D&I Council Spotlight: Dr. Luis de Jesus Sanchez

Interview of Dr. Luis De Jesus Sanchez First Year Radiology Resident by Dr. Joelle Wazen Fellow of Abdominal Imaging at the University of Chicago Medicine.

Tell us a bit about yourself (where you grew up and what influenced your decision to go into medicine).

I am a proud Puerto Rican from the town of Vega Baja. My undergraduate and medical education was completed at the University of Puerto Rico. In my free time, I love to spend time with my wife and our two golden doodles. We will probably be watching sports or exploring a new restaurant in the city.

Why did you choose Radiology?

Radiology provided me the opportunity to see almost endless interesting pathology while providing invaluable help to the clinic teams. In addition, the excitement of the future in theranostics that nuclear medicine provides drew my attention. The opportunity for remote work and the potential for great work-life balance were also determinant factors.

As a URM what are your thoughts on DEI in the medical field and Radiology specifically?

I was shocked when I learned that radiology was amongst the least diverse specialties. There is ample work to be done. I'm hopeful that we can be a catalyst for change during our generation.

How do you think UCM can improve recruitment of URM into the medical field?

We need to improve the visibility of our field. The nature of our profession limits contact with patients and medical students. If students are not aware of radiology as a potential profession there is little we can do to improve diversity. The potential of pairing URM with mentors who share a similar background would be invaluable. Potential opportunities for early exposure during the medical school curriculum may be an option. Additional summer research opportunities include subsidized grants for URM.

As a future Radiologist training at a prestigious institution, what advice would you give to other URM( or PR students) to boost their academic and professional opportunities?

The road may be difficult but you will make it. Trust yourself and your work ethic, and display how diversity leads to innovation. You provide a unique set of experiences that can’t be learned just by reading the books, don’t be afraid to showcase it.

I am aware that finding a mentorship that understands our background is sometimes difficult. Because of this, think outside the box; there is a large community willing to help. For example, social media can be of great help for applicants to network and find mentorship.