I was proud to deliver a check for $77,719 to RAD-AID on behalf of my generous vRad and MEDNAX colleagues at the 2019 RAD-AID Conference in Washington, DC. In just our second year, First Read Initiative added nicely to our inaugural-year gift of just over $72,000.
A brief history of First Read
First Read Initiative was the brainchild of vRad radiologist Josh Sokol. Josh learned that 60% of the world’s population – over 4 billion people – have no access to imaging technology or radiology services of any kind. He set out to rally the collective support of his 500+ fellow vRad radiologists, knowing they could change lives by making diagnostic imaging services available in unserved and underserved areas around the globe.
In two short years, well over 100 radiologists have signed up to donate their “first reads” – that is, instead of accepting compensation for the first x-ray read each workday, that money is given to the First Read Initiative. Excited by the potential of the program, vRad and MEDNAX leadership stepped in to provide logistical support to make it possible, and stepped up with financial contributions and matching incentives to promote participation.
How I got involved
I have been involved in international outreach ever since medical school, and I was significantly involved in radiology outreach in residency. I heard about First Read Initiative from the person who recruited me to vRad. She knew that aiding the medically underserved is a passion of mine. I was impressed that MEDNAX, as a company, invests in causes like First Read, and encourages their employees to get involved. Now I’m a First Read donor, and a member of the Board of Directors.
Forming partnerships that are changing lives
As it started to grow, we thought about how First Read could make the biggest impact. We realized that there are a lot of organizations and people with great ideas about how to reach medically underserved people, but what they need is funding.
We chose RAD-AID because their mission aligns perfectly with ours, and they have a lot of great projects in operation around the world, meaning our contributions can have an immediate impact for people in need, both domestically and internationally.
Through RAD-AID, we are changing lives here at home – in underserved communities in Appalachia and Washington, DC – and around the globe – including Guyana, Nigeria, Tanzania, Ghana and Laos, among other countries.
First Read Initiative’s support of RAD-AID is helping provide mobile mammography services in Washington, DC, and CT training in Guyana.
Want to help?
If you are a vRad radiologist, please consider donating one or more reads to First Read. It’s incredibly simple. Just visit the First Read page in RadHQ and indicate your intent to give. First Read was launched as a way for vRad radiologists to unite and to help make imaging more accessible throughout the world. Your contributions in the form of “reads” is the principal source of funding to make these programs possible.
If you are not a vRad radiologist, but still wish to donate time, money or equipment, please contact us through the First Read Initiative website.