The Underrepresented Minorities (URM) in IR Section is an association of people interested in the advancement of the medical field of interventional radiology to under-represented minority communities.
The membership of the URM in IR Section physicians shall consist of Interventional Radiologists who who have a special interest in contributing toward the objectives of the section, and who fulfill membership requirements as defined in the SIR Bylaws. Activities of the section are ideally targeted to under-represented minority; however, membership is open to all individuals interested in supporting the mission and objective of the section.
I applaud the efforts of SIR and SIR Foundation to help its members understand how racial and ethnic disparities in IR are gravely detrimental to the quality of care received by patients. My 30 plus years of experience as a Black Interventional Radiologist, the shared experiences of my BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, and people of Color) colleagues, extensive scholarly research, countless studies, and a pandemic that disproportionately affects minority communities, all emphasize that a diverse healthcare workforce - one that is representative of the patients it serves - is a matter of life and death.
Issues surrounding diversity and inclusion, particularly in medicine, are complex and emotionally charged. The advent of the GEMS Program provides a safe space for productive dialogue between current SIR Leaders and future IR talent. Program discussions encourage cultural sensitivity and tend to inform not only the students, but the diverse faculty as well. Our focus on the inclusion of minorities in IR works to combat preconceived perceptions about underrepresented minorities, thereby leading to better communication amongst physicians and the patients we serve.Hopefully, our efforts will lead us to a day when patients and physician colleagues alike are not startled to see a Black Interventional Radiologist walk into the room; a day when Black women suffering from fibroids are given all of their options, no longer needing to rely on life-altering recommendations based in unconscious biases; and most importantly, a day when it is not uncommon for Black children to live next door to an Interventional Radiologist who looks just like them. - Keith M. Horton MD, FSIR
As a practicing interventional radiologist since 2004, I remember my first SIR meeting. I was enamored with the activities and efforts to grow IR. The membership was amazing and inspiring. However, I found it deeply troubling that there weren't many people of color. Over subsequent years, I found the low numbers of URM IR physicians becoming more dramatic. Finally, in 2012, I became the co-Chair of the Diversity and Inclusion Committee in SIR. I was able to address many of the diversity issues in SIR, but still felt a deep level of isolation from any other URMs in IR. Finally, I was able to join with other IRs to formally create the URMs in IR section. My hope is that this section will be a place to bond, mentor, and grow the representation of URMs in IR. Further, this group will help guide SIR's ability to meet the needs of its URM membership more directly. - Derek West, MD MS