Data science pathway prepares radiology residents for machine learning

November 04, 2020

OAK BROOK, Ill. - A recently developed data science pathway for fourth-year radiology residents will help prepare the next generation of radiologists to lead the way into the era of artificial intelligence and machine learning (AI-ML), according to a special report published in Radiology: Artificial Intelligence.

AI-ML has the potential to transform medicine by delivering better and more efficient healthcare. Applications in radiology are already arriving at a staggering rate. Yet organized AI-ML curricula are limited to a few institutions and formal training opportunities are lacking.

Three senior radiology residents at Brigham and Women's Hospital (BWH) in Boston recently helped devise a data science pathway to provide a well-rounded introductory experience in AI-ML for fourth-year residents. The pathway combines formal instruction with practical problem-solving in collaboration with data scientists.

"Across the nation there are a number of radiology residency programs that are trying to figure out how to integrate AI into their training," said the paper's co-lead author Walter F. Wiggins, M.D., Ph.D. "We thought that perhaps our experience would help other programs figure out ways to integrate this type of training into either their elective pathways or their more general residency curriculum."

The pathway provides an immersion into AI-ML through a flexible schedule of educational, experiential and research activities at the Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) & BWH Center for Clinical Data Science (CCDS). Dr. Wiggins and his resident colleagues, M. Travis Caton, M.D., and Kirti Magudia, M.D., Ph.D., were exposed to all aspects of AI-ML application development, including data curation, model design, quality control and clinical testing. The residents contributed to model and tool development at multiple stages, and their work during the pilot period led to 12 accepted abstracts for presentation at national meetings. Feedback from the pilot project resulted in the establishment of a formal AI-ML curriculum for future residents.

"Radiologists have always had to manage, analyze and process data in order to be able to do their work," Dr. Wiggins said. "We already have the underlying skill sets and infrastructure that we can tap into to allow residents with an interest in AI and ML to really develop and become leaders in applying these skills clinically."

The pathway provided ample opportunities for the residents to work directly with data scientists to better understand how they approach image analysis problems with ML tools. This communication, in turn, helped the data scientists better understand how radiologists approach a radiology problem in a clinical setting. The data scientists could be easily implemented in clinical practice.

"An important component of a curriculum like this is to learn the language the data scientists speak and teach them a little bit about the language that we as radiologists speak so that we can have better, more effective collaborations," Dr. Wiggins said. "Going through that process over several different projects was where I think I gained the best experience throughout all of this."

Dr. Wiggins credited Katherine Andriole, Ph.D., director of Research Strategy and Operations at the CCDS, and Michael H. Rosenthal, M.D., Ph.D., for their guidance and feedback as mentors of the project.

Earlier this year, Dr. Wiggins accepted a position as clinical director of AI at Duke Radiology in Durham, North Carolina, where he hopes to utilize some of the lessons he learned from the pathway development process.

"I also hope that people from other institutions might read this manuscript and find something useful for integrating into their residency curricula or for developing specialized pathways for informatics and/or data science," he said.
"Preparing Radiologists to Lead in the Era of Artificial Intelligence: Designing and Implementing a Focused Data Science Pathway for Senior Radiology Residents." Collaborating with Drs. Wiggins, Caton, Magudia, Rosenthal and Andriole were Sha-har A. Glomski, M.D., Elizabeth George, M.B.B.S., and Glenn C. Gaviola, M.D.

Radiology: Artificial Intelligence is edited by Charles E. Kahn Jr., M.D., M.S., Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania, and owned and published by the Radiological Society of North America, Inc. (

RSNA is an association of radiologists, radiation oncologists, medical physicists and related scientists promoting excellence in patient care and health care delivery through education, research and technologic innovation. The Society is based in Oak Brook, Illinois. (

For information on Professions in Radiology, visit

Radiological Society of North America

Related Artificial Intelligence Articles from Brightsurf:

Physics can assist with key challenges in artificial intelligence
Two challenges in the field of artificial intelligence have been solved by adopting a physical concept introduced a century ago to describe the formation of a magnet during a process of iron bulk cooling.

A survey on artificial intelligence in chest imaging of COVID-19
Announcing a new article publication for BIO Integration journal. In this review article the authors consider the application of artificial intelligence imaging analysis methods for COVID-19 clinical diagnosis.

Using artificial intelligence can improve pregnant women's health
Disorders such as congenital heart birth defects or macrosomia, gestational diabetes and preterm birth can be detected earlier when artificial intelligence is used.

Artificial intelligence (AI)-aided disease prediction
Artificial Intelligence (AI)-aided Disease Prediction Announcing a new article publication for BIO Integration journal.

Artificial intelligence dives into thousands of WW2 photographs
In a new international cross disciplinary study, researchers from Aarhus University, Denmark and Tampere University, Finland have used artificial intelligence to analyse large amounts of historical photos from WW2.

Applying artificial intelligence to science education
A new review published in the Journal of Research in Science Teaching highlights the potential of machine learning--a subset of artificial intelligence--in science education.

New roles for clinicians in the age of artificial intelligence
New Roles for Clinicians in the Age of Artificial Intelligence Announcing a new article publication for BIO Integration journal.

Artificial intelligence aids gene activation discovery
Scientists have long known that human genes are activated through instructions delivered by the precise order of our DNA.

Artificial intelligence recognizes deteriorating photoreceptors
A software based on artificial intelligence (AI), which was developed by researchers at the Eye Clinic of the University Hospital Bonn, Stanford University and University of Utah, enables the precise assessment of the progression of geographic atrophy (GA), a disease of the light sensitive retina caused by age-related macular degeneration (AMD).

Classifying galaxies with artificial intelligence
Astronomers have applied artificial intelligence (AI) to ultra-wide field-of-view images of the distant Universe captured by the Subaru Telescope, and have achieved a very high accuracy for finding and classifying spiral galaxies in those images.

Read More: Artificial Intelligence News and Artificial Intelligence Current Events is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to