Dr. Cheri Canon, M.D., FACR, FSAR, FAAWR, is a Professor and Chair of Radiology at the University of Alabama Birmingham (UAB) School of Medicine. She is also the Chief Ambulatory Officer at UAB Medicine Ambulatory Practice. After being in the radiology field for nearly 30 years, Dr. Canon has become a renowned radiologist with many honorable accomplishments.
Dr. Canon went to medical school at the University of Texas Medical Branch, where she intended on pursuing a career in orthopedics. After taking an elective course in radiology, Dr. Canon completed her residency in diagnostic radiology at the University of Alabama Birmingham. She fell in love with academics during her residency after presenting a scientific abstract at a national professional organization. Dr. Canon found that she loved the intellectual environment and the interdisciplinary care that exists within academia. Following her residency, she joined the faculty at UAB Medicine, where she still resides today.
Throughout her career, Dr. Canon has been a leader for many different programs and organizations. She currently sits on the board of governors for the American Board of Radiology, Association of University Radiologists, the Society of Abdominal Radiology, and the Academy of Radiology Research Academic Council. Some of her past leadership positions include the Program Director of UAB Radiology Residency Program, the vice-chair of UAB SOM Medical Education Committee, the vice-chair of the American College of Radiology, and president of MOMENTUM Women’s Executive Leadership Program.
Dr. Canon has also received many awards for her work in radiology. She is a 2021 American College of Radiology (ACR) Gold Medal recipient for her outstanding contributions to the organization and the radiology field. Some of the other recent awards she has received include the American Association for Women Radiologists Marie Sklodowska-Curie Award in 2020 and the Yellowhammer Women of Impact Award in 2020.
Helping Women Become Leaders
Dr. Canon has served as a catalyst for creating programs to help women in radiology achieve their leadership positions. She is the co-founder and co-director of the Society of Chairs in Academic Radiology Departments (SCARD) and GE Healthcare LEAD (Leading, Empowering, and Disrupting) Women’s Leadership Program. The goals of these programs are to provide resources to increase the number of women in leadership positions within radiology. As the president of SCARD, Dr. Canon has a voice on the national stage and advocates for topics such as paid parental leave and wellness and resiliency. By working to fix obstacles that women radiologists face daily, she hopes that the number of female chairs in radiology will equal the number of male chairs one day.
Achieving Diversity is Challenging
While diversity is a hot topic in radiology, Dr. Canon admits there has been only minor progress in diversifying the field. Women hold only 19 percent of radiology chairs, resulting from multiple barriers women face in the field, such as inadequate pay and prejudice. Dr. Canon believes that placing more women into leadership positions will be a challenge but will also create opportunities for the field.
When Dr. Canon isn’t working, her favorite place to be is at the beach. She loves sitting in the warm sun and enjoying the view of the horizon. Another one of her favorite activities is camping with her family and enjoying time outdoors. Dr. Canon is very involved within the Birmingham community in multiple organizations, such as the Birmingham Rotary Club.
Dr. Canon exemplifies what it means to be a strong women leader in the medical field. She has made a significant impact in radiology and actively works towards making it a more inclusive and innovative field. Women such as Dr. Canon lay a strong foundation for women to succeed in radiology despite the obstacles they continually face.