Throughout history, many women have played pivotal roles in advancing many industries. For radiology, women have made numerous contributions to the field since its inception, from early pioneering women in medicine to modern women who continue to elevate and evolve the field. In the past, even though women faced significant barriers as the field was primarily male-dominated, there were many women who made an impact on the field. Today, on International Women’s Day, let us recognize and celebrate five inspirational women in modern radiology.
A Rising Star in Radiology
A rising star in radiology, Haley Ramirez BSRT, R.T(R)(CT) is an imaging professional using social media to bring awareness to the field and inspire other radiology technologists. Her journey unknowingly started back in high school when her health sciences teacher at the time, Cindy McGuire, talked about her history and love for the field of radiology. Once in college, she started volunteering at a local hospital and ended up really loving the fusion of technology and patient care. After graduating from Midwestern State University with a bachelor’s in radiologic technology, Ramirez went on to register in both radiography and computed tomography.
Many people know her due to her involvement in the radiology community. She is currently the President of the North Texas Radiologic Technologists Society, a dedicated member of the Texas Society of Radiologic Technologists, and a recent graduate from the American Society of Radiologic Technologists Advocacy Academy and The Leadership Academy. In addition to being an active member in several professional organizations, Ramirez uses social media to advocate and teach others about the importance of professional involvement. Her enthusiasm and use of modern technology motivates other professionals and brings a fresh take to radiology. To see more of Ramirez’s journey, follow her on LinkedIn!
Empowering through Education
Dr. Kelli Welch Haynes has contributed to the field of radiology through her research, service, and education. Currently a tenured professor and the Department Head for the School of Allied Health at Northwestern State University, Dr. Haynes’s passion and enthusiasm for radiology shines. She has written and published multiple works, such as the “Radiation Protection in Medical Radiography” textbook. Dr. Haynes is also recognized as a Fellow of the ASRT, which is one of the highest honors a radiologic technologist can receive. As Dr. Haynes continued in her profession, she has been blessed with several opportunities, and whenever she found herself in a new, unexplored area of expertise, she has been able to expand her network and find wonderful mentors who would help guide her.
As an educator, Dr. Haynes has spoken to many young women who are interested in the field. She always encourages them as she believes radiology is a wonderful profession with multiple career advancement opportunities. One piece of advice Dr. Haynes would like to offer is to pursue additional education since advanced education will lead to more opportunities. When Dr. Haynes was pursuing her master’s degree, many people questioned it as it is not a necessary degree in the field. However, that decision led her on her journey to become an educator. “Opportunity comes your way when you’re not expecting it.” Dr. Haynes says. “So go for it.”
Trailblazing Breast Radiologist
Known as a “trailblazing breast radiologist” by the American College of Radiology, Dr. Amy K. Patel, MD., is committed to radiology healthcare reform and improving women’s health. Dr. Patel regularly advocates for patients’ access to care, such as when she helped pass bills in Missouri to ensure that private insurers would cover annual mammography screenings. She was also the only woman in an all-male class in her residency program, and Dr. Patel became the first female chief resident in that program in her senior year. Additionally, she was the first woman and the youngest recipient of the ACR Howard Fleishon MD Advocate of the Year Award.
As the current president of the American Association for Women in Radiology, Dr. Patel seeks to support and advance women in radiology through education, mentorship, and networking. Her involvement in the radiology community includes servicing on the ACR Commision for Women and Diversity, being on the steering committee for RADxx, and using social media to advocate for women’s health and radiology. Dr. Patel will continue to pave new paths for women’s health and encourage young women to join the profession to improve society and patient care.
Dedicated to Diversity
Dr. Geraldine McGinty, MD, MBA, FACR, dedicates herself to diversifying the radiology industry and empowering women in the field. Her path to radiology started when she spent a summer working as a nurse’s aide and learned how radiology was where diagnostic problems were solved, and she became interested in the specialty. She is very involved in the community through her membership in several professional societies. Currently, she is the Senior Associate Dean for Clinical Affairs and Professor of Clinical Radiology and Population Health Sciences at Weill Cornell Medicine. In 2018, Dr. McGinty became the first woman to serve as the Chair of the American College of Radiology’s Board of Chancellors.
Dr. McGinty believes that creating diverse leadership will help empower more women in the industry. By focusing on creating more diverse teams, performance will increase, and students from underrepresented and excluded minorities will view radiology as a more welcoming profession if the leadership better reflects their lived experience and values. Due to her dedication to promoting the academic careers of women faculty members, Dr. McGinty was awarded the Jessica M. and Natan Bibliowicz Award for Excellence in Mentoring Women Faculty in 2019. Dr. McGinty continues to pave the way for a more diverse leadership and workforce in radiology through her network, mentoring, and passion.
Developing Professional Radiology Technologists
With over 30 years of radiology and leadership experience, Jence Garza, MHA, RT(R), has made an impact in radiology throughout her extensive career. Her interest in radiology began when her honors biology class was visited by Quinn Carroll, who was beginning a program at Midland College. She has a Master of Health Administration degree and is a registered radiologic technologist. Before joining the AHEC team, Garza was Director of Ancillary Services for Covenant Health Systems Medical Group based in Lubbock, Texas, which was, at the time, one of the nation’s largest groups with practices in Texas and New Mexico. She spent nearly 6 years as a senior radiologic technologist in the Cardiac Cath Lab and has served as the Co-Facilitator for the Joint Commission’s Healthcare Staffing Advisory Council since 2016. Garza currently volunteers on a committee for the Texas Society of Radiologic Technologists.
As the CEO of AHEC, Garza aims to provide quality continuing education and staffing solutions for health care professionals. She was recently awarded the Outstanding Leadership Award at the Health 2.0 Conference in Las Vegas. With her experience in management, staffing, and business development, Garza wishes to endow young radiology technologists with the knowledge and skills to thrive professionally. She teaches several classes, such as Ready, Tech, Go! and the Technologist’s Toolbox. Garza also hosts a Student Forum for radiology students preparing to graduate to help them prepare for their careers. She hopes to see more young radiology technologists thriving in the industry.
Radiology in the Future
This profession is diverse and has a lot to offer to anyone who is interested in the field. According to Dr. McGinty, the profession has a diversity of practice types, so if you’re interested in the intersection between patient care and technology and if you have a passion for innovation, radiology is for you. Since technology and healthcare change constantly, continuing education is important to not only keep up your licensure, but also improve patient care. Garza believes that continuing education can help better you and the profession, which in turn will directly benefit our communities and the people we serve.
As of now, the United States does not recognize radiology technologist as professionals because not all 50 states have licensure requirements, and the majority of radiology technologists do not have a bachelor’s degree. Ramirez hopes to see the imaging field will receive adequate licensure and recognition they deserve in all 50 states. Additionally, Dr. Haynes envisions that radiology technologists should be able to work in the interest of the patient and have more autonomy through the ability to perform clinical impressions and additional scans when needed. As radiology continues to evolve, there is no doubt that women will continue to play a role in its development. To Dr. Patel, the next generation of women in healthcare gives her hope for the future of medicine and patient care. Let’s honor these women, from history and modern times, for all of their contributions and work to our community.