The Society of Interventional Radiology (SIR) Women in IR section has launched the Women in IR Champion Award to recognise an individual who has consistently made a significant contribution to the advancement of women in interventional radiology (IR). The award will be presented each year at the society’s annual meeting, with the first honouree receiving the award at the 2020 Annual Scientific Meeting (28 March–2 April, Seattle, USA).
According to the SIR website, the significant contribution towards women in IR can be in “sponsorship, mentorship, teaching, promotion, advocacy, and recruitment”. The nominee must be a member of SIR for at least 10 years after completing their training, and must be an actively practicing interventional radiologist.
Calls for nominees opened on 9 September 2019, and will be conducted through to 31 October 2019. Individuals can self-nominate or be nominated by a peer. The SIR website details that all nominations must be accompanied by two letters of support (three if it is a self-nomination) outlining how the nominee has contributed to the advancement of women in IR and a copy of the nominee’s CV.
Aneesa Majid, an interventional radiologist based in Chicago, USA, and founder and president of No Limits Radiology, expands on why she believes this award is so important: “Currently, approximately 8% of interventional radiologists are women. While we have had amazing women interventional radiologists achieve great things and lead the society, we are still a minority. Advancement requires advocacy, and recognising those who promote women in IR is important in helping to grow the community of IR to be more inclusive of women interventionalists.”
Majid also tells this newspaper why this award is timely: “Gender equality in the workplace is the topic now, and the focus of gender equality in medicine is front and centre in the discussion. There is not a day that goes by on social media and #medtwitter where this topic is not discussed. It is important for us to join that conversation and highlight those who are active in working to achieve that equality within our field.”
The future of interventional radiology will be more gender inclusive, Majid enthuses. “We are already seeing female medical students and residents learning about IR early in their training, showing interest and pursuing it as their field of choice”, she says. “Data has shown that being gender inclusive results in better performance than single gender teams, provides a wider talent pool, offers different perspectives, which sparks greater creativity and innovation, enhances collaboration, improves staff retention, is a better reflection of the patient population we serve, improves recruitment and reputation, and [leads to] greater profitability. Thus, I look forward to seeing many more amazing innovations from female interventional radiologists, particularly in the areas of women health and women health services that are also consistently ignored. I also look forward to seeing strong interventional departments that break the myth that IR is not a profitable field.”
You can make a nomination here.