There’s a story behind every woman working in IR. This September, as part of the Women in Medicine month, we are happy to offer you an insight into their inspiring journeys – if you’d like to participate in an Women in IR interview or you’d like to recommend someone to be interviewed, please contact us for more information.

Dr. Alessandra Cassano-Bailey is an Interventional Radiologist at the Health Sciences Centre in Winnipeg and the Program Director for Diagnostic Radiology at the University of Manitoba.

She was born and raised in Winnipeg and began her career as a high school teacher of Chemistry and Physics later completing her degree in Medicine at the University of Manitoba. Following residency training in Diagnostic Radiology she completed a sub-specialty fellowship in Interventional Radiology at the University of Manitoba and McGill University.

Her special interests include Interventional Oncology where in 2013 she initiated the Transarterial Chemoembolization program.

In addition to being a wife, mother of two and former university basketball player, she was the first practicing female Interventional Radiologist in the Province of Manitoba.

What brought you to interventional radiology?

After completing almost 3 years of residency training in General Surgery, it was during an elective in Radiology where I gained an appreciation for the incredible impact that Radiology, and later Interventional Radiology, have on all fields of medicine from Pediatrics to Geriatrics to Internal Medicine to General Surgery.  Shortly thereafter I transferred to Radiology and IR immediately became a field that combined my love of procedural work, patient interaction and clinical problem solving.

What is one remarkable moment/achievement in your career?

Starting the Interventional Oncology program at the University of Manitoba in 2013 and then performing the first TACE case in Manitoba.

What are some challenges women working in IR face?

This career has embraced capable women able to meet the rigors and challenges required of any physician in this field. Currently there are four women in the CAIR Board female including the incoming President. All of us are parents and able to balance this with a busy and exciting career. One issue is the lack of visibility of women in this specialty and we, as the Board of Directors, are working to address this.

What is one thing that is exciting about the future of IR?

The endless procedure possibilities limited only by the technological development in the equipment we use and the imagination in how we use it.

Any hobbies, what do enjoy doing outside of work?

I played basketball in university and still enjoy playing court sports including volleyball. I’m a lover of animals and particularly a saltwater reef enthusiast.

What is one interesting thing you want to share with us about you? 

I am of southern Italian heritage and make the meanest, most authentic, fired oven pizza this side of the Adriatic.