only immediate death, but also deaths due to malignancies and cardio/vascular effects due to the exposure to the radiation several years to forever after the exposure. The other message to younger generation is that when we face any tragedy, we have to think about how to turn around to make it better or positive. We did not want to waste Sadako’s death. We wanted to do something for positive, so she would have been proud of us.

Who had the biggest influence on your career?

My parents had the biggest influence on my career. My parents have lost everything due to the Atomic Bomb in Hiroshima except their children and their own lives. They told me that education was the only one thing they could give us, since they were so poor financially. Both of my parents were well-educated couple in a different way. My father was self-taught person from a family of Sake Brewery and among 12 children He was the youngest child and his father died when he was 10 years old. He supported himself to go to the Kyoto University, which is one of the most prestigious Universities in Japan. He had been on the way to be the top of CEO in one of conglomerate companies, but the second war made him to change his job to help his family in Hiroshima.

On the other hand, my mother came from Samurai family. Her father was well known was the member of the cabinet in the Agriculture, then a secretary of the Mr. Asano who was the Lord of Hiroshima prefecture. My mother read all European and Asian histories by 7 years old and was supported by maids and secretaries for her father. The second war and A-Bomb have changed my parents’ life tremendously, but influenced my thinking and career development as well as my fiend’s death.

 

Ritsuko Komaki

I am surrounded by my supporters:

Back row, from the left-hand side: Charles Washington (Director of the Radiation Oncology Clinical Operation, MDACC), Mitch Latinkic (Senior Administrative Director of Radiation Oncology at MDACC), Michael Gillin, Ph.D. (Deputy Chair of Medical Physics at MDACC), and James D. Cox. M.D. (Head of Radiation Oncology, MDACC, Husband of Dr. Komaki), Kasia Macura, M.D., Ph.D. (President of AAWR).

Front row, from the left-hand side: Zhongxing Liao, M.D. (AAWR Chair of Radiation Oncology who nominated Dr. Komaki to receive the AAWR MSC award), Lena Tang (Administrative assistant at the Proton Center), Ritsuko Komaki, M.D. (AAWR MSC award recipient), Nancy Ellerbroeck, M.D. (AAWR President elect), Jang Zhang, M.D. (Post-doc fellow at MDACC from Beijing supported by RSNA research grant and AAWR international member) and Janet Strife, M.D. (recipient of AAWR Alice Ettinger Award).

Ritsuko Komaki , MD, FACR is Professor of Radiation Oncology and Gloria Lupton Tennison Distinguished Endowed Professor for the Lung Cancer Research at the University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center in Houston.

Kathleen A. Ward, MD, FACR

2002 President of AAWR

Mother, Wife, and Radiologist

As the oldest of seven daughters, I met my first feminist in my father whose favorite quote was “blessed art thou amongst women.” A child of the 50’s and 60’s, I grew up in a family of virtually all women and attended a girls’ high school as well as a women’s college. My mother immigrated to the United States from Ireland at the age of five, brought across the pond by her mother who alone raised her nine children after her husband’s untimely death. From the age of nine until his five-year stint in the army during World War II, my father worked for the butcher next door to support his family of eight during the Depression. Both Mom and Dad unfortunately never had the opportunity to attend college, let alone medical school, but that never prevented them from ensuring that all seven of their children graduated from college, six of us going on to postgraduate degrees and all but one in education or health care. Growing up in a house filled with love and laughter, we never entertained the thought we would not attain our goals.

From my parents, I learned more than the importance of love and education. I learned about flexibility and compromise, qualities that have served me well in both my career and family life. The flexibility I have found in my career choice of radiology has allowed me the best of both worlds: a fulfilling and stimulating career and a complete and loving family life. Working part-time in private practice radiology while my children were young afforded me the opportunity to attend virtually every school recital and little league game, as well as providing me the time to chauffeur my children to their many music lessons, choir rehearsals and opera performances. Part-time employment also allowed me time to become involved with the AAWR and my local and state radiological societies. Among my proudest career moments are my years as president of the AAWR and president of the Chicago Radiological Society as well as my recognition as a fellow of the American College of Radiology, an achievement in which the AAWR and its support were especially critical. I certainly would be remiss if I did not also acknowledge the support of a loving husband as crucial to both our family’s happiness and my personal achievements.

As my children became young adults, with my daughter in conservatory in New York City and my son halfway through upper school, flexibility also allowed me the opportunity to return to academic practice and full-time employment in the department where twenty years earlier I had completed my training. I happily now find myself working along side many of the very same radiologists, technologists and sonographers I had known during my residency years, all the while time marveling at how radiology has changed over the past twenty-five years.

What would be your most important advice to your junior colleague?

My advice to my young residents and junior colleagues remains the same counsel that I received from my parents. Flexibility is key to achieving career fulfillment and happiness in the home. Each of us must find our own path and remember to stop and smell the flowers.

What do you like most about your current life/career?

While we radiologists face turf issues from competing medical specialties, medical malpractice crises, as well as increasing insurance company demands and government regulation in the face of diminishing reimbursement, we must remember that we are fortunate to be able to practice in a specialty where the day is never dull and in a field in which we continue to learn and grow. Many years ago, I wrote an article for the AAWR focus regarding having it all. I firmly believe we can still have it all; one only has to look to our many women colleagues in radiology for proof.

1981 Residency Application Photo:
Kathleen Ward
 

August 2006 Family Photo: (left to right) Daniel Reiter, Mark Reiter, Elizabeth Reiter, and Kathleen Ward

Hedvig Hricak, MD, PhD, Dr. HC

2002 Marie Sklodowska - Curie Awardee
Mother, leader, mentor

I consider myself a most fortunate woman. I enjoy my job as Chairman of the Department of Radiology at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center (MSKCC). It allows me to work with many talented and dedicated people. I can mentor many of the young radiologists, and I take particular pleasure in helping young women develop their careers. I am able to do clinical and translational research with enthusiastic, hardworking colleagues in my subspecialty. The Department is growing much faster than I expected, and it is an invigorating challenge to keep up with the increasing demand for imaging—a national trend. Lately I have become involved in projects related to national policy issues by serving on the Scientific Advisory Board of the National Cancer Institute and chairing the National Academy of Science Committee on Nuclear Medicine. Being on the Board of the RSNA is another exhilarating educational experience. There are so many individuals contributing huge amounts of energy and time for the good of the specialty. The only problem is that, living in New York, I do not like the distance from our son, Peter, who is in San Francisco working for Lucas Films.

Congratulations and happy 25 th birthday, AAWR. Of all the honors that I have been fortunate to receive by working with outstanding individuals at UCSF and MSKCC, the Marie Curie award from the AAWR is closest to my heart, as Marie was a Slav woman who achieved success and family bliss in an adopted country.

Who had the biggest influence on your career?

The biggest influence on my career as a physician-scientist was Dr. William Eyler, who was the editor of Radiology and head of the Department of Radiology at Henry Ford Hospital when I was on the junior faculty there. He taught me that to advance radiology, one should go beyond describing interesting cases and get one's hands dirty in the lab, design protocols, engage in hypothesis-driven research and apply for grants. It was not only highly motivating and educational, but a load of fun.

In those days, protected research time did not exist. I did my laboratory studies at 6 o'clock in the morning before the clinical day started. I still vividly remember Dr. Eyler coming to the reading room to substitute for me—more than once. For my first big scientific presentation at the AUR, Dr. Eyler came with his wife to coach me and support me from the audience. I'll never forget this inspirational beginning for which I am forever grateful.

What would be your most important advice to your junior colleague?

You can achieve whatever you set out to do, but you cannot do everything at the same time. You have to decide on YOUR priorities, and be comfortable with them – understanding their long-term consequences. Don’t try to do it all at once – you will be continuously “haunted” by guilt and will not be a very happy person.

The MSKCC Department of Radiology 2005 Faculty Retreat

"Surviving": From left to right, myself, Alexander R. Margulis—my husband and a great leader and inspiration to all—and Professor Lee from Beijing.

Hedvig Hricak, MD, PhD, Dr. HC is Professor and Carroll & Milton Petrie Chairman of the Department of Radiology at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center

Kay H. Vydareny, MD, FACR

1984 President of AAWR,
2000 Marie Sklodowska – Curie Awardee
Teacher, grandmother, consensus builder

I became interested in human medicine when I was in college (before that, I wanted to become a veterinarian). I remember that in reading about medicine as a career, one author said that a potential doctor needed to decide whether he (mostly talking to males) wanted to study medicine or be a physician. I wasn’t sure what the right answer to that question was supposed to be– I just knew that I was fascinated by the study of anatomy and physiology – and I wanted to be a physician. This was at a time that there weren’t many women in medical school and my parents were not certain this was a good field for their only daughter. The only woman physician that my mother knew was single and she felt that if I went into medicine I would be single and lonely; my father kept sending Peace Corps applications so I could think a bit more about an eventual career choice.

At the University of Michigan, where I attended medical school, the administration was proud of the fact that, although there was no quota, 10% of each class (year after year after year….) was female. The hospital at which I did a rotating internship had not had a woman intern for over 20 years and they weren’t quite sure where I was supposed to change clothes for surgery (the solution: the nurses lounge) or where I was supposed to sleep when on call (the solution: the same bunkroom in which the male interns slept). I was fortunate to be able to take a “less than full time residency” (by that time I had young children) although one of the faculty made a point of telling me that I was just wasting my time since I was never going to practice radiology and that I be better off picking out shoes for my kids (!). I only relate these things to point out how far we women in medicine in general and radiology in particular have come. It is now common for most women in residency and practice to have women role models, mentors and friends. We need to continue to help one another, for in that way we will all be able to move forward.

What would be your most important advice to your junior colleagues?

I would encourage all to become active in a radiology organization that fits your interests. By doing so you will meet wonderful friends and feel that you are making a contribution. You can tailor your efforts to the time you have available and are willing to spend. These organizations sustain the radiology community and need volunteers. There is no doubt that most of us have more responsibilities than we have time to fulfill them , but you will reap tremendous benefits if you give a bit of yourself to something larger than your own practice.

What would I do differently if I could do it over?

Not worry so much about the small stuff – because most everything is “small stuff”. . Kids stop sucking their thumbs and don’t take their favorite blankets to college. A difficult day filled with too many images to read, too many people to see and too many errands to run is eventually over. The irritable patient or colleague always finishes his or her tirade. I would remember each day that if one has family and friends, lives in a free nation, and is lucky enough to be healthy – that’s what is important!!

Kay at age four

Kay in 2005

Kay H. Vydareny, MD, FACR is Professor of Radiology at Emory University School of Medicine

Gretchen AW Gooding, MD

1985 President of AAWR
2003 Alice Ettinger Awardee
Professor, radiologist, ultrasonologist

My mother and father having struggled during the Depression, revered education as of prime importance and honored service to others. They enveloped their three children in unstinting love, stability and great expectations. My brother, an investment broker in New York City, and my sister, a dermatologist in Los Angeles, and I took their values to heart.

As the oldest child, I was the first of my family to go to college, to become a physician, a radiologist, a professor, an ultrasonologist, I met my husband, Charles, on the first day of medical school and married him at the end of the four years. He got the money for my engagement ring by having a research cardiac catheterization, so he put his life on the line for me from the beginning. He has been there for me through forty five years of adventures, sharing an academic life, he as a pediatric radiologist and I as an ultrasonologist, constantly renewed by new trainees and new advances, with friends and colleagues in every corner of the world.

That first day of medical school changed my life. After medical school, we moved to Boston, began our family, had a fellowship in Europe for a year, then flew off to San Francisco, where our children thrived and so quickly and mysteriously grew up, left home, to be professionals in their own right ( one, an attorney, one, an interventional radiologist, one, a cross sectional imaging radiologist). Our greatest joy and pleasure has been their presence in our lives along with three bonny grandchildren.

We have been blessed with a long and healthy life and have lived through and enjoyed and been enriched by the golden age of radiology.

What would be your most important advice to your junior colleague?

Family matters most, work is the icing on the cake, opportunities abound, take advantage of what life has to offer.

What do you like most about your current life/career?

That I am Master (mistress) of my Fate, independent, with a perspective about what is important and what is not; That I have direct patient care responsibilities that afford a constant newness to the daily interactions with my patients, my ultrasonographers and my residents; That I can keep learning and expanding my knowledge in a field ever changing.

What are the challenges for the profession?

The lack of salary equity between men and women in society, in medicine and in radiology. The need for greater diversity in Radiology, including in radiologic societies and in their leadership.


Dr. Gooding with her three children in Yosemite when they were growing up:
Gunnar, Justin, Britta

Dr. Gooding with husband, Charles, Professor of Radiology at
UCSF and Chief of Pediatric Radiology, UCSF, taken in Amsterdam, Netherlands

Gretchen AW Gooding, MD is Professor in Residence in the Department of Radiology at the University of California San Francisco

Lynne Steinbach, MD, FACR

1994 President of AAWR
Mother, teacher, mentor

I was born into radiology at the University of California San Francisco on a warm December day. Who knew that I would be working in radiology at that hospital decades later. It is also the site where my father, Howard Steinbach, one of the pre-eminent radiologists in the world in the 1960s and 70s, was a Professor of Radiology. He was a wonderful role model for me with his brilliance, modesty and sense of humor.

I did find it hard to break the glass ceiling upon my entrance into academic radiology. Maternity leave consisted of a three week vacation with one week left for job interviews during the fellowship year. UCSF was a challenging environment for a new mother and the daughter of a high profile radiologist. After a few years, I devoted more time to my career. Working with the AAWR from the beginning in both a local group as well as the national society helped me to understand the problems facing women in a mostly male profession at the time. I learned ways to thrive and increased networking. I also enjoyed lecturing and doing research, writing papers and books. It was an honor to serve as president of AAWR in 1994. The AAWR talent bank, mentoring project, and Research and Education foundation got off the ground that year. We also joined the Academy of Radiology Research, increased corporate sponsorship, and developed a mechanism for members to attend the AAMC Professional Development seminar for junior and senior women faculty, which are now full fledge opportunities provided by the AAWR.

Lynne at RSNA 1997

Lynne during Winter Olympics in
Salt Lake City 2002

Lynne Steinbach, MD is Professor of Clinical Radiology and Orthopedic Surgery at the University of California San Francisco

Peggy J. Fritzsche, MD FACR

1990 President of AAWR
2006 Alice Ettinger Awardee
Blessed, loved, and appreciated

Never underestimate your influence on another person; especially on a younger person. The idea to become a physician was planted when I was eight years old during a conversation with a family friend. The friend said, “Peggy, a girl who gets all A’s can be anything she wants to be. You could grow up to be a doctor.” At that time, I didn’t know what it would require to be “a doctor,” but I was motivated to find out about the necessary steps. In spite of social distractions, my goal to become a doctor remained clear. During medical school I was attracted to radiology as a specialty. The variety and challenge of the rapid changing focus and cutting edge technology intrigued me.

I had the good fortune of having a faithful career mentor, my husband Anton Hasso, MD. He encouraged me to excel in academics, to try new things, and to participate in organized medicine and radiology. Through these endeavors I was able to reposition my career into multiple subspecialties of radiology, including MRI and PET, both of which developed later in my career. I was also able to transition from academics to private practice to my current role as consultant to improve the perception of radiology and medicine to the lay public.

What would be your most important advice to your junior colleague?

Be ready to remove obstacles in your pathway to any position you desire

Carry a ‘can-do’ attitude with you all the time

Create alliances with your colleagues by being inclusive rather than exclusive

Be a good team player

Be quietly confident of your skills and talents; aggressiveness may lead to negative impression of your capabilities



In my acrobatic flying days, red was a favorite color


My feisty little Shiba Inu named Kyushu

Peggy J. Fritzsche, MD, FACR was the medical director of Riverside MRI Center and clinical professor of radiology at Loma Linda University School of Medicine (LLUMC) in California.

Carol M. Rumack, MD, FACR

1982 President of AAWR
2001 Alice Ettinger Awardee
2006 Marie Sklodowska Curie Awardee

Pioneer in pediatric brain ultrasound and textbook editor for a spectacular group of authors, Mentor and nominator of women in radiology to leadership roles, Mother, grandmother and wife, Education expert in GME

When I was growing up, my mother and dad were both doctors and I thought that was the most amazing life to be able to take care of sick people and help them get well.

It did not occur to me that women could not be doctors so at 10 years of age I decided I too would become a doctor. Getting into the University of Chicago for college and into the University of Wisconsin for medical school was competitive but went smoothly. I was one of 5 women in my medical school class of 105. I trained in pediatrics and found pediatric radiology fascinating. I convinced the chair of radiology to accept me into the University of Colorado radiology program as an extra resident as my husband was training in the outstanding pediatric program there that had attracted us both. It was only when I finished training that I realized that being a woman was a major deficit in my applications. One man who had recently moved from the faculty to private practice told me hat his practice did not interview women as “we are not going to hire women anyway” The chair told me that he had hired one woman faculty member and she had committed suicide so he did not want to hire any other women. He discouraged the chair of another hospital who went out on a limb and hired me as a contract faculty for one year. After that first year, I was hired to the regular faculty and have succeeded in being promoted to full professor with tenure during my career. I was of course attracted to the first informal meetings at RSNA and ARRS in 1980 and 1981 of women radiologists who were struggling with career and family issues that were not being addressed by the major radiology organizations.

When I informed my chair in 1981, that I was going to be the first president of the AAWR, he was very supportive of my involvement. When I tried to have a meeting of the women faculty and residents to encourage them to join the AAWR, they were afraid to be identified with a woman’s organization. One of my very senior woman mentors at that time, advised me that it would be unwise to form the AAWR as women’s organizations are seen as inferior. The AAWR steering committee deliberated for a full day at the Drake Hotel during RSNA and decided that we would risk forming this organization. The RSNA Board, executive director, and many chairmen were very supportive right from the very beginning. Those who come to mind were Dr. Ted Tristan, editor of Radiology, Dr. McCort, President of RSNA, Dr. Tom Harle, chair of the RSNA program committee and Dr. Hauser, chair of the Refresher course committee. Dr. Helen Redman, organizer of these first meetings became RSNA Program chair by Dr. Harle’s nomination.

These experiences have led me to understand that you need to search for mentors and advisors from every level of your life and career and to look beyond your own institution for inspiration.

What has changed about your career and self-perception since you were younger?

When I was younger, I was a fascinated by ultrasound and loved finding new things to study and publish. These issues still fascinate me but now I try to give great cases to the chief residents for teaching, to junior faculty to experience and save cases to illustrate these concepts in a textbook now in its 3 rd edition. I spend more time in administrative leadership roles advising others how to be successful. I try to be more self aware of my own strengths and weaknesses and find experts in leadership and mentoring to help me become better at my goals. At this point, I am thinking in terms of what legacy would I like to leave for women in medicine and radiology specifically.

If you could go back and speak to your younger self, what piece of wisdom would you share?

Be patient.
If you are trying to make political change, you will have to convince a lot of other people to agree with you and that takes time. Don’t try to introduce new ideas in a public forum but convince people in private of your ideas so that no one is seen as disagreeable in public and may be polarized against you.

Find the major goal and let the little losses not bother you.
Persistence is the key as if your idea is good it will eventually become clear to everyone particularly if you have data to back it up.

Don’t give up on your scientific ideas when they are rejected by journals.
As a pioneer, you are introducing ideas that are new and not readily accepted. Revise and send it back again to that journal, that organization or that grant.

What would be your most important advice to your junior colleague?

Find colleagues outside of your department that understand your university or private practice group. Talk to them about issues in general to see how they would handle your problems; don’t complain about personalities, focus on the issues and you will be more successful. Join the major radiology organizations – AAWR, ACR and RSNA - to find colleagues outside of your university or hospital that work in the same specialty, preferably in another state, that are not in competition with you for promotion. They are facing similar challenges but are more able to see your problems and help you with solutions that have worked for them.

What do you like most about your current life/career?

I love mentoring residents and faculty and seeing them grow and succeed.

What do you hate most about your current career but can laugh about anyway?

I don’t have enough hours in the day to do everything that fascinates me at home and at work. But I love to be busy so it does not worry me except that I know I need to take breaks such as hiking with my husband and relaxing with my children and grandchildren.

Who or what had the biggest influence on how you view yourself?

My mother and dad were always very positive about what I wanted to do. They encouraged me to be a doctor or anything else that I had a passion to do.

My husband has been my best friend and advisor since he is always ahead of me in my career. As a pediatrician and fellow scientist, he has always had great insight. Early on in my frustration he encouraged me to realize that if others see you as a woman as inferior that it only works if you accept their view of you. There were many other wonderful mentors in my life. My chair, Bill Hendee, encouraged me to be president of AAWR and introduced me to his book publisher who published my first book on brain ultrasound and
CT.

When did you realize you were interested in radiology career?

After my pediatric internship at the University of Maryland, I decided to finish my pediatric training when we were back in Denver, I elected to spend a year at Johns Hopkins with John Dorst, pediatric radiologist par excellence and his wonderful colleagues, Mike Weller and Dick Heller, pediatric radiologist at Vanderbilt now. They were so enthusiastic and enjoyed so much the pediatric patients and residents, loved to teach and convinced me that I too would love to do it. John Dorst and Victor McKusick had a weekly clinic for patients who were extremely short, called Dwarfing Syndromes at that time. They would discuss those patients with great respect, showed them xrays of their bones and explained their problems to the patients and students or residents. It was an honor to see John Dorst describing multiple syndromes and defining separate diseases – prior to most having a known gene focus. He was an honorary member of the Little People of America and that approach to medicine including the whole person’s disease and life has been an inspiration to me.

AAWR’s first executive committee: Carol Rumack - president, Linda Fahr - vice president and Kay Shaffer - secretary treasurer

“Spending time with family is one of the greatest pleasures in my life!”

Carol M. Rumack, MD, FACR is Professor of Radiology and Pediatrics, Associate Dean for Graduate Medical Education, at the University of Colorado Health Science Center

Sandra K Fernbach, MD

1988 President of AAWR
Mother, Teacher, Friend

I was involved with the AAWR in “the early years”, when membership rosters were small and kept by hand, in folders in our desks. When the Focus was so new it didn’t have a name.

There were fewer choices for women in radiology. Part time work was scarce. Childcare had to be individually arranged. Certain subspecialties had few women and few women were encouraged to enter these: neuroradiology and interventional radiology.

We wondered if there was a need for such and organization as the AAWR and considered the possibility that, if we were very successful, the need for the AAWR would disappear.

How wrong we were!

The need for mentoring, networking, and advancing work related issues has persisted. The courses that we have organized for the annual RSNA have added to our voice. The women we have given awards to, for their years of service, have well deserved the recognition. The residents we honor each year continue our promise that women will be an important force within radiology. We should rejoice!

What has changed about your career and self perceptions since you were younger?

I am much more interested in the service side of my career than I was when I was younger. In the early years, the need to achieve some degree of academic success meant that there was much more time and energy spent finding interesting cases, devising meaningful projects, developing productive collaborations. While I always enjoyed patient care but it always seemed secondary to the peer-reviewed side of life. I was, in capital letters, a PEDIATRIC RADIOLOGIST.

At about the age of fifty, as I saw my parents age and friends deal with serious illness, I had a “Peggy Lee” moment. I wondered “Is that all there is?” I switched jobs, became a part time salaried employee, took on some responsibility for adult patients. While I still do many pediatric studies each day, I also guide adults, many elderly and as frail as the preemies through their fluoroscopies. I consciously take more time with family members, caregivers, and staff; it is a most satisfying change.

The free time that comes with part time employment is also a boon. More time to do things that I enjoy, which may vary with the season and what’s happening in Chicago: a realization that each time slot does not have to be stuffed full.

What would be your most important advice to your junior colleague?

I would suggest that they enjoy their children’s youth as this time passes quickly and many career goals can be achieved later. I would let them know that one can be a good clinician, a good teacher, a good researcher but that no one has to excel in all areas or at least do it all at the same time. Each person should find the part of the job that she can enjoy while doing it well.


Sandra Fernbach AAWR President in 1988


Dolphin Connection at Hawk's Cay Resort

Sandra K Fernbach, MD is Professor of Radiology at Evanston Northwestern Healthcare in Illinois.

Melissa L. Rosado de Christenson, MD, FACR

1998 President of AAWR,
2004 Marie Sklodowska-Curie Awardee
Wife, Mother, Educator

I was born in Puerto Rico, the only child of a civil engineer and a housewife who always emphasized the importance of education and self-improvement. I attended high school in Puerto Rico, where I acquired the necessary skills to pursue higher education in the United States. I was one of the first 100 women to enroll in The Johns Hopkins University, and a member of the charter class of the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences. I graduated from medical school, was commissioned a Captain in the United States Air Force and married Dr. Paul J. Christenson all on the same weekend. I completed my radiology residency at the George Washington University Medical Center.

My first duty station as a radiologist was at the 13 th Air Force Medical Center in the Philippines where my husband and I became parents to our children, Jon, Jennifer and Heather. After four years overseas, I became the first woman faculty member of the Department of Radiologic Pathology at the AFIP and later the first woman and Air Force officer ever to serve as the department’s chairman and registrar. At the AFIP, I became an educator and have trained over 18,000 radiology residents over the course of 18 years. I began serving in the AAWR in 1993 and became its first military president in 1998. I am blessed with a beautiful family, the ability to practice a specialty I love and the privilege of continuing to train residents at the Ohio State University.

What would be your most important advice to your junior colleagues?

I truly believe that success and achievement have one common denominator… hard work. I would give my junior colleagues the same advice I give my children. Come to work “ready to play”. Develop a work ethic that is characterized by always giving the very best effort to every aspect of the job. Compete against yourself and not against others. Do the very best that you can do. My accomplishments can all be traced to my ability to work hard. I succeeded where others failed, simply because I took the job seriously and gave it my very best effort.

Look around you. In every walk of life there are outstanding and mediocre performers. I believe that in most cases, the outstanding performers simply took the job seriously, did it to the very best of their abilities, and took pride on and rejoiced with each accomplishment, no matter how small.

When did you realize you were interested in a radiology career?

I was privileged to attend the Charter Class of the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences (USUHS). The early leaders of the then new military medical school understood the importance of diagnostic imaging in medical training. My medical school offered a one-year course in diagnostic radiology during the second year of training taught by the faculty of the Department of Radiologic Pathology at the AFIP. I was exposed to outstanding educators such as David Hartman, John Madewell and Joel Lichtenstein during my second year of medical school and decided to become a radiologist. How could I choose any other specialty? There were 28 members of the Charter Class of USUHS. I received immense encouragement and support from the USUHS radiology faculty when I announced my intention to pursue radiology. I was the only military resident selected for civilian training the year I started my residency. I received excellent training and continue to learn each day from my colleagues, my residents and my students. If I had to do it all over again, I would again embrace diagnostic radiology as my specialty.


Dr. Rosado de Christenson is promoted to Colonel in the United States Air Force in 1998.
Paul J. Christenson, CAPT, MC, USN (left), her husband and Michael J. Dickerson, Col, USAF, MC (right),
the AFIP Director, pinned on the Colonel insignia during the ceremony.

Girls’ Night Out: Dr. Rosado de Christenson celebrated her 50th birthday with
a girls’ night out with daughters Jennifer (left) and Heather Christenson (right).

Melissa L. Rosado de Christenson, MD, FACR is a clinical professor of radiology at UMKC School of Medicine

Linda Meyers Fahr, MD, FACR

1983 President of AAWR

Who had the biggest influence on your career?

The greatest influence upon my professional career was my father who frequently said to me “there isn’t anything a boy can do that a girl can’t do just as well”. Of course, I believed him and went on to become the first girl on the high school debate team, the first female radiology resident at the University of Iowa, and the first female president of the Houston Radiological Society.

My initial encounter with reality was not until my first radiology job interview when I was told “my wife will not let me hire you”. So, I began my career at the VA in Houston. Seven job locations later, I look back to see that I was department head at four of seven locations, beginning three years after residency. Being involved with the AAWR as a founding Vice President was a great opportunity for me to learn about other women’s professional experiences. Teaching residents at Loma Linda and Baylor were probably my two most rewarding positions. As my friend, Dr. Anne Hayman, says “you really have to understand something to explain it to others”. I really learned radiology best by teaching residents.

I am proud of my two sons, ages 36 and 38, with their PhDs in chemistry (pharmaceutical) and economics. My grandsons are ages 3 and 6 years. Recently I have begun to look forward to retirement and learning a lot of new things. It has been a great life!

I would like to acknowledge the tremendous support I have received over the last 26 years from my husband James D. Watson.

Linda M. Fahr vice-president of AAWR in 1982

From left to right: Linda Fahr, B.J, Uncle John, Jimmy and father Bruce.
As most women will tell you that in spite of any professional achievements
my sons and grandsons are the love of my life.

Linda M. Fahr, MD, FACR from Medical Clinic of Houston, TX.

Karen L. Reuter, MD, FACR

1993 President of AAWR
Conscientious, wife, mother

Medicine has been a life-long interest. In grade school I chose books for reports on the history of medicine and biographies of health care professionals such as Clara Barton. Television shows such as Dr. Kildare, Ben Casey and Frontier Doctor were entertainments I enjoyed.

As with many of my college contemporaries I first prepared for a career in teaching, in my case, biology in high school. After embarking on this path, immediately adding genetics to the preplanned teaching curriculum, and teaching high school for one year I completed a masters program in biology and then medical school. It was the training to become a physician which was my most satisfying endeavor; I knew early on in medical school I had made the correct decision. Currently I am a Professor of Radiology through Tufts Medical School. To show my appreciation for my medical training at Tufts I am an active alumna of my class and serve on the Alumni Council for the School.


Karen L Reuter at a high-school reunion event in 2002

At Tufts Medical School graduation in 1972 with husband John

Karen L Reuter, MD, FACR is Professor in the Department of Radiology at Lahey Clinic Medical Center

Sarah S. Donaldson, MD, FACR

1998 Marie Sklodowska-Curie Awardee

Clinician, mentor, role model

“Why can’t you?” he asked, after I asserted that I couldn’t go to medical school because:

1) “I’m a girl;
2) I’m too old;
3) I don’t have enough money;
4) I’m not smart enough”.

To these preconceived notions, my employer, William S. Fletcher, M.D., replied:

1) “ Dartmouth Medical School is looking for women”.

This was true, as the Trustees had just announced their decision to admit women into their all male institution.

2) “10 years from now you’ll be 10 years older, whether or not you go to medical school”.

This seemed too obvious for a comment.

3) “You can apply for a scholarship or a loan”.

In fact, in the mid 1960’s, financial aid was not difficult to secure.

4) “If you think you are more qualified than the Admissions Committee to determine ones suitability as a student, you probably shouldn’t be one”.

To this I quickly learned to listen rather than to debate my superiors.

Having a supportive, and successful mentor was my good fortune. Dr. Fletcher gave me my first job after my graduation from nursing school. He became my mentor, soul mate, and enduring friend. Recognizing that Dr. Fletcher was behind my own successes every step of the way influenced me to do the same for those students, residents, and junior faculty I might encounter along my journey.

My advice to other women is to be prepared, so that you, too, will be ready to walk through the door, when it opens for you. Set your goals high, stay focused, and work hard. Quite honestly I can say I have no regrets in life. I am most grateful for the opportunities and experiences which began to unfold when I realized the answer to his question was “I can”.

Spring 1961, senior student nurse at University of  Oregon Nursing School, Portland,  Oregon                                                                                                                                               

2006, Professor, Associate Chair and Program Director, 
Department of Radiation Oncology, Stanford University

Sarah S. Donaldson, MD, FACR is Professor, Associate Chair and Program Director in the Department of Radiation Oncology at Stanford University.

Linda K. Olson, MD, FACR

1991 Marie Sklodowska - Curie Awardee
Teacher, adventuresome, determined

I’ve spent my entire career in one place with the perfect position for my interests and skills. I arrived at UCSD in an era when the pace allowed my “elders” to provide guidance and support and when my performance evaluations were dependant on teaching and clinical productivity. My mentors were people like Drs. George Leopold, Bob Berk, Elliott Lasser, Lee Talner, Jack Forrest, Paul Friedman and Barbara Gosink. They made the workplace a fun and challenging place to be.

In addition, since we‘ve attracted top-notch residents over the years, I’ve had the privilege and pleasure of working with the future leaders of our profession. The residents not only entertained me but also taught me things that I’d never have learned on my own. For example, ten years ago I didn’t know how to turn on a computer. Because of their know-how and patience, I’ve successfully entered the PACs era and thanks to them will hopefully extend my career for many more years because of these skills.

Who had the biggest influence on your career?

My radiologic mentor says that he is my “Radiologic Father” and he is right. Thirty-one years ago Dr. Ike Sanders showed me that a radiologist could be an integral part of the medical team. My vivid memory of him is watching him look at a series of films in his office, telephone in hand, discussing the case with the referring doc and a gaggle of residents and students hovering over him hoping to see the findings on the film. I’m grateful to his rambunctious, entertaining, demanding and compassionate teaching of the practice of Radiology.

The other equally important influence on my career has been my husband, Dr. David Hodgens. Two years after we were married I lost both my legs and one arm in an accident. The first thing he said to me in the ICU was “I didn’t marry your arms and your legs. If you can do it, I can do it.” And boy did he ever “do it.” While maintaining a busy full-time Radiation Oncology practice, he supported my having a full-time academic radiology job and a family. Because of my disability, he often did the physical work at home of two adults so that we could always have a good time. He taught me how to use each other’s strengths, how to confront situations head-on, and how to keep work and home separate as much as possible. I can’t count the times he listened to me practice a lecture and give me constructive criticism. In addition we’ve lived more outdoor adventures than most people ever even dream of. So the picture I chose for inclusion of the 25 th AAWR celebration is a picture of Dave carrying me up the trail to Nevada Falls in Yosemite National Park. I think it typifies our wonderful journey through life together. Thank you Dave.

What would be your most important advice to your junior colleague?

Maintain the highest standards of work quality, efficiency, and teamwork so that your colleagues never feel that they are making up for you or that having a woman means having someone who doesn’t work as hard as everyone else. Remember the 3 A’s: accessibility, affability, ability, especially in the PACs era. Make yourself an indispensable part of the health care team in your hospital.

                      

Linda K. Olson in 2004                              


Linda K. Olson with husband, Yosemite 1995

Linda K. Olson, M D FACR is Professor of Clinical Radiology at the University of California San Diego

Barbara L Carter, MD, FACR

1999 Alice Ettinger Awardee
Author, sailor

Academic radiology is a most rewarding career, especially if one can be at the right time in the right place. As a young, enthusiastic radiologist, I tried keeping up with the newer techniques such as introducing CO2 into the retroperitoneum for the evaluation of the adrenal glands, injecting CO2 into the peritoneal cavity for the visualization of the uterus and ovaries, and IV administration of CO2 in detecting pericardial fluid, etc.

When CT scanning was introduced, I was given the opportunity to be one of the early body scanners, Doing a CT scan on patients prior to an autopsy made it possible to understand what we were looking at. During this evaluation, some hazards occurred - such as keeping the body in the office overnight for further study the next day, My colleague, Steven Hammerschlag, a neuroradiologist was dismayed when the night watchman found it and made an emergency call to the hospital administrator who was attending a meeting in Chicago. This caused a bit of an uproar. Considerable anxiety was created when we were correlating body images with frozen sections made by our anatomist. These sections were x-rayed in our department across the street, which were conveyed on trays obtained from the dinning room. Potholes in the street caused a spillage of the frozen sections which was of concern because traffic was going by - possibly conveying a policeman or a reporter. It was not prudent at that time to be throwing body sections into the street. Despite these an other incidents it was a fascinating time to actually see the pancreas, liver, kidneys, uterus, ovaries, heart chambers, brain, even ossicles in the middle ear. It was a fascinating, exciting time and a unique opportunity to teach residents and students and to be able to share all of the findings with our colleagues here in Boston and around the country. I was the able to present our findings to ENT radiologists in Europe at an international meeting, many of whom had not heard about or knew very little about CT scanning. What a wonderful specialty - Radiology!

         

Barbara L Carter in 1947                                                    

Barbara L Carter

Barbara L. Carter MD, FACR is Professor of Radiology and Otolaryngology at Tufts University College of Medicine and Chief of ENT Radiology at Tufts-New England Medical Center

B.J. Manaster, MD, PhD

1996 President of AAWR
Mom, educator, seamstress

For me, it seemed as though the AAWR was always there. I may have been one of the first woman radiologists in this group to have arrived on the scene when the “bad old days” of job discrimination seemed behind us. While we all still experienced the occasional misogynist (or misguided) statements (“what will we do when you go and get pregnant?”), jobs were plentiful and salaries usually not discriminatory. Promotion was fully expected on the basis of productivity and academic time was provided.

We women started to contemplate not only working with the men, but actually running the show. This is where the AAWR helped me tremendously. Networking led to advice from various wise women, and new recommendations for “must reads”. Pat Heim’s wonderful book Hardball for Women became our bible, and we started deliberately taking up space, sitting at the head of the table and expecting to be heard. This is something no one of us could have done alone, but look at the results! Radiology has grown and prospered, in no small measure because of the women contributing their ideas and energy to the field. Most of those leaders are right here with us in this great organization, and I thank my colleagues for their wisdom and encouragement.

If you could go back and speak to your younger self, what piece of wisdom would you share?

This is probably quite standard; I finally realized that while I may have the “right” answers, particularly in an administrative realm, that is less than half the battle. While it is great to bring fresh perspectives, quantitative analysis, and creativity to the table, it is even more important to find a way to bring colleagues to consensus and active support of an idea. These two aspects of management have been suggested as “male” and “female” traits respectively. While I was very good at the male portion, I needed help with the female (consensus) portion. I think I’ve become more even-handed and less polarizing with age and maturity, but it would have made my life and work easier to discover it earlier!

What do you like most about your current life/career?

I have moved back into a primarily educator role. Lecturing, and organizing books and web products about my subspecialty, is what I do best. I now have the time to do this well, which is exceedingly pleasing to me.

B.J. Manaster with husband                                                            

“Hanging out with my family in the great outdoors: the most important thing
I can ever do."

BJ Manaster, MD, PhD is Professor and Vice Chairman in the Department of Radiology at the University of Colorado Denver & Health Sciences Center

M. Ines Boechat, MD, FACR

2000 President of AAWR
Pediatric radiologist, wife and mother

Ines Boechat, MD, FACR was AAWR president in 2000. Originally from Brazil, she trained in Pediatric Radiology at Boston’s Children’s Hospital Medical Center under the mentoring of John Kirkpatrick. She moved to the USA in 1981, after marrying Vicente Gilsanz, MD, whom she originally met in Boston. They have three children – Paola, Diego and Monica, source of great pleasure and pride. She enjoys traveling and the exchange of experiences with colleagues of other countries.

Dr. Boechat has practiced at UCLA since 1982, where she is a Professor of Radiology and Pediatrics, Chief of Pediatric Imaging and Director of the Pediatric Radiology Fellowship Program. She is currently the First Vice President of the Society for Pediatric Radiology, and President of the SPR Research and Education Foundation. Over the years, she witnessed not only a dramatic change in the field of imaging, but also the increasing number of women entering Medical Schools. One of her most important professional and personal objectives is to ensure gender equity in medicine and she finds the AAWR to be one of the best organizations to support and advance it.

What would be your most important advice to your junior colleague?

“Practice in the area that you enjoy the most; be conscious of your value as a member of the group and advocate for it.”

Ines Boechat was AAWR president in 2000

M. Ines Boechat , MD , FACR is Professor and Chief of pediatric radiology at UCLA

Katarzyna J. Macura, MD, PhD

2005 President of AAWR
Wife and mother, teacher, researcher

I earned both MD and PhD degrees from the Medical University of Lodz in Poland. While a medical student, thanks to my husband, I discovered Medical Informatics. I emigrated to the US to launch a successful career in Medicine and Informatics. When I arrived in the US with two small children, nothing seemed to be easy, a new language, a new life style, and new challenges. But suddenly everything became possible. I focused on proving myself, breaking the language barrier, and advertising my talents. Thanks to serendipity, I discovered Radiology. Thanks to hard work, I advanced in both Informatics and Radiology, and all along I was able to raise two wonderful sons. Thanks to my family, I am able to maintain my happiness. Thanks to challenging and stimulating work in academia, I maintain my professional satisfaction.

The AAWR has contributed to my professional growth in many ways. I joined the AAWR as a first year radiology resident. Early on I became actively involved in the development of the AAWR web site. As an editor of the web site I learned to manage online publishing and most importantly I became immersed in the history of the AAWR. My work for the society led to my nomination to the Executive Board, and subsequently to the honor of becoming the 24 th President of the AAWR. I am grateful to the society for giving me a forum for the expression of my talents and for encouraging my personal growth. The skills that I learned through my service will stay with me for years to come, as I advance my academic career and make further contributions to organized Radiology. Thank you AAWR!

What do you like most about your current life/career?

My work as an academic radiologist is challenging and stimulating, and I can make a difference as a teacher, doctor, and researcher. My most cherished moments at work include residents’ and fellows’ appreciation for educating them, patients’ gratitude for being a physician who listens and cares, and those days when I make progress in research experiments and get recognition for my work.

What would be your most important advice to your junior colleague?

Do not get discouraged when a failure comes your way. Just re-assess the problem, prepare new strategy and try again. We learn from mistakes and failures, we gain experience, we grow stronger and one can only get better. Remember to reach for the moon; even if you miss, you will land among the stars.


In 2005, I received the “Outstanding Teacher Award” from residents from the Johns Hopkins Radiology Department. I am surrounded by my residents graduating class in June 2005

My family is my oasis; with husband Robert and sons Tomasz and Wiktor in Baltimore Inner Harbor, Summer 2006

Katarzyna J. Macura, MD, PhD is Assistant Professor in the Russell L. Morgan Department of Radiology at the Johns Hopkins University. Her specialty is cross-sectional body imaging.

Ewa Kuligowska-Noble, MD, FACR

2004 President of AAWR

Teacher, Researcher in the field of Minimally Invasive Radiological Procedures, International advocate for the AAWR

I arrived in the United States at the age of 34, following my ex-husband, with no knowledge of English, no money and without my two children who were being held hostage in communist Poland. It took five years to become Board certified again, this time in the U.S.A., to smuggle my children to this country and start my second academic career in Radiology. Over the years, I was promoted to Chief of Ultrasound, Body Imaging and Professor of Radiology. With my present husband and best friend of the last 28 years, John Noble, M.D., I have had the joy of raising our five boys.

Throughout my career, I have focused my efforts on the younger generation as a teacher and tried to be a role model. I have encouraged women in medical school to choose Radiology as a career and women in residency to pursue academic careers. As a result, I was awarded Teacher of the Year in Warsaw and twice at Boston University School of Medicine.

Recognizing the deficiency of up to date training of medical students and residents in Poland and other countries emerging from communism, I started a Polish American Foundation and have trained 57 young radiologists who are now becoming leaders of Radiology in Poland and Eastern Europe. I was awarded the “Polonia Semper Fidelis Award” by the Polish Academy of Science for this work in 1996.

I have introduced AAWR and its mission to the European Congress of Radiology over the past five years by sponsoring an AAWR booth, giving papers and Chairing sessions at the ECR meetings.

What would be your most important advice to your junior colleague?

At this stage of my career, looking retrospectively on my life, I would like to send a message to young female radiologists.

“Build your careers around the aspects of Radiology that most interest you”.

“Be a mentor for the younger generation of radiologists, guide them through their labyrinth of career decisions”.

“Most importantly, achieve a balance between career success and a fulfilling, happy personal life”.



Dr. Kuligowska with international fellows

Family vacation in 1990

Ewa Kuligowska-Noble, MD, FACR is Professor of Radiology at Boston University School of Medicine

Kimberly E. Applegate, MD, MS, FACR

2003 President of AAWR
Advocate, Intensely curious, Intuitive

The 2003 presidential year was a wonderful and fulfilling experience, but not without a few challenges. We had a third management contract negotiation during the year, having moved from the ACR a few years prior to RSNA, IMM and finally a new administrative assistant with IMM. Consequently, some of our institutional memory was lost and we worked very hard to improve the organizational structure with more information on our website and creation of a leadership ladder structure. Melissa R. de Christianson created a fantastic 20 th anniversary FOCUS newsletter and we updated the Survival Guide for Women Radiologists with a second edition. We continued to support the RSNA’s annual meeting (a) lactation rooms and (b) child care program provided by Accent on Childcare Arrangements. Organizationally, we created a History Committee chaired by Dr. Ann Lewicki, a Past Presidents Circle chaired by Teresita Angtuaco and split the Finance and Strategic Planning Committee into two separate ones. We created web-based exhibits on the career of Lucy Frank Squire and augmented the Marie Curie electronic exhibit. Finally, every woman chair of an academic radiology department was invited and agreed to become a member of the AAWR.

Why did you choose radiology?

When I applied to medical school, I had planned to become an internal medicine physician. I did not know much about specialties in medicine, only about primary care and obstetrics. In the 3 rd year of med school, we rotated on the 6 core rotations: medicine, surgery, OB/GYN, family practice, psychiatry, and pediatrics. I found myself acting as the 'gopher', going and getting the lab, path, and radiology results. I most enjoyed taking a chest radiograph to the radiologist and he could tell me so many things about my patient! It was amazing to me.

Perhaps, growing up watching the original Star Trek television series was also an influence. I had been intrigued by the doctor who could do so much without the need for surgery. It fit my ideal of medicine: to do more with less (pain and invasion of the patient).

What attracted you to pediatric radiology as a subspecialty?

Later, while training in diagnostic radiology, I spent 3 months at a children's hospital. The radiologists there were just outstanding physicians. They were not only experts in their field, they could quote the literature as evidence for why they interpreted an imaging test as they did. They consulted the referring clinical doctor and proactively suggested a different diagnosis or an alternative test. Finally, they discussed the tests they performed on patients and provided results directly to the patient's families. Yes, radiologists talked to patients and their families! I watched these superb individuals work so respectfully together as a group; they clearly loved what they did. I was hooked.

Why did you choose academic medicine?

The short answer is: Curiosity killed the cat. Much of what drives me to learn and try to do my work better, is curiosity. I love learning; I love helping others and this career allows me to do both. The academic environment also allows me to do research to improve the care of children, to share what I know, and learn from others, and to be a part of policymaking.

What kinds of stresses do you encounter in your job?

There are many. First, there is the constant fast-paced clinical work. Second, there is the pressure to do more service for the institution and many national committees and organizations. Third, there is my desire to do research. These different aspects of my work compete for my time. And they take time away from my family. It seems that there is never the right balance between work and personal/family time.

What challenges have you encountered from being a woman in the medical profession?

There have been many. At first, the challenges were obvious and sometimes seemed ridiculous: Being paid less than my colleague because he had purchased a new house and had 2 kids to support. Being told in medical school that I needed to act more paternal and less maternal. Jokes in poor taste that were told by male residents or staff at the expense of women; unwanted advances by surgeons in the operating room. As I have gotten older, the challenges are more subtle, but equally effective in providing barriers to achieving one’s career goals. Perhaps most important, the differences in how women communicate as compared to men, have an impact on the respect and advancement of women in medicine. Being heard and acknowledged as an equal (never a better physician) is still unusual. Perhaps in a few specialties with a majority of women it occurs: obstetrics and pediatrics.

How do you balance your busy schedule with your home life?

That is a moving target; there are times when my family needs special time and times when things are going along smoothly; I liken it to a bit of a roller coaster. The most important thing that makes my life work well is my husband: if he were not supportive of what I do and believe that what I do is important, it would never work. We are both academic physicians with professional goals. Yet, we share the many responsibilities of the home and our 3 children. It can get rather crazy at times and it requires a lot of juggling, patience, extreme organization, and hard work, but I would not want it any other way. I also look for support from my friends and colleagues who understand our lifestyle; too many people criticize it and I have learned to ignore them.

What are some of the typical things you do in a day's work?

Typical: read plain radiographs and ultrasound exams all day; work with residents; talk with families of children who are having imaging tests (to both ask them what is going on with the child and to report our test findings to them, decreasing their anxiety); meeting with a research colleague to discuss problems or results of the project; signing reports; always doing some sort of committee work. The day flies by and I always hope to learn something new or re-learn something I have forgotten!

What are some of the best and worst moments of your career?

Best moments: achieving positive change that those in positions of power flat out stated could not be done. It is like David beating Goliath. Examples are the work I did in a mission hospital in Nepal; working within organized radiology societies to make it (a) more friendly toward women and (b) more public health oriented; supporting a colleague when it was terribly unpopular but it was the right thing to do; competing successfully for awards and grants.

What I cherish is the wish for us all to succeed in our professional and personal goals; in order to do that, we need to work together in the AAWR community of women. One of the best books I can recommend toward this philosophy is ‘She wins, you win: the most important rule every [business]women needs to know’ by Gail Evans, the first women executive vice president of CNN.

Worst moments: finding myself unable to communicate in a positive way with my colleagues.

What kind of changes have you seen in the medical profession in recent years?

There have been so many and so rapid that it is astonishing. The apprenticeship model was in full force when I was a med student and resident; I see med students as students now and much less involved in the PRACTICE of medicine. I am concerned that there will be less 'ownership' of medicine by younger physicians. There will certainly be less research by the next generation of physicians (it will be done by PhDs, not MDs).

The fast pace is difficult to sustain; limits the teaching; limits the communication with other med specialties; limits the time to learn new things and talk to patients; academic medicine is in crisis and I liken the feeling I have to a vacuum effect: private practice's lifestyle and money are pulling physicians away.

There are generational attitudinal differences in how we spend our time. The younger physicians are much better at protecting their time and less willing to invest their time and energy in their career when compared to older physicians. They also want to be paid more (but may have more debt than older physicians). Perhaps these differences are healthy, especially the demand to either work part-time or more available childcare.

What advice would you give to a young woman today headed toward a career in radiology?

The short answer: Go for it. Just do it!

The longer answer: There is no richer, more multi-faceted, and rewarding work than radiology. Please talk to people to find out what it is like and what the different options are both locally and nationally. Visit web sites for different specialties. We are proud to have a great web site at: www.aawr.org. We have added an exhibit on Marie Curie for school children to understand her life and the many barriers women faced in her time. While we have come a long way since then, we also have along way to go to promote equal opportunity for all people in medicine and radiology. Please see the MIT web site (search under 'Nancy Hopkins') and the recent Nature article by Ben Barres for detailed and fascinating discussions on the barriers to women in science.

Finally, remember to say a quiet thank you to those women who made the way easier for those who now follow. They sacrificed much to gain a MD degree and I have listened to many stories that would astonish young women today.


Dr. Applegate


Dr. Applegate with family in Malaysia

Kimberly E. Applegate, MD, MS, FACR is Vice Chair for Quality and Safety in the Department of Radiology at Emory University School of Medicine

Teresita L. Angtuaco, MD, FACR

1999 President of AAWR
Mother, teacher, mentor

I still remember the first time I heard of the AAWR. It was at the ARRS meeting in San Francisco in 1981. Dr. Wilma Diner who was then our program director and a mentor to me mentioned that she attended this organizational meeting and told me that I should join the AAWR. She told me that the stories that the women radiologists told at this meeting were pretty compelling and she could not believe how women radiologists are treated out in the real world. I did not quite appreciate this at that time. I only remember thinking that we really do not need another organization. I figured that a subcommittee or a branch of an existing radiology organization should suffice. I declined her invitation to join at that time but she said that if I had $25.00 to spend for membership, she thought it would be money well spent. In subsequent years, I found myself involved with maternity issues among residents and junior staff. The AAWR meetings seemed an ideal forum to discuss these issues and I became more and more enthusiastic about joining. I also felt very welcome whenever I attended the AAWR meetings. I distinctly remember Kay Vydareny, Carol Rumack and Anita Price who were very active in the organization at that time and very interested in hearing stories like mine. Dee Anderson in fact wrote me a very nice letter thanking me for my input in the discussions at the meeting. I knew then I had found my niche. I never missed an AAWR meeting at the RSNA or ARRS since I joined.

In 1999 I became president of the AAWR. In the same year, my husband got sick and had to spend 6 months therapy at MD Anderson Cancer Center. I entertained the thought of giving up my presidency to attend to my husband but I found that getting involved in the AAWR activities helped keep my focus and balance during those tough times. I continued to conduct AAWR business at the ACR, ARRS and RSNA meetings as a form of “therapy”. The overwhelming support of the executive committee members through their E-mails was precious. Most of all, having Ritsuko Komaki as my husband’s radiation oncologist was a direct result of my AAWR involvement. It made all the difference in the world to have someone like her in such a situation. I know my husband felt very fortunate to have her taking care of us.

I have witnessed how the AAWR has progressed through the years. Adele Swenson once told me that when the AAWR was first organized, she was among those who hoped that it would only be a temporary organization and women radiologists will no longer need the AAWR after a few years since the AAWR would soon reach the goals for which the organization was founded. When I became president, I told Adele that the AAWR was as strong and as needed as ever and that we are going to be around for as long as there are women radiologists. It has been six years and I still believe this to be the case.

As we celebrate 25 years of existence I cannot help but reflect with gratefulness at what the AAWR has been to me and a lot of other women radiologists. A lot of new acquaintances I have met in this organization have become friends. I never hesitate to pick up the phone and call for help or support whenever I need them. I rejoice in the successes of other women in radiology. The AAWR has not only become a symbol of how long we have come in this profession. It is a source of strength and pride. I may move on to other new horizons and get involved in other organizations but I will always be an AAWR member.

 "1993-As an Associate Professor of Radiology, Obstetrics and Gynecology, juggling life with an 11 year old daughter, 13 year old son and the pressures of academia, these were the busiest and most rewarding years of my life."

"2006 - At the height of my career, I have achieved almost everything I could hope to achieve in academia. Professorships in 4 departments (Radiology, Ob/Gyn, Imaging and Radiation Sciences, Health Policy and Management) in three colleges (Medicine, Public Health and Health Related Professions) have brought new challenges. With both of my children married by the end of the end of the year, and an 18 month old granddaughter to spoil, I have morphed from "achieving" to "mentoring" and guiding future generations. I am truly enjoying the fruits of my past efforts and I feel truly blessed and grateful."

Teresita L. Angtuaco, MD, FACR is Professor of Radiology at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences.