Krystyna Barnard
January 9, 2020

Today, the Department of Radiology named Lucy Spalluto, MD, MPH, Associate Professor of Radiology, its first Vice Chair of Health Equity. 

In this role, Dr. Spalluto will be responsible for fostering an environment that understands and values health equity: the fair and just opportunity for everyone to be as healthy as possible. She will oversee the department’s health equity-focused initiatives, including the development of educational programming, and will help establish community-based partnerships to address health disparities.  

Establishing a position in the department that is dedicated to health equity is in response to Vanderbilt University Medical Center’s (VUMC) decision to implement an Office of Health Equity – separate from VUMC’s Office of Diversity and Inclusion – earlier this year. 

“While our diversity and inclusion efforts have focused on the health care workforce, our health equity efforts will focus on improving health outcomes for diverse populations,” said Dr. Spalluto. “Vanderbilt radiology’s commitment to provide departmental resources and infrastructure to address health disparities provides an opportunity to improve health for all. These efforts can serve as an innovative model for other institutions.”

Dr. Spalluto, who also serves as Associate Director for the Department of Radiology’s Office of Diversity and Inclusion and Director of Women in Radiology, will use a three-pronged strategy to build upon VUMC’s existing health equity initiatives. She will work closely with Consuelo Wilkins, MD, MSCI, VUMC’s Vice President of Health Equity, to ensure the department’s efforts align with those of the Medical Center. The strategy focuses on: 

Community: Partnering with community stakeholders to identify and address health disparities

Research: Providing support and mentoring for faculty and trainees interested in pursuing research to address health disparities

Learning: Designing a curriculum to enhance faculty, trainee and staff understanding of health equity

“I look forward to collaborating with an interprofessional and interdisciplinary team to achieve these goals,” said Dr. Spalluto. 

“I applaud the Department of Radiology’s commitment to advancing health equity and to understanding and addressing systemic issues that contribute to health disparities,” added Dr. Wilkins. “Dr. Spalluto’s new role aligns with our vision of integrating health equity across the Medical Center, and I look forward to working with her on health equity initiatives that build on radiology’s innovative programs.”

Initiatives already lined up include a March 2020 Radiology Grand Rounds on the topic of health equity featuring Dr. Wilkins and Elisa Friedman, MS, Assistant Vice President for Community and Population Health in the Office of Health Equity. Content for the lecture will be informed by the December 2019 health equity design thinking session with faculty, staff, trainees and patients.

“We are thrilled that Dr. Spalluto will be our inaugural Vice Chair of Health Equity,” said Reed Omary, MD, MS, Carol D. and Henry P. Pendergrass Professor and Chair, Department of Radiology. “We are pioneering this position, which may be the first one of its kind in any radiology department in the nation. Dr. Spalluto will catalyze much needed attention towards health equity within the entire field of radiology, just as she successfully did when launching our Women in Radiology program.”

Dr. Spalluto earned her medical degree from the University of Virginia School of Medicine. She completed her residency training in diagnostic radiology at Brown University, and her fellowship in women’s imaging at VUMC. In 2014, Dr. Spalluto joined Vanderbilt as faculty in the Breast Imaging and Women’s Imaging sections. In 2019, she completed the VA Quality Scholars Fellowship Program in Health Services Research and Vanderbilt University’s Master of Public Health program. 

Since 2015, she has served on the American College of Radiology’s Commission for Patient- and Family-Centered Care. In addition, she was recently named President of the American Association for Women in Radiology at the 2019 Radiological Society of North America’s Annual Meeting where she delivered talks on equity and access to imaging, programs for mentoring women in radiology, and patient engagement and comparative effectiveness research in imaging.