Medical Student Rotations

A letter from the Department of Radiology Vice Chair of Education,
Dr. Richard Gunderman, MD, PhD


In a recent poll conducted by Stanford economist Victor Fuchs, 300 senior US internists were asked to rank the medical innovations during their careers that have most transformed medicine and without which they would find it most difficult to practice. By a substantial margin, the top two candidates were CT and MRI. Also included in the top 10 were balloon angiography and mammography, two additional radiology-based innovations.

It is impossible for contemporary medical students to become well prepared for the practice of medicine without developing a strong foundation in the effective and efficient use of radiological diagnosis and therapy. Over 600 million such examinations are performed each year in the United States. Radiology frequently answers such vital questions as: Does my patient have a medical or surgical condition, such as pneumonia or appendicitis? If so, how far has it progressed? Is it responding to therapy?

In the radiology introductory course, electives, and senior clerkship at the IU School of Medicine, the curriculum focuses on two key learning objectives. First, students should know which common clinical situations warrant radiological imaging and which test(s) to order first. For example, in a patient presenting with new neurologic symptoms, would CT or MR be more appropriate, and is intravenous contrast material needed? We rely on the American College of Radiology's Appropriateness Criteria for evidence-based guidance.

The second major learning objective involves the interpretation of images. Students should be able to detect, describe, and offer appropriate differential diagnoses for abnormalities on common imaging examinations, including chest radiographs, abdominal radiographs, head and body CT scans, and ultrasound examinations of the abdomen and pelvis. This pertains especially to urgent findings such as pneumothorax, pneumoperitoneum, intracranial hemorrhage, and appendicitis.

Medical student education is of great importance to the Department of Radiology, and we welcome you to our field of medicine in hopes that you will become a better future clinician – and maybe even a radiologist!

Contact Information

Dr. Richard Gunderman, MD, PhD
Vice Chair of Education for Department of Radiology 

Carlene Webb-Burton
Statewide Medical Student Education Coordinator*
AOA Coordinator
Riley Hospital for Children
705 Riley Hospital Drive, Room 1053
Indianapolis, IN 46202-5200
(317) 948-6302
Fax (317) 944-2920


*As the Medical Student Educational Coordinator for the Department of Radiology, all medical student related inquiries, visiting electives, and clerkship related items should be directed to Carlene Webb-Burton.

550 N. University Blvd. Rm 0663 | Indianapolis, IN 46202 | Ph: (317) 944-1866 | Fax: (317) 715-6474