With establishment of the integrated interventional radiology (IR) residency, cultivating medical student interest in IR (the newest medical specialty) and increasing student exposure is more important than ever. A thriving medical student IR interest group is key in accomplishing these goals. I assumed the role of faculty advisor for the medical student IR interest group shortly after joining the faculty in 2017. Dr. Ari Isaacson had previously served as the advisor for the group, which is very active and led by two second-year students each year. Serving as the faculty advisor for the group has been one of the highlights of my time at UNC. One of the stated goals of the Society of Interventional Radiology is diversity and inclusion, specifically increasing the number of women and underrepresented minorities in IR. Since less than 10% of practicing IRs are women, I felt that this was an exciting opportunity to interact with a diverse group of students and to help share that IR is a fantastic specialty for ALL students should consider!

The IR interest group hosts two events for medical students each year. At the fall lunch meeting, there is a brief introduction to the specialty and a viewing of “Without A Scalpel,” a compelling documentary about IR available on Amazon Prime. We also discuss shadowing opportunities, which I help coordinate through an online sign-up system. Many students have taken advantage of this and have shadowed myself and other faculty in the division. This spring we will be hosting a lunch symposium with several IR physicians to give students an opportunity to hear what we love about IR and ask questions of the panel.

One key event that we encourage the medical students to attend is the North Carolina Interventional Radiology Medical Student Symposium. The third annual symposium took place in October. The symposium is an all-day immersive IR experience with faculty from UNC, Duke, Wake Forest, ECU, and local private practices participating. UNC hosted the symposium in October 2017 (coordinated by Drs. Bob Dixon, David. Mauro, and. Ari Isaacson). The symposium includes lectures specifically geared towards students, question-and-answer sessions, and hands-on learning opportunities at device and simulator stations. This year, there was even a panel discussion with current IR residents about the residency application process and what life is really like as an IR resident. The event was a hit, with medical student attendance increasing each year!


Jessica  K. Stewart, MD
Assistant Professor of Radiology

I look forward to continued work with the medical student IR interest group to enhance the medical student IR experience at UNC!

(L to R): 1) NC Interventional Radiology Medical Student 2018 Symposium faculty presenters, including Drs. Bob Dixon (far left), Jessie Stewart (2nd from left), David Mauro (4th from left), and Peter Bream (2nd from right); 2) UNC medical students at the NC 2017 Symposium; and 3) Dr. Jessie Stewart lecturing on “Innovation in IR” at the 2018 Symposium.