Dr. Carolynn DeBenedectis, MD
Dr. Carolynn DeBenedectis, MD, is an associate professor for the Department of Radiology at the University of Massachusetts Medical School, specializing in diagnostic radiology and breast imaging. Pulse ISM is excited to share how her work in radiology has made her a great advocate and role model for other women pursuing a career in radiology.
While Dr. DeBenedectis was completing her third year of medical school at Georgetown University, she had a hard time deciding what to specialize in because she found herself enjoying all of the rotations she was assigned. Consequently, she pursued radiology because it allowed her to work all her loved rotations, but from a diagnostic imaging perspective. After medical school, Dr. DeBenedectis completed her fellowship in women’s imaging at Harvard University Medical School and her residency in diagnostic radiology at Brown University.
Helps Advance Radiology through Academic Medicine
Though Dr. DeBenedectis didn’t initially plan on working in academic medicine, she became very involved in academic research and realized that opportunities were waiting for her in academia. Through academia, Dr. DeBenedectis can help advance the field by continuing research and passing on her knowledge to future generations of radiologists.
“I enjoy the process of designing studies and conducting research, especially research that helps make radiology a better place for everyone and helps find better ways to educate future radiologists,” said DeBenedectis.
Compassionate Patient Focus
Dr. DeBenedectis enjoys working in academia; her favorite part of her job is connecting with her patients. Her passion for working with patients led her to create the first simulated communication skills training program to help residents communicate better with patients during procedures. Successful since its launch in 2015, the program is now included in the American College of Radiology’s curriculum for residents. By creating this program, Dr. DeBenedectis has been able to help make sure incoming radiologists are prepared to properly communicate with patients, even when they must deliver life-changing results.
“I enjoy supporting my patients through good and bad times. I like to give them good news when their imaging is negative, and I like to hold their hand and walk them through a new breast cancer diagnosis,” said DeBenedectis.
A Trusted Mentor
Dr. DeBenedectis also loves working with young radiologists and has dedicated much time to mentoring and advocating for women and other underrepresented groups in radiology. To help them succeed, she mentors students through their residency, fellowship, and into their professional careers. She works with these students to get through any obstacles during their education and pushes them to reach their full potential and career goals.
Strong Parental Leave Advocate
One of Dr. DeBenedectis’ most recent and admirable efforts to help women in radiology was advocating for adequate parental leave for radiology trainees to the American Board of Radiology. Allowing for a longer parental leave will relieve stress for radiology students, especially women, who start families while completing their residency or fellowship. Implementing a more extended parental leave will allow the trainees to properly find a balance between work and their role as a parent, which Dr. DeBenedectis admits she struggled with when she had her daughter during her residency. The new policy will take effect for the 2021-2022 academic year, which Dr. DeBenedectis hopes will help the field maintain more excellent women radiologists and attract more women to pursue a career in radiology.
Dr. DeBenedectis has made many outstanding accomplishments in radiology. She has helped lay the foundation for more women to pursue a career in radiology and take on leadership roles in the field. She has also made a meaningful impact on patient care through participating in countless research studies and creating her communication training program. Her hard work is admirable, and she is an excellent example of a strong, intellectual woman in radiology.
By Melanie Holzer
Recent graduate from the University of Missouri with a bachelor’s degree in journalism with an emphasis in strategic communication and a minor in business administration.