The challenge of radiology education in developing countries
1 School of Medicine, Universidad Nacional
Aut�noma de M�xico, Mexico
2 School of Medicine, Universidad La Salle M�xico, Mexico
Radiology education has been carefully analysed in WHO
radiological education meetings .� Among several important issues, the
economical influence was discussed.� The percentage of gross national product
(GNP) in health is important in countries where it has not been progressively
increased. This is the reality in many developing countries with low and medium
income. It has a bad impact on their health system budgets . This condition
makes it impossible to have modern infrastructure and usually, there is a lack
of well-trained personnel and well-trained staff. Most hospital certifications,
if any, are impossible to obtain and academic stimulus for academic staff is
usually scarce.� These points have influenced radiology education at a time
where new radiologists must be prepared for all the modern imaging modalities
and also for the scientific advances including molecular imaging, genomic
medicine, and the use of high technology, such as radiology computed equipment
including Picture Archiving Communication Systems (PACS). Public and university
hospitals have traditionally been related to the training of medical residents
- they have large clinical grounds and their patients are less inconvenienced
when they receive medical treatment by the institution�s personnel as opposed
to private institutions where the physicians are usually chosen by the paying
Things are changing as academic radiologists, usually part
of the public or university hospitals� staff, are emigrating to private
practices where remunerations are much better and the infrastructure is
frequently more sophisticated and updated.� The new concept of concierge
medicine  allows physicians to avoid attending to a massive number of
patients. Therefore, they tend to have a more relaxed medical practice but most
of the time away from scholastic purposes. Unfortunately, less experienced
radiologists remain in the academic institutions and they are usually in charge
of postgraduate radiology education.
The radiology programs can become obsolete, impeding the
training of adequate new radiologists who frequently failed their last exams or
certification board tests, in countries where this requisite exists.
Academic radiologists have little stimulus and this must
be modified.� It is hardly fair that they have to finance educational
material which can be very expensive and of course research can be even more
difficult to perform.
Low health budgets favour stillness and, most frequently,
obsolete standards and regulations, which impede modernisation in medical
practice, including high-quality radiology standards that could be conducive to
the enrichment of radiology education .
High-technology equipment is part of the requirements of
modern radiology; helical CT scanners, less than 1.0 tesla MRIs and ultrasound
without Doppler capabilities are considered obsolete, impeding again adequate
and modern radiology education.
Private medical institutions supported by private
insurance companies and health maintenance organisations (HMOs), expedite
administrators in the knowledge that the relation of cost-benefit while
investing in costly radiologic equipment will usually give them the benefit of
a faster capital reimbursement if they have competitive equipment to offer.
Some large private hospitals are now interested in
promoting education, among other reasons because they have manpower
requirements and residents can be part of low-cost medical staff while in
training, they also know that academic personnel as part of the staff improves
the prestige of the institution.
If this is the future, let�s do it right.� If we have
high-standard radiologists and high-technology equipment, the bases are settled
to motivate radiologists to participate and contribute in the formation of new
high-quality radiologists .� The association with postgraduate university
programs is essential, appointment of staff radiologists by a university
institution is a good motivation to participate and in addition, they can have
additional income, which is usually small.
PACS are now a reality, again most are set up in private
hospitals.� In addition to the clinical advantages of this costly
administration system equipment, the educational value must be considered.�
Modern radiology education is based on the new concepts of adult learning 
and evidence-based on radiology programs .
It is important that radiologists qualify in teaching,
they will later have the responsibility of training residents to be
professionals of high quality and standard.
Learning must be the main motivation for anyone in
training and it should be based on what he or she wants to learn, and not what
the mentor can or wants to teach.� Here is where electronic education plays an
essential role for the radiology residents: they can have access to large
databases and many radiology education files.
With these tools, cognostic issues can be improved but the
need for instructors and mentors, now called facilitators, will always exist.�
Furthermore, if a good technological infrastructure is available it will
support diagnostic and interventional procedures thus improving the trainees�
skills and stimulating residents.
Professional medical colleges aim to have duties and
medical privileges for their members based on good medical practice.� The
support of radiological colleges will help in many ways to modernize and update
standards that guarantee a high quality radiology performance in places, which lack
standards and regulations.
Radiologists with professional recognition from their
peers with ample experience must try to support the development of this kind of
institutions including the creation of certification and bioethics bodies.�
With these achievements, radiology education can be progressively and
continuously developed to the highest standards possible.
The authors would like to acknowledge the support of Dr. JQ Public and the Department of Medical Physics, Wonderland Cancer Centre.
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|Received 2 April 2007; accepted 6 April 2007
Correspondence: Hospital Angeles del Pedregal, Director of Education. Hospital Angeles del Pedregal, Coordinator of Radiology Education. School of Medicine, Universidad Nacional Aut�noma de M�xico, Mexico. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org (Jos� Luis Ram�rez-Arias).
Please cite as: Ram�rez-Arias JL, Rodr�guez-Trevi�o C, Gonz�lez-Vergara C,
The challenge of radiology education in developing countries, Biomed Imaging Interv J 2008; 4(1):e2
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