Radiology Education in Medical School and Residency: The Views and Needs of Program Directors

Acad Radiol. 2018 Oct;25(10):1333-1343. doi: 10.1016/j.acra.2018.04.004. Epub 2018 May 7.


Rationale and objectives: The authors of this study used the perspectives of residency program directors (PDs) nationally to explore whether trainees are adequately prepared to utilize and interpret medical imaging as interns, to identify the types of imaging skills most important for residency, and to begin to address current shortcomings in radiology education.

Materials and methods: The authors created a survey using a modified version of Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education radiology milestones and sent it to 100 randomly selected PDs each in pediatrics, internal medicine, obstetrics and gynecology, and general surgery. The survey asked PDs to assess the actual and desired imaging skills of their incoming interns, the incoming interns' variability of skill level upon matriculation, and which imaging skills were most important from the PDs' perspective.

Results: PDs from all specialties identified a significant shortcoming relative to their expectations for both image interpretation and utilization skills. Additionally, PDs identified a significant variability in imaging skills, and described that variability as a hindrance to their programs. All of the potential imaging skills were rated as highly important with little clinically relevant difference between them.

Discussion: This multidisciplinary national survey found a deficiency in imaging education among interns across specialties and substantiates calls for formalized and improved radiology education in undergraduate medical education. Additionally, PDs had difficulty distinguishing which skills were most important, suggesting an unclear understanding of imaging ability needs for interns in respective specialties. More specific needs assessments are warranted on a national level.

Keywords: Radiology; education; graduate medical education; undergraduate medical education.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Clinical Competence
  • Education, Medical, Undergraduate*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Internship and Residency*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Radiology / education*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • United States