Catching up with the ACR Resident and Fellow Section

Jamaal Benjamin, MD, PhD, Chair of the American College of Radiology® (ACR®) Resident and Fellow Section (RFS) Executive Committee, contributed this post.

Undoubtedly, 2020 was a tumultuous year. The stressors of the COVID-19 pandemic were magnified as radiology residents across the county were forced to adapt to ongoing challenges. Throughout this time, the ACR RFS Executive Committee has engaged in important advocacy work to support the over 9,000 ACR radiology and radiation oncology residents and fellows across the country. I’d like to take this time to share some of our biggest advocacy efforts and accomplishments from the past year.

When radiology residents were faced with the uncertainty of if and when board examinations would take place, the ACR RFS took this as an opportunity to advocate on behalf of residents. The ACR RFS was instrumental in leading an effort, unifying 17 different organization and executive committees representing the various groups within radiology. Ultimately, our efforts resulted in the formation of the Multispecialty Early Radiologic Career Coalition (MERC). Through the efforts of the ACR RFS and MERC Coalition with the American Board of Radiology, virtual remote examinations for initial certification examination were successfully implemented for the first time in February 2021.

This year, the Education and Medical Student Subcommittees spearheaded the inaugural ACR RFS Medical Student Symposium. With nearly 500 registrants to the symposium, we are extremely proud and consider this initiative to be an overwhelming success that supports our function to interact with medical students and highlight the exciting aspects of radiology to our future generations.

The past year has presented numerous challenges in both how and where we learn and train. Several radiology residents in the United States and Canada have reached out to ACR RFS regarding the American Institute for Radiology Pathology (AIRP) Case submission process and requirements. Specifically, a case submission process that could be tedious in the best of scenarios has been made even more difficult in the setting of a global pandemic. The ACR RFS is soliciting feedback on ACR Engage from residents in an attempt to make the process more user-friendly while also maintaining maximal educational benefit. AIRP is working with the RFS to address its concerns. Stay tuned for more updates on this important topic.

Navigating the job market is a complex and stressful process for young radiologists entering clinical practice. This process has become fraught with the advent of corporatization and the influence of private equity. In response to concerns of our members and in collaboration with the councilors of the Young and Early Career Professional Section of the ACR, the RFS councilors co-sponsored a resolution to the ACR Council asking for shared decision making and transparency in contract negotiations for non-partner/partnership track associates regarding all pertinent aspects of possible transfer or sale of a practice. We look forward to providing more updates on the status of the resolution.

Despite the challenges brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic, the ACR RFS remains committed to developing and distributing trainee-specific resources and policies related to leadership, advocacy, quality, economics and education. If you’re interested in serving as a leader in these efforts, please consider running for our 2021 RFS Executive Committee.

  • Learn more about the open positions on the 2021 RFS Executive Committee — and volunteer to serve today.

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Mythbusting Lung Cancer Screening, One Podcast at a Time

Debra S. Dyer, MD, FACR, Chair of the American College of Radiology® (ACR®) Lung Cancer Screening (LCS) 2.0 Steering Committee, contributed this piece.

Lung cancer remains the leading cause of cancer death in the United States. Amid an ever-changing healthcare climate, it’s more critical than ever for radiologists to connect with referring physicians to squash misperceptions about screening and to help patients return to care.

Low-dose computed tomography (LDCT) saves lives, and we must re-engage our referring providers on the countless screening benefits. Research shows that screening older current and former smokers with LDCT reduces lung cancer mortality by up to 26%, yet less than 10% of the eligible population is being screened. Unlike breast and colon cancer screening, a primary care physician must approve the patient to get LDCT screening during a shared decision-making visit.

That’s why I’m excited to share the ACR Bulletin podcast series, Mythbusting Lung Cancer Screening. The six-episode podcast is a collaborative effort of the ACR Population Health Management Committee, ACR LCS 2.0 Subcommittee and the National Lung Cancer Roundtable, and features my interviews with key members of the lung cancer screening team — the referring clinician, pulmonologist and the radiologist. These conversations highlight misperceptions and provide information to bust lung cancer screening myths.

As lung cancer kills more people than breast, colon and prostate cancers combined, recommended screening can save more lives than any cancer screening exam in history. Supporting a lung cancer screening program is an immediate step that physicians committed to health equity — and who want to ensure that all patients get the care they need — can take right now.

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Radiology’s Role in Narrowing the Disparity Gap

Carolyn C. Meltzer, MD, FACR, Professor and Chair of Radiology and Executive Associate Dean for Faculty Academic Advancement, Leadership & Inclusion at the Emory University School of Medicine, contributed this post.

You’ve likely heard it before — radiology holds a unique position in patient care. With elements ranging from initial diagnosis to treatment, our role is a critical component of the care continuum. As we continue the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic, and encourage patients to #ReturnToCare and seek their preventive screenings, the health disparities that our underserved communities face have been increasingly magnified.

As radiologists, we must utilize the opportunity to address health equity in the United States. We must become aware of our own biases and the impact they have on our departments, organizations and communities. Our decision making is only made stronger by utilizing a diverse pool of team members. So, how can we take action?

During my RLI Leadership Essentials session, I’ll help empower radiology leaders to identify and acknowledge hidden biases and actively engage in practices to overcome them. I hope you’ll join the next live Q&A session Wednesday, Feb. 17 at noon ET.

Together, we can narrow the disparity gap.

  • Get more details about the RLI Leadership Essentials program, and register to attend the next live Q&A session Wednesday, Feb. 17 at noon ET.

Please share your thoughts in the comments section below and join the discussion on Engage (login required).