After years of noticing a concerning gender gap in her field of medicine, BC Cancer radiologist Dr Charlotte Yong-Hing is spearheading a project to influence more women to apply to the specialty.
“I see the shift in our demographics. There are more women than men pursuing medicine, but currently less than 29 per cent of radiologists in Canada are women and there has been a decline in applications to radiology by women,” notes Dr Yong-Hing.
The project, funded by the Specialist Services Committee, is now helping close the gap by raising awareness and putting tools and resources in place.
The first step in accomplishing her goals and connecting with other radiologists interested in gender equality and diversity in medicine, was to establish Canadian Radiology Women (CRW) and utilize social media to help spread the word.
In addition, she has organized multiple meet-ups, as well as biannual receptions at national and international meetings attended by more than 150 men and women who support the cause. Through her efforts, she has been invited to speak at a Women in Rheumatology Canada event to share her experiences. This group assembled to address the under-representation of female experts and speakers at rheumatology events.
Dr. Yong-Hing recently participated in Doctors of BC’s “Find your Match” event and has also helped establish mentorship online and through the Resident and Fellow Section of the Canadian Association of Radiologists (CAR). CAR has acknowledged that a lack of diversity in radiology is something they wish to address.
Dr Csilla Egri, a UBC Radiology Resident who is a founding member of CRW and its resident representative states, “Dr Yong-Hing has built a community of belonging, comradery, empowerment and pride. I’m honoured to help promote the values of inclusivity and diversity. It is in unity that our strength lies.”
Dr Yong-Hing believes a great deal can be accomplished by bringing together existing women radiologists, as well as supporting future ones—and the idea is catching on. Similar initiatives are taking place in Australia and New Zealand to influence more women to apply to radiology in those countries.