This post was contributed by Geraldine McGinty, MD, MBA, FACR.
It’s been a few weeks since I headed home from ACR 2016 and I’m still buzzing. Beyond the cutting-edge educational content and the always inspiring ceremonies, what felt so energizing this year was the sense of community and the focus on patients.
We are all so busy these days and there are myriad ways to get continuing medical education, so one could ask the question: Is a face-to-face conference even relevant anymore? My takeaway from ACR 2016 was that it means more than ever.
Jenny Hoang (@jennykhoang), a Duke University neuroradiologist attending her first ACR meeting ever, described the feeling of arriving at the Marriott Wardman and meeting several Twitter friends in person for the first time and feeling immediately at home. Andy DeLaO (@cancergeek), invited because Matt Hawkins (@MattHawkinsMD) knew him from Twitter, could barely walk through the halls for all the radiologists who wanted to compliment him on his thought-provoking Moreton lecture encouraging us to “step out of the dark and into the light.” And I was thrilled to have one of my go-to sources for health care finance journalism, Sarah Kliff (@sarahkliff), share her story of shopping for an MRI as part of our economics programming. The ACR community feels more inclusive of the broader health care community, and we’re better for it.
Jim Rawson (@Jim_Rawson_MD) gave me a book at the meeting called “A World Gone Social,” and my reading has been punctuated by many “aha moments.” The notion that for an organization “social is not a campaign but a commitment” and that “omission is obsolescence” strikes a powerful chord as we think about how to maintain ACR’s relevance to radiologists and preserve the organization’s unique ability to advocate for access to imaging for our patients. Yes, there is still a little eye-rolling anymore about social media from those who still don’t quite understand its power. Believe me, I already have a list of people to whom I am going to be sending this book!
That said, I think many who were initially skeptical were impressed by the camaraderie and obvious enjoyment that attendees were taking from connecting in person with those with whom they already have virtual connections. The foundations that we have built for our ACR social community are strong, and the sustenance that those of us who are actively engaged gain from it is very real. The ability to connect face-to-face at the ACR meeting adds a unique richness to our friendships and collaborations that can only advance our mission.
I invite you to check out the ACR Social Media Page to get more information on social media use (including how to get started) and to follow the ACR social media channels (Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram). I also urge you to connect with those doctors whose handles are listed in this article and use the comments below to share your social media stories.