Although few nonphysician radiology staff members have prior experience or knowledge of global health initiatives, many would be interested in getting involved, according to research published January 6 in the Journal of Radiology Nursing.
A team led by Dr. Monica Matsumoto from the University of Pennsylvania surveyed radiology technologists, nurses, and advanced practice providers and found that around half would participate in a global health experience or curriculum.
"Our survey results reveal ... an unmet opportunity for institutions to increase staff involvement," Matsumoto and co-authors wrote.
Global health is an umbrella term relating to exploring factors affecting health worldwide and the interdisciplinary provision of healthcare to certain populations. For radiologists, this could mean increasing access to imaging services in low-resource settings. However, involvement in such work is often voluntary and adds to responsibilities of interested medical professionals at their home institutions, according to the researchers.
Previous research suggests interest in future global health work among radiology residents, but Matsumoto and colleagues pointed out there is "minimal information" about the perspectives of radiology staff members regarding such involvement.
The team wanted to analyze experiences and perspectives of nonphysician radiology staff regarding global health work.
"A better understanding of these perspectives may help develop avenues for promoting meaningful engagement and expanding partnerships in low-resource settings," they wrote.
The researchers looked at survey data from 189 respondents. These included technologists (65%), nurses (22%), and advanced practice providers (5%).
The team found that 8% reported prior participation in radiology-specific global health work, while 10% knew of opportunities for involvement in this work. However, they also found that 50% of respondents indicated they would participate in a global health experience and 40% would participate in a global health curriculum.
The researchers suggested barriers to global health work involvement "likely" relate to a lack of awareness of opportunities, funding, and time constraints.
"Furthermore ... physicians who are encouraged to engage in and lead global health projects may not be cognizant of the critical role that nonphysician team members have, so could benefit from education about the value of interdisciplinary work and incorporating these individuals in the future," they added.
The study authors called for global health leaders to seek out partners and advocates among nonphysician radiology staff to increase awareness, as well as collaborate on education and build interdisciplinary teams.