Reply to the Letter to the Editor: “Attracting the next generation of radiologists: a statement by the European Society of Radiology (ESR)”
Authors: Vicky Goh, Jim Zhong
Affiliations: European Society of Radiology (ESR), Vienna, Austria
Emails: firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com
We thank you for your recent letter following the publication of our article, “Attracting the next generation of radiologists: a statement by the European Society of Radiology (ESR)” , and for sharing the Colombian experience of undergraduate radiology. It is good to hear that some universities in Colombia are integrating imaging studies into systems-based programmes so that students at least have some interaction with radiology. Hopefully, radiologists will be able to increasingly highlight the unique and essential roles that radiologists have, whilst providing mentorship and guidance.
The intention of the ESR Undergraduate Radiology Curriculum  was to provide a practical overview of essential radiology knowledge for students at the undergraduate level, especially to nations where this may be lacking. We appreciate that delivering such an extensive curriculum comes with its own challenges given the already stretched radiology departments and imaging workforce, who are still dealing with the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and continued clinical pressures.
Your letter describes one of several limitations that radiology departments may have with provision, such as availability of reporting station space and staff to teach. To allow students to continue to be taught radiology in an interactive way during the COVID pandemic, European institutions have shifted their teaching to remote platforms using Zoom and Microsoft Teams. This allows medical students to still work through clinically relevant cases and have an understanding of the indication and role of different types of imaging modalities, whilst being supervised by either a radiology resident or consultant.
Universities may have a subscription to one of these platforms and therefore this may not require much further funding to deliver although it does come with a time cost for the radiologists who need to be involved from the design, case curation and production of the presentation slides. It remains a good educational opportunity also for residents in radiology who have a keen interest in teaching to be involved with such undergraduate programmes.
Similarly, radiology trainees and staff should help support undergraduate radiology groups and facilitate teaching sessions to help supplement learning. This can be started through small groups of interested students who are willing to spend extra-curricular time organising events (several examples are given in the article)  and learning more about radiology, which ultimately will help them develop team working and leadership as well. Sponsorship and additional resources are advantageous when organising events but nothing beats a true passion for one’s specialty and the willingness to share this with others, which should not be forgotten.
With interventional radiology, we are also seeing a surge of interest in medical students, particularly those who had previously looked at surgical careers as they realise the innovative potential that minimally invasive treatment has to offer. We cannot rely on surgical teams alone to highlight the role of interventional radiology, and radiology departments must use any exposure they have to teach students about image-guided interventions and the breadth of interventional radiology. National groups such as IR Juniors, a UK-based community of medical students and junior doctors passionate about interventional radiology, have helped raise the profile of the subspecialty through online resources and educational webinars which are free to use and accessible by students from all over the world. In the last 18 months there has also been greater collaborative working between the junior groups of the British Society of Interventional Radiology, Society of Interventional Radiology, Cardiovascular and Interventional Radiological Society of Europe, European Trainee Forum and the Pan-Arab Interventional Radiology Society, which has culminated in the creation of the Global IR Juniors Summit , a virtual event to help showcase the international work in interventional radiology, learn from each other and build junior networks. We invite all countries to be involved with future events and hope this will inspire others to develop similar initiatives.
Finally, we would like to echo the sentiment of your conclusion and go one step further to say that radiologists need to step out of their dark rooms to engage with the educational systems in their local universities to help raise the profile of our specialty. Utilising technology and working collaboratively and creatively will allow us to raise the ceiling for everyone.
 European Society of Radiology (ESR) (2022) Attracting the next generation of radiologists: a statement by the European Society of Radiology (ESR). Insights Imaging https://doi.org/10.1186/s13244-022-01221-8
 European Society of Radiology (ESR) (2021) Curriculum for Undergraduate Radiological Education [Internet]. Available via: https://www.myesr.org/education/undergraduate-education-radiology
 Cardiovascular and Interventional Radiological Society of Europe (CIRSE). (2022) Global IR Juniors Summit 2022 [Internet]. Available via: https://www.cirse.org/trainees/global-ir-juniors-summit-2022/