Monthly Archives: November 2014

5 ways a radiologist can play an active role in medical school education


In my opinion, the use of radiology as a way to show function of various tissues has not been emphasized enough in most undergraduate curricula. Seeing a cine image of a gated CT or MRI of a patient with arrythmogenic right ventricular dysplasia or pulmonary regurgitation or seeing the turbulence of flow at the site of coarctation of the aorta can go a long way in cementing knowledge and developing an appreciation of the role that radiology plays in assessing the patient and the role it can play in determining treatment.


I often find medical students understand anatomy better when there is pathology affecting an area. A good example is the excellent delineation of the fascial spaces in the neck in a patient with subcutaneous emphysema. I find that this is better than any drawing made with high end tools like Adobe Ilustrator. This is where a radiologist’s case base can come in handy for the teacher of medical anatomy. This kind of cooperation between the non-clinical and clinical specialties should be encouraged.


The use of multiple modality overlays is another area where radiologists can play a role. For example, overlaying a CT over a MRI in a patient with a juvenile nasopharyngeal angiofibroma is the best way I have found to teach a medical student or radiology trainees about the anatomy of the pterygopalatine region.

While watching videos online and listening to lectures is certainly an acceptable way to learn, it is far better to utilize interactive ways of learning from audiovisual material. Sites like e-anatomy are good examples where labels of various structures can be switched on and off to test knowledge.


With regards to medical school exams, most radiologists would say that static images presented on a printed page are probably the least optimal way to show a radiology image, particularly ones in gray scale (like a chest radiograph). With the increasing availability of handheld electronic display devices like tablets, most medical students and educators would argue that preparation and administration of medical exams which require radiology images should be moved over as far as possible to these devices from paper.