RSNA Member Spotlight: Anne Darrow, MD, MA

Learn more about a fellow RSNA member

Anne Darrow, MD, MA

Anne Darrow, MD, MA, (she/her) is a breast imaging specialist at the University of Chicago. She earned a bachelor’s degree in anthropology at the University of California, Berkeley, and a master’s degree in education at the University of Southern California. Dr. Darrow managed health and wellness programs for middle and high school students for a decade before returning to medical school.

Dr. Darrow earned her medical degree at the University of Illinois at Chicago where she was inducted into the Gold Humanism Honor Society, an organization that recognizes individuals in the medical field who demonstrate outstanding humanistic traits in their professional and personal endeavors. She completed her diagnostic radiology residency at Cook County Health in Chicago.

A member of the board of directors of the American Association for Women in Radiology, Dr. Darrow is also president of the resident and fellows section of the Illinois Radiological Society and the Chicago Radiological Society. She has served on diversity, equity and inclusion committees for her medical school and residency, the American College of Radiology and the Society of Breast Imaging.

What or who sparked your interest in radiology?

I became interested in medical imaging when I worked as a domestic violence counselor and gave talks about the impact of violence on the brain. I was fascinated to find images that showed different areas of the brain lighting up with activity—or a lack thereof—after exposure to trauma. I was curious to understand more about the imaging modalities. In my subsequent work in education administration, I continued to use imaging to supplement the lessons I led in health curriculum trainings with teachers and in class presentations with students. Additionally, I have always been interested in and committed to women’s health and community advocacy. I am thrilled to pursue a career in breast imaging, which combines my passion for patient advocacy with radiology.

Anne Darrow, MD, MA poses with others at Radiology Leadership Institute 2023

What has been the best professional accomplishment in your career?

I am passionate about health equity and medical education. I envision a future with more health equity for underserved populations, and I am motivated to work toward this goal in my personal and professional life. I am very proud to have implemented a state-wide program which focuses on LGBTQI+ health equity.

I authored a funded grant proposal to the American College of Radiology to support outreach to local pre-medical and medical students, radiology residents, attendings and staff to share information about transgender imaging and LGBTQI+ equity. I collaborated with incredible mentors and colleagues on the program development and implementation and was lucky to build meaningful connections through this work. I was honored to share program highlights as a speaker in the RSNA Fast 5 in 2023.

Beyond the grant term, I have continued to volunteer my time to update one of the popular components of the program, a presentation on transgender imaging. This topic is not covered in most radiology training programs. I wanted to learn more about this topic myself and was motivated to share what I learned with others. The talk has evolved into a grand rounds lecture that I have shared with programs far beyond my state via ongoing online and in-person guest visits. I am excited to continue this work and collaborate with others who share similar passions and interests to keep the program going and increase its impact.  

Anne Darrow, MD, MA with family

What has been the biggest challenge you have faced in building your career? 

Every challenge I have faced has also presented me with opportunities for growth, and I have always been the type of person to look for the silver lining in any situation. When I was in college and my younger siblings were in elementary school, my stepmother was diagnosed with metastatic breast cancer. After a few years of treatment, she succumbed to the disease. My father’s health took a downturn when he was widowed, and he spent the next few years in and out of the hospital. Family has always been a high priority for me so I did everything I could to provide a stable environment for my younger siblings, helping to care for them and for our father, until his death.

By the time my siblings were nearly independent, I was married, and my spouse and I had the incredibly good fortune to become pregnant at the same time, each carrying one of our children. The babies were born just before I matriculated in medical school, and parenting newborns while studying for exams was a whole different kind of challenge. I am happy I could help care for my parents, my siblings and my own children over the years. I believe that my many experiences have helped me develop excellent time management skills and become resilient, flexible and strong. 

What RSNA resources have you used to assist you with your professional development and in your daily practice?

I absolutely love the RSNA annual meeting! When I started medical school, I was paired with a radiology mentor because I wanted to learn more about the field. At my first meeting with the mentor, he told me about RSNA and encouraged me to join and to attend the annual meeting, which he described as “Disneyland for radiologists!” I am so happy to have connected with him. I followed his advice and I still remember the overwhelming sense of awe I felt walking into the annual meeting as a first-year medical student—"Disneyland for radiologists” was the most accurate and excellent description!

I was hooked and have attended every year since, making innumerable life-changing connections and learning from world-renowned experts. I am so impressed each year with all the cutting-edge innovation and education provided. When talking with medical students, I always pass along the same advice, encouraging them to join RSNA to experience the “Disneyland magic” of the annual meeting! Of course, RadioGraphics is an invaluable resource, and all the online education is fantastic.

Anne Darrow, MD, MA poses with dance troupe.

When you’re not working, how do you like to spend your free time?

I love to travel, I think it is such a wonderful way to learn, grow and connect with others. I enjoy being outdoors and staying active. I love running along the Chicago lakefront, kayaking the river, running 5ks with my kids or longer runs with friends, and photographing all the beauty I encounter each day.

Any sort of zipline or adventure course is also right up my alley—in fact, I managed an outdoor adventure challenge course for a few years prior to medical school. I grew up in Napa, CA, and hiking the northern California hills, taking in the majestic views of the redwood forests and exploring the California coast or any outdoor recreation site have always been some of my favorite pastimes.

I love dancing, especially bachata, salsa and mambo, and I have performed with dance companies in Chicago and San Francisco. I love connecting with people, spending time with my family and making new friends. I think we all have something in common and there is always something to learn from every interaction.

For More Information

Connect with Dr. Darrow on social media:


Instagram: @DrRadIDEA

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