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Scheel joins Radiology with emphasis on planetary, global health

Nov. 29, 2022, 3:46 PM

John Scheel, MD, PhD, MPH

by Holly Fletcher

John Scheel, MD, PhD, MPH, has joined Vanderbilt University Medical Center’s Department of Radiology and Radiological Sciences as an associate professor and the department’s vice chair of Global and Planetary Health, a newly created position.

Scheel, who has spent time in strengthening health care delivery and training local clinicians, will collaborate with colleagues internally and across the field of radiology in his new role to foster sustainable diagnostic programs that further both human and planetary health, said Reed Omary, MD, MS, Carol D. and Henry P. Pendergrass Professor and chair of Vanderbilt’s Department of Radiology and Radiological Sciences.

“Vanderbilt Radiology takes great pride in expanding the boundaries of radiology and influencing others in health care to do the same. For instance, we pioneered programs for women in radiology and diversity, equity, and inclusion that are now nationwide models. To this list, we now aim to add climate change and sustainability,” said Omary.

Breast imaging is a multi-disciplinary specialty so addressing the entire continuum of care is vital to good outcomes, said Scheel, who joined VUMC on Sept. 26. Radiology is involved in almost all aspects of health care delivery, uses highly sophisticated equipment and generates a lot of waste from single use products.

“In order to improve access to radiological services, I spend a lot of time outside the reading room looking for ways to address the upstream social determinants of health,” said Scheel. “The root causes of climate change also impact women’s health, and climate change will exert more pressure on health and care delivery systems. I look forward to learning from my Vanderbilt colleagues as we work toward better, sustainable health.”

“Radiologists have always been good at scanning inside the body. Now, it’s time to become good at scanning the entire planet. After all, climate care is health care. Dr. Scheel is the perfect leader to inspire a bold future where we advocate for global human and planetary health,” said Omary.

Scheel was most recently an associate professor at the University of Washington. He received his MD and PhD degrees from the University of California, San Diego and his MPH from the University of Washington. He completed his radiology residency and breast imaging fellowship at the University of Virginia. He has worked in global health for over 11 years and brings over two decades of experience working in underserved communities to improve education and access to and delivery of health care. He is an affiliate member of the Vanderbilt Institute for Global Health.

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