FAIRFAX, Va. (June 3, 2020)—Society of Interventional Radiology President Michael D. Dake, MD, FSIR, and Diversity and Inclusiveness Group Chair Paul J. Rochon, MD, FSIR, issued the following statement on supporting diversity and combating racial inequality in America.
Humanity has been dealt many challenges this year. While COVID-19 has undoubtedly received much of our attention, we suffer from another pandemic that remains a structural and pernicious threat—racism. The Society of Interventional Radiology (SIR) will not be silent on this issue.
We denounce any act of hatred and bigotry on the basis of race, ethnicity, religion, sexual orientation or gender identity. We denounce the long history of hatred and violence against the Black community and support our Black patients, physicians, trainees, nurses, technologists, industry partners, staff and administrators. We need to stand together in strength and work with a common purpose to realize a more diverse, equitable and inclusive organization.
We commit to antiracist efforts, policies and programs that aim to increase the numbers of underrepresented minorities and women within our specialty. Our GEMS program supports diversity in interventional radiology by providing a travel grant for medical students from diverse backgrounds who desire to participate in a visiting clerkship in interventional radiology (IR) outside of their home institution.
We value a culture of inclusion in which all members of the IR community are accepted, respected and embraced. The society’s IAmIR campaign has both celebrated and drawn attention to diversity within the specialty. SIR has microgrants that support research performed by female and underrepresented minority scientists and a speakers’ bureau to ensure IRs of color are tapped as experts in their field at scientific meetings.
We strongly support the need to reduce and eliminate health disparities that affect our Black patients and other patients of color. SIR’s Diversity and Inclusiveness Group Task Force has been working for several years to ensure that these issues are a vital part of our strategic plan.
We call upon our membership and affiliates to take this time to remember the families and communities of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery and many others who have been subject to unconscionable acts of discrimination and hate. We ask that everyone look into his or her heart to understand the overdue need for change in the nation. With our intentional efforts, SIR calls to action the continuing need to develop strategies to ensure justice, diversity, equity and inclusion.
About the Society of Interventional Radiology: The Society of Interventional Radiology is a nonprofit, professional medical society representing more than 8,000 practicing interventional radiology physicians, trainees, students, scientists and clinical associates, dedicated to improving patient care through the limitless potential of image-guided therapies. SIR’s members work in a variety of settings and at different professional levels—from medical students and residents to university faculty and private practice physicians.