YPS Member Spotlight:Working to Empower Women
Janushi Dalal, MD, is a radiologist working at the Women’s Diagnostic Centers of Community Healthcare System in northwest Indiana. Her story begins in Northwest Indiana where, when it was time to go to college, she had ambitions of going away to business school to become a restaurant proprietor. Those aspirations were counter to her parent’s expectations that she would follow in their footsteps and become a physician. But an unexpected turn of events would take her on a different path. “Right before I was set to take off, my grandfather fell ill. I knew in that moment that I could not leave. That was the best decision I have ever made,” says Dalal.
The care she provided when her grandfather needed it most also nurtured an insight that her true strengths would be best put to use in medicine. This led her on a path to medical school at the Indiana University School of Medicine, followed by residency at Loyola University Medical Center in Illinois. During her training, she was exposed to mentors that would help shape her future, like Valerie P. Jackson, MD, FACR, executive director of the ABR and president-elect of the RSNA, who made Dalal realize that she wanted to empower women to take charge of their own health.
This led her on the path to becoming a breast radiologist, for which she completed training at Northwestern Medicine Prentice Women’s Hospital in Chicago. When it came time to decide where to practice, Dalal’s ties to her home community played a strong role in her decision. “One of the main reasons I wanted to come back home was that I wanted to serve the community that had supported me my entire life,” says Dalal.
Practicing with Community Healthcare Partners is allowing her to do just that. Having been a part of the community for so long she has an immediate connection with her patients. That bond carries through the course of their care because she sees them at each stage — screening, consultation, treatment, and follow-up. “When you get the news about cancer, it's unimaginably difficult. Women usually think about everyone else in that moment. They never think ‘it’s about me’. They say ‘I’m going to do this for my family.’ And when I see them at follow-up, they’re all universally stronger than they ever believed they could be,” she observes.
That blossoming of strength and resilience is part of what drives Dalal to want to work harder to provide innovative ways to improve cancer detection for her patients, which has now taken the form of a trial offering abbreviated breast MRI for supplemental screening.
Dalal, has found support from #RadChicks to help her in her efforts to promote screening mammography and as a source of emotional support when managing difficult cases. “We are a band of sisters that will continue to serve, one woman at a time,” says Dalal.
That sense of community and support is more accessible than ever, and it has the potential to guide efforts to improve care for all of our patients. As Dalal eloquently summarized, “I am so fortunate to be practicing at a time where women feel more empowered than ever. Because of women fighting to improve screening methods, so much energy and research is going into advancing this field. We need more young men and women to help us all to ensure that as many women as possible get screened.” She adds, “Feeling that passion is the most important thing for future and young physicians. If you have that passion, nothing will ever stop you from achieving your goals.”
By ACR YPS Communications Liaison David C. Mihal, MD