Scott Widemon, MD, Receives 2023 ASFNR-NMA Joint Award

April 13, 2023

Fourth-year radiology resident Scott Widemon, MD, is the first recipient of a new award sponsored by the American Society of Functional Neuroradiology (ASFNR) and the National Medical Association (NMA). The award, totaling $8,000, will help fund his research project, "Microstructural Abnormalities of the Olfactory Tracts in Recovered COVID-19 Patients with Persistent Olfactory Dysfunction."

Created in 2022, the ASFNR-NMA Joint Award is intended to help increase the number of underrepresented minority radiologists engaged in the field of functional neuroradiology. One candidate is selected every other year from both faculty and trainee applicants. Awardees receive research funding as well as ASFNR membership and registration for two consecutive annual meetings.

"This award will afford me the opportunity to learn more about fMRI as well as to extend my network in this exciting field," says Widemon.

Widemon's research uses fMRI imaging techniques to examine structural and functional changes within the central olfactory system in long COVID19 patients experiencing changes in olfaction. "We hope to better understand how the primary olfactory cortex is affected in this cohort," Widemon says. "Given anatomical overlap of the olfactory and limbic systems, we will also correlate imaging data with changes in memory, stress ,and emotion, as these neuropsychological features are also affected in long COVID patients." 

Now in his final year of residency, Widemon will continue his training at John's Hopkins for a Neuroradiology Fellowship. “We’re thrilled that Scott Widemon’s contributions both to medical research and diversity in medicine are recognized by this inaugural award,” says Diego Jaramillo, MD, MPH, professor of radiology and interim chair of the Department of Radiology.

As a resident at Columbia, Widemon has been an active member of organizations involved in increasing diversity in medicine, including the Department of Radiology Diversity Committee and the Vagelos College of Physicians and Surgeons chapter of Black Men in Medicine.

"I will always advocate for perspectives from others because the data published by our scientific community should reflect the diversity of the people benefiting from its discovery," says Widemon. "This commitment to embracing diversity in science and across our culture will ultimately make our society more representative and thus stronger."