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The Current State of Departmental Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Efforts Within US Academic Radiation Oncology Departments. Int J Radiat Oncol Biol Phys 2023 Jun 01;116(2):219-228



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Scopus ID

2-s2.0-85149862528 (requires institutional sign-in at Scopus site)   4 Citations


PURPOSE: Promoting a diverse workforce of health care professionals that delivers equitable patient care is an important goal in oncology, as in all of medicine. Although most medical schools have a diversity office and associated initiatives, little is known about radiation oncology (RO) department-level efforts to promote diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI). We describe the current state of DEI leadership and initiatives in RO departments in the US to guide future policies and programs.

METHODS AND MATERIALS: A total of 124 US RO departments affiliated with a medical school were contacted to identify departmental DEI leadership. Identified DEI leaders were asked to complete an anonymous survey assessing characteristics of their departmental DEI leadership, committee/organizational structure, activities, and perceived barriers to, and effect of, their work. Descriptive statistics are reported.

RESULTS: Among 85 RO departments that responded (68.5% response rate), 48 (56.5%) reported having a departmental DEI leader. Thirty-four DEI leaders completed the survey (70.8%). Of those who answered each survey question, most DEI leaders were assistant or associate professors (n = 24, 82.8%), women (n = 19, 73.1%), and identified with at least one non-White race or Hispanic ethnicity (n = 15, 53.6%). Nineteen (57.6%) had an associated departmental DEI committee; with 10 of these starting in 2020 or later. Few DEI leaders had administrative support (38.2%), funding (29.4%), protected time (23.5%), or increased compensation for added duties Fifteen (50.0%) believed their DEI-focused efforts were considered for promotion. The most reported initiatives included offering programming/education, supporting students from backgrounds underrepresented in medicine, improving recruitment practices/hiring, and implementing pipeline/pathway projects. The perceived impact of DEI initiatives included an increased culture of respect (89.7%), improved health care disparity awareness (75.9%), and improved systemic/structural racism awareness (79.3%).

CONCLUSIONS: Departmental DEI efforts are increasingly common within RO, however, the structure, resources, and recognition associated with DEI work are variable. Additional dedicated resources and recognition for these efforts will help ensure a culture of inclusive excellence for the RO workforce and patients.

Author List

Paradis KC, Franco I, Beltrán Ponce S, Chaurasia A, Laucis AM, Venkat P, Siker M, Suneja G, Deville C Jr, Munbodh R, Mattes MD


Malika L. Siker MD Associate Dean, Associate Professor in the Radiation Oncology department at Medical College of Wisconsin

MESH terms used to index this publication - Major topics in bold

Educational Status
Health Personnel
Radiation Oncology