Department of Radiology’s international education supports a healthier world

Eleven radiology residents from Guyana standing in a group

By Michelle Read

Medical residents in Guyana had the opportunity last month to learn essential new skills, thanks to a virtual course offered by the Faculty of Medicine’s Department of Radiology.

On August 19 and 20, 10 residents from Georgetown University in the South American country gathered online with residents from uOttawa’s Faculty of Medicine in a course designed to prepare them for their call duties.

“A radiology technician from Georgetown University reached out to us when she spotted the course, which we offer as part of our Continuing Medical Education program,” says Dr. Richard Aviv, chair of the Department of Radiology and head of medical imaging at The Ottawa Hospital.

Through the International and Global Health Office (IGHO) at the Faculty of Medicine, the Global Health Program focuses on activities and partnerships addressing the international aspects of global health education and practice. Programs like the Department of Radiology’s Continuing Medical Education (CME) program support the core mission of IGHO by sharing educational materials internationally.

“Radiology and imaging are some of the ways that we can have a large international reach in teaching, as the Department of Radiology has demonstrated,” says Dr. Mark Walker, vice-dean of internationalization and global health at the Faculty.

Prior to 2017, there were no residency programs in radiology in Guyana. With the assistance of RADAID, an organization working to improve access to medical imaging and radiology in low resource regions of the world, a radiology residency program was begun. However, travel restrictions have limited the ability of consultant radiology attendings to travel to Guyana to teach the residents, meaning almost all teaching is done virtually.

“We have not been able to provide as robust of a teaching experience as we would prefer,” said Dr. Jonathan Vaccaro, director of radiology residency at Guyana Public Hospital and associate director of RAD-AID Guyana, in a letter of thanks to The Ottawa Hospital.

The two-day virtual course teaches material geared to junior radiology residents preparing for call. Using interactive case-based lectures, the course covers essential diagnoses, useful algorithms in all major systems of the body, effective consultation and communication, and many other important concepts.

The Department of Radiology has leveraged the virtual environment to offer its well-known CME courses to anyone, anywhere. The program focuses on areas of need in the teaching space including continued professional development for physicians and trainee-focused education such as prep for call, residents review course and a simulation-based training course. Educational content is delivered in both English and French.

As the Department’s CME program expands, social accountability remains a core pillar with educational materials provided to disadvantaged learners all over the world. Several faculty members already promote the Global Health Program through clinical or teaching programs to less privileged learning communities. “The current CME strategy is a formal extension of this work in the Department,” says Dr. Aviv.

“I’m constantly humbled by the ways our faculty members embrace their commitment to addressing equity gaps through education and research,” says Dr. Claire Kendall, associate dean of the Faculty’s Office of Social Accountability, who works closely with the clinical departments to incorporate social accountability values and principles. “This is just one example of the inspiring leadership arising from the Department of Radiology.”

Despite the pandemic, the residency program at Georgetown continues to thrive, and it has successfully graduated its first class of residents.

“This conference by your faculty will have a significant impact on the overall residency experience,” concluded Dr. Vaccaro.


man sitting at computer viewing a photo of radioogy equipment

The Department of Radiology has leveraged the virtual environment to offer its well-known CME courses to medical learners anywhere. Here, a Guyanese medical resident sits in on the course in August. Photo credit : Guyana Public Hospital

Main photo: Medical residents from the University of Georgetown in Guyana. Credit: Guyana Public Hospital

Consider supporting the University of Ottawa.

The Department Of Radiology MD Summer Student Placement Fund offers a scholarship to MD students who are working on a project at the Department of Radiology during the summer.


Student viewing an image of a skull on a laptop

Radiology is amenable to virtual teaching as it is based on images.

man sitting at computer viewing a photo of radioogy equipment

A medical resident from Georgetown University enjoying the virtual course offered on August 19 and 20 by the Faculty of Medicine Department of Radiology at the University of Ottawa. Photo credit : Guyana Public Hospital

The Department of Radiology’s Continuing Medical Education Program

The University of Ottawa Department of Radiology is the Academic and Educational hub of The Ottawa Hospital Department of Medical Imaging. One of the largest imaging departments in Canada, the Department of Medical Imaging performs approximately 500,000 exams and sees approximately 420,000 patients (visits) per year. Its vision is to provide high-quality patient care and imaging leadership across Eastern Ontario.

The Department of Radiology’s Continuing Medical Education (CME) program is one of its core missions. The CME program is one of the largest in Canada and has co-ordinated over 50 CME international conferences, hosting more than 3,500 physicians, residents, fellows, technologists, sonographers, nurses, and other health care professionals both through in-person and virtual meetings.

The Department’s educational mission is to offer high-yield, continuing professional development to the radiology community regionally and worldwide. Its commitment to teaching quality and excellence ensures course accreditation and certification with the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada, the Canadian Association of Medical Radiation Technologists and Sonography Canada.

Courses are managed by a full-time dedicated and experienced team who coordinate the unique educational initiatives and facilitate a convivial learning atmosphere. The program is seeking industry partners to assist in the expansion of our CME program, as well as the support of industry through educational grants for upcoming virtual courses, whose target audiences include Radiologists and trainees from all over the world.

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