A second-generation interventional radiologist, Theresa Caridi, MD, has been around the field for as long as she can remember.
Over the past several years, she has found great value in sharing her knowledge as a volunteer for the ABR and the Society of Interventional Radiology (SIR). One thought rises to the top when she explains why she’s happy to share her limited free time.
“There are a lot of reasons why it’s a positive thing to volunteer with these organizations, but the biggest driving factor is knowing that you’re affecting patient care in a positive way,” said Dr. Caridi, a clinical associate professor at the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) and associate director of the HHT Center of Excellence. She also recently became medical director for Varian Interventional Solutions, a Siemens Healthineers Company.
Dr. Caridi, who attended the University of Florida for medical school and radiology residency and completed a fellowship in vascular and interventional radiology at the University of Pennsylvania, writes questions for the ABR Qualifying (Core) Exam. She also has filled numerous volunteer roles for SIR, including serving as chair of its foundation’s board of directors.
She said her ABR duties help keep her knowledge current.
“While you’re strengthening healthcare quality and radiology quality, you’re also continuing your own learning and professional development,” said Dr. Caridi, who came to UAB from Georgetown University.
She has worked with trainees from the resident to fellowship level for the past decade, giving her a valuable perspective for writing initial certification exam questions. She understands that residents bring a variety of experiences to the exam.
“I think what is most helpful is understanding that not every organization has the same training, though there’s a tremendous effort to standardize radiology and interventional radiology education,” Dr. Caridi said.
Working with a committee has also helped her write fair and relevant questions.
“What helped me learn how to write questions and content was getting together and reviewing questions with the team,” she said. “You learn each other’s styles. We all have our individual strengths and weaknesses.”
Drew Caplin, MD, who met Dr. Caridi as a fellow ABR volunteer, recently invited her to present grand rounds at Northwell Health Physician Partners. Among his other duties, Dr. Caplin serves as the interventional radiology residency program director at Zucker School of Medicine at Hofstra University Northwell in New York.
Dr. Caplin’s program has 10 residents, three of whom are women. He asked Dr. Caridi to present because he wanted his residents to learn from an outstanding role model.
“It was great to see how Theresa inspired my residents, especially my female residents,” he said. “All were impressed by her accomplishments, her teaching skills, and her relatability. I am thankful that I had the opportunity to host her at Northwell and to get to know her better.”
Dr. Caridi plans to pull double duty by serving as an ABR oral examiner when she has the time. She has been willing in the past, but important life events have kept her from participating.
“It’s been on my agenda for a long time,” she said. “I’ve heard endless stories about the comradery that’s developed in that setting.”
Even in her remote item-writing committee, members have formed professional and personal connections. A shared goal of helping improve their field sparks discussions that go beyond exam content.
“It goes much deeper than being an acquaintance,” she said. “You have a shared interest in fostering the field and making sure you put out the best and highest quality product possible. The people on our committee have a passion for education. All those things combined allows for strengthening of collaborations and relationships.”