Healthcare disparities exist and can be ameliorated with attention to best practices for our patients and the healthcare team that serves them. Our leadership team strives to meet servant-leadership qualities, to improve transparency, to examine our workplace practices and to foster each individual so that they can reach their greatest potential.
Who We Are
International Professionals + African American & Black + Asian + Hispanic + Native American + LGBTQ + Christian, Muslim, Hindu, Jewish, Non-Religious, Spiritual, Buddhist + First-Generation + All Gender.Caption: Radiology Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Committee, 2023 #raddiversity
|“Fostering diversity, equity, and inclusion in a complex and competitive environment such as an academic medical center is certainly a challenge. However, it is a task that we approach with a sense of humility and service. Establishing a department that is built on inclusion begins with leadership grounded in transparency and vulnerability. It is our purpose to create an environment where all individuals are given the space to express his/her/their own vulnerabilities and strengths in a safe and supportive atmosphere that celebrates our unique traits and sees each stumbling block as a challenge to figure out together. In this way, we can strive to connect with ourselves, each other and our patients.”
Raisa Durrani, MD
Chair, Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion Committee
|“I am proud to call Wake Forest Medical Center Radiology Department my work family since 2004, when I first arrived as a resident. As one of 2 African American males ever to commence this program, I have to admit that I was reserved when I first arrived. I am proud to say that the family environment and support from my colleagues and classmates were comforting and continue to be an energizing provision. While there is much work to do, I am confident and inspired in action to cultivate diversity, equity and inclusion at our institution.”
Clifford Howard, MD
Assistant Professor, Radiology Department, Breast Section
Co-Chairman Conflict of Interest Committee
|“Supporting workforce development to meet the needs of today’s patient’s means celebrating and embracing our diverse faculty and staff. Each person brings valuable experiences and perspectives to our practice.”
Bhavana Budigi, MD
Advanced Neuroradiology Fellow, PGY-7
|“Coming out as gay can feel like stepping off a cliff. I finally came out in my mid-20s after years of mental preparation. To be finally able to be open about my truth was emotional and liberating. A variant of this story is universal to every gay person, and each journey out of the closet, however long, is deeply personal and equally valid. Even though attitudes towards the LGBTQ+ community have shifted both rapidly and positively, fears of coming out still remain. Every individual who wrestles with this decision is considering possible consequences. Some are imagined, and some are real. Will my family and friends accept me? Will people judge or discriminate?
Any uncertainties I had were laid to rest when I came to Wake Forest Radiology for residency. I was relieved and gratified to find not only universal support among my work family, but also a collective desire to actively promote diversity & equity. I am proud that the department considers this a priority, and I am inspired to contribute however I can.”
Michael Hood, MD
Diagnostic Radiology Resident, Class of 2023
|“The Wake Forest Diagnostic Radiology Residency Program is committed to providing an inclusive learning environment in an effort to train all radiology residents at the very highest level. A supportive and equitable training program offers education that ensures success of a diverse cohort of residents and ultimately benefits the many patients we care for. The residency understands that we must train a diverse workforce in order to optimally provide image based medical care that reaches all people in our society, and we are committed to the recruitment, retainment, and success of a diverse residency class every year. Diversity, equity, and inclusion is paramount to the success of our residency program and our field, and we understand that diversity makes us all better and more compassionate physicians.”
Carol Geer, MD and Scott Wuertzer, MD
Program Directors, Radiology
|“As a translational neuroimaging researcher born and raised in India and moved to USA for higher education, I continue to build an inclusive culture that encourages, supports, and celebrates diversity in my research lab. It strongly fuels our innovation and connects us closer to our ultimate research goal of improving the health of every single individual. I strongly believe in creating an environment where everyone from any background can do their best work and is the best thing to do.”
Kiran K Sai, PhD
Assistant Professor of Radiology
Director of Cyclotron and Radiochemistry
|"Our Department of Radiology at Wake Forest University Health Sciences is working to build an environment built on inclusion, diversity, equity and justice. Healthcare disparities exist and can be ameliorated with attention to best practices for our patients and the healthcare team that serves them. Our leadership team strives to meet servant-leadership qualities, to improve transparency, to examine our workplace practices, and to foster each individual so that they can reach their greatest potential."
Chris Whitlow, MD, PhD
Chair, Department of Radiology
|"The department of Radiology strives to honor our Culture Commitments by creating a space where all belong. In embracing diverse perspectives, we enrich our diagnostic approach, ensuring nuanced understanding and tailored care for every patient. Equity dismantles barriers, fostering an environment where talent flourishes irrespective of background. Inclusion nurtures a culture where all voices are heard, empowering every team member to contribute their unique strengths. Together, these principles not only enhance patient outcomes but also cultivate a workplace where innovation thrives to better the now and create the future. As a member of this committee, I'm committed to championing these values, fostering a medical community that mirrors the rich tapestry of humanity we serve."
Cole Clark, BSN, RN
Business Administrator, Radiology
|"Being an International medical graduate (IMG), I understand the challenges and as well the significance of having diversity in the medicine workforce in order to provide culturally competent care for the patients. The 2019 State Physician Workforce Data Report found that nationally, almost 25 percent of active physicians providing care in the United States are IMGs. They are more likely than US medical graduates to practice in underserved areas and treat racial or ethnic minority and lower-income populations. I am so proud of our institute and department for exemplifying diversity in our physician population."
Janardhana Ponnatapura, MD, DABR
Cardiothoracic Radiology Section Chief
|Anita Thomas, MD
|Associate Professor, Nuclear Medicine
|Director, Coding & Billing
|Bhavana Budigi, MD
|Fellow, Advanced Neuroradiology
|Carol Geer, MD
|Program Director, Wake Forest Diagnostic Radiology
|Cliff Howard, MD
|Assistant Professor, Mammography
|Denise Marie Grady, APRN
|Nurse Practitioner, Nuclear Medicine
|Jason Allen Powell, MD
|Assistant Professor, Musculoskeletal Radiology
|Julia Schoen, MD
|Resident, Class of 2023
|Kiran Solingapuram Sai, PhD
|Associate Professor, Center for Substance Use and Addiction
|Lee Patella, RN
|Patient Liaison, Vein Services
|Megan Lipford, PhD
|Mike Zapadka, MD
|Associate Professor, Neuroradiology
|Michael Hood, MD
|Resident, Class of 2023
|Paige Bennett, MD
|Professor, Nuclear Medicine
|Paul Bunch, MD
|Assistant Professor, Neuroradiology
|Raisa Durrani, MD (co-chair)
|Assistant Professor, Interventional Radiology
|Scott Wuertzer, MD
|Program Director, Wake Forest Diagnostic Radiology
|Tatum Johnson, MD
|Assistant Professor, Body and Mammography
|Tristan Lawson, MD
|Resident, Class of 2022
|Wendy Rash, NP
|Nurse Practitioner, Interventional Radiology
Safe Zone LGBTQ+ Training
We are committed to a safe, welcoming, and inclusive environment for all members of the LGBTQ+ community.
Most recent workshop:
September 28, 2021 at 7:30 a.m. and noon
Radiology Up-Stander Workshop
September 16 – media forthcoming
Women in Radiology
Mentoring event – August 30, 2021
Virtual Yoga – March 2021
- Women in Radiology
- The Kennedy Hopkins Scholars Mentor Program, named for Dr. Charlie Kennedy and Dr. Larry Hopkins, was founded in 2018 at Wake Forest Baptist Health as a mechanism of professional and personal support, empowerment and inclusion of our underrepresented minority residents and fellows.
The Maya Angelou Center for Health Equity (MACHE) supports the learning health care system in advancing health equity and population health research by aligning scientific discoveries with best practices.
The Office of Student Inclusion and Diversity supports the educational mission of Wake Forest School of Medicine by promoting an environment of excellence and by recruiting and retaining students from diverse backgrounds.
Diversity-Focused Student Groups
Cultural Awareness Council
Safe Zone in Medicine Training helps individuals deepen their understanding of LGBTQ+ identities and healthcare-related issues. It builds confidence in caring for patients, mentoring students and communicating with colleagues from the LGBTQ+ community, while fostering reflection on topics such as inclusion, discrimination and heteronormative privilege.
Wake Active Bystander Training helps individuals interrupt and appropriately respond to certain situations that involve racism, bias or discrimination in order to create an inclusive environment.
Affinity Groups encompass staff, providers, faculty and learners linked by a common identity or experience. These groups play an important role at Wake Forest Baptist Health by helping to cultivate an inclusive environment where all feel valued and all voices are heard.
- White Allies for Human Equity
Women in Radiology - The current reality is that women represent only a fraction of in-training and practicing radiologists, and as such are not often afforded the opportunity to collaborate merely has chance would have it.
Diversity and Inclusion Statements
Wake Forest University School of Medicine is an equal opportunity employer fully committed to achieving a diverse workforce and complies with all applicable federal and North Carolina state laws, regulations and executive orders regarding nondiscrimination and affirmative action in its programs and activities.
Wake Forest University School of Medicine does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, religion, ethnic or national origin, gender, genetic information, age, disability, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression and veteran's status.