RSNA2022 Empowering Patients and Partners in Care
Daily Bulletin

Academic Radiology Leaders Can Improve Teamwork By Partaking in Formal Leadership Training

Tuesday, Nov. 29, 2022

For those in charge of academic radiology departments, formal leadership training can have a tremendous organizational impact on wellness, especially in preventing burnout.


"Burnout is a syndrome that occurs in the workplace in which chronic stress cannot be successfully managed," said lead researcher Jay Parikh, MD, professor of radiology at The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center. As the radiology division's wellness lead, preventing burnout is a passion for Dr. Parikh.

A worker meets the definition of burnout when he or she is emotionally exhausted, feels that their work is depersonalized or experience a decreased level of personal accomplishment.

"In the AMA model, an increased workload is one of the six drivers of burnout," Dr. Parikh noted in his poster presentation. "That's certainly a reality for many radiology departments today."

Burnout Felt Across All Radiology's Subspecialties

Dr. Parikh identified six peer-reviewed journal articles published between 2017 and 2022 that report high rates of burnout within the field of radiology. Burnout rates for radiology subspecialties ranged from 49% to 88%, including:

  • Musculoskeletal, 80.5%
  • Neuroradiology, 49-75%
  • Pediatric, 61-66%
  • Cardiothoracic, 84-88%
  • Breast Imaging, 78.4%
  • Interventional Radiology, 71.9%

Dr. Parikh said burnout is critical because the syndrome has been associated with adverse outcomes for physicians, patient care, and the health care system.

When physicians and staff are burnt out, patients may receive a lower level of care, experience longer recovery times and feel less satisfied. For physicians, burnout can result in depression, substance abuse, decreased productivity, and higher turnover rates that ultimately increase health care costs.

"It's estimated that the loss of just one physician has direct and indirect costs of $1 million," he said.

Dr. Parikh worked with his university's Leadership Institute to investigate whether providing the academic radiology leadership with formal training in leading wellness could improve burnout among the radiology faculty.

The university's 178 radiology faculty members received a weblink to a survey in April 2021 with validated questions on professional fulfillment, values alignment, teamwork, overload, and work-family conflict. In May of 2021, 27 of the university's 32 academic leaders participated in an instructor-led formal training on leading wellness focusing on five core skills–emotional intelligence, self-care, resilience support, demonstrating care and managing burnout.

A follow-up survey sent to the radiology faculty six months after the training showed a significant improvement in the aspect of teamwork. The results also demonstrated an inverse association between professional fulfillment and work exhaustion.

While Dr. Parikh and his team initially were hoping to notice some change in burnout rates, those scores did not statistically change following wellness training.

Following the pilot, the formal training on leading wellness has been extended across the institution.

"This is really encouraging and shows that if we design a formal wellness curriculum and engage leadership, we can make an impact on faculty," Dr. Parikh said.

Access the presentation, "Formal Wellness Training of Academic Radiology Leaders Raises Awareness and Improved Teamwork Scores of Their Faculty," (T5A-SPNPM-3) on demand at