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In high- and medium-income countries, the use of radiology has grown substantially in the last several decades. But in the developing world, access to medical imaging remains a critical problem. Unlike more structured efforts in the field of global health, interventions in global radiology have been largely unplanned, fragmented and sometimes irrelevant to the needs of the recipient society, and have not resulted in any significant progress. Access to medical imaging around the world remains dismal. There is a therefore a clear and urgent need for the radiology community to develop a vision for global radiology, beginning with defining the scope of the subject and establishing measurable goals. Agreement must be reached to declare global radiology as a bona fide subspecialty of radiology. This should soon be followed by the establishment of divisions of Global Radiology in academic radiology departments. Resident and medical students should be taught how physicians in low -income countries practice medicine without access to adequate radiology. As part of training and electives, residents and medical students should accompany global health teams to countries where the need for radiology services is great. Global scholar exchange and sabbatical opportunities should be offered to staff radiologists. Successful implementation of a unified vision of global radiology has the potential to improve access to medical imaging on a large scale. Radiology journals dedicated to the promotion of global radiology can play an important role in providing forums of discussion, analyses and sharing of field experiences. In this discussion we have attempted to make a case for assigning global radiology a subspecialty status.


global radiology, global health, medical imaging, medical education

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© 2016 the Author(s). This open access article is distributed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/).

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Corresponding Author(s)

Current address: Matthew P. Lungren, Department of Radiology, Stanford University Medical Center, 300 Pasteur Drive, Stanford, CA 94305-5105, USA; mlungren@stanford.edu