This is Our ACR

Macomber_Meghan_LCThis post was contributed by Meghan Macomber, MD, MS, a radiation oncologist and the radiation oncology representative on the American College of Radiology Young and Early Career Professional Section (ACR YPS) Executive Committee

I was fortunate to get involved with leadership positions in the American College of Radiology (ACR) as a resident. Like many young professionals, I was eager to pursue the unique opportunities these positions afforded me to attend both virtual and in-person meetings, to network with other leaders and to identify – and meet with – mentors.

These opportunities and relationships also helped me gain new perspectives on issues relating to both radiology and radiation oncology, and emphasized just how important it is to stay involved and engaged throughout all phases of our careers.

I recently graduated and started a new position with Sutter Health Radiation Oncology in Sacramento. Like many new physicians, I’ve found it can be overwhelming to start a new career while figuring out how to balance competing demands on your time. What should you focus on moving forward? How can you stay involved in the things that matter most?

For me, one of those priorities is patient quality and safety. I recently applied for – and received – an ACR Innovation Fund grant along with Dr. Matthew Spraker (an attending radiation oncology physician at Washington University) to develop educational programming that will improve patient quality and safety. This is an opportunity to advance work that I care about – and one I likely wouldn’t have had if it weren’t for my ACR membership.

The ACR offers a myriad of opportunities for leadership, networking and continued education, including lecture series, leadership courses and webinars to help you stay up to date with important issues ranging from the upcoming PAMA-AUC deadline to Leadership Essentials and everywhere in between.

I look forward to staying involved as I continue my career, and encourage all of you to do the same. Renew your ACR membership by December 31st so that you don’t miss a single opportunity to advance your career and add value for your patients.

  • What do you value most about your ACR membership?
  • What advice would you give to others about the importance of membership renewal?
  • What professional experiences and expertise have you gained from your ACR membership?

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

Radiologists and Girl Scouts Are More Alike Than You Realize

DrAscherThis post was contributed by Susan M. Ascher, MD, Professor, Vice Chair of Research, and Co-Chief of Abdominal Imaging at MedStar Georgetown University Hospital in Washington, D.C.; and President of the Society of Body Computed Tomography and MR

What do Girls Scouts and radiologists have in common? That’s what 4th year Georgetown University Hospital Radiologist Dr. Nancy Kim and I set out to discover this past weekend when we spent time with a local high school Girl Scout troop exploring what it means to be a radiologist. Given that Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) is one of Girl Scouts’ four core foundations in leadership, radiology was a natural fit.

We started the program asking a series of questions: Are radiologists physicians? Yes. Do radiologists take the images? Sometimes. Do radiologists have patient contact? Yes. How many years does it take to be a radiologist? 13+. Are there many women radiologists? We need more.

We then played a “Spot the Difference” game to introduce them to what radiologists do daily – analyze images. Next, we gave the girls a series of image pairs to test their observational and deductive skills; for example, a normal wrist paired with a wrist with a colles’ fracture. We not only asked them to identify the differences between the image pairs, but we also encouraged them to explain their thought process. Tentative at first, soon the girls were raising their hands and shouting the answers and explanations.


We ended the day with cookies (natch) and a Q&A. After we dispelled the notion that “Grey’s Anatomy” is an accurate depiction of hospital life, the girls asked about opportunities in radiology. We spoke about the successes women in radiology have achieved and the areas where more work needs to be done. We shared our hope that young women like themselves would be part of our future.

We concluded that Girls Scouts and radiologists have much in common — in fact, women radiologists embody many of the values enshrined by Girls Scouts: to have a strong sense of self; seek challenges and learn from setbacks; display positive values; take on leadership positions; and identify and solve problems!

Urban Dictionary defines a STEMinist as an advocate for increasing the presence of women in science, technology, engineering and math—I think that Dr. Kim and I were STEMinists that afternoon, and would challenge you to be STEMinist as well.

And we don’t have to wait until these young leaders reach high school! You can use resources from the newly launched RadInfo 4 Kids to help children of any age learn more about medical imaging, or replicate the efforts of a group of more than 20 ACR members who helped answer questions from an inquisitive second grade class earlier this year on Twitter.

So step away from the PACS station, step out of the dark room and reach out to your local Girls Scouts troops or other youth organizations that empower young women—it’s another opportunity to showcase our specialty, prove that #RadsHaveAFace and ensure radiology’s relevance in the coming years.

  • Have you shared what it means to be a radiologist with the young women in your community?
  • What are you doing to attract more women to our profession?

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

Radiology is Invaluable to Value-Based Care

Pamela T JohnsonThis post was contributed by Pamela T. Johnson, MD, Radiology Vice Chair Quality, Safety & Value and Physician Lead, Value-based Care at Johns Hopkins Hospital.

As the cost of health care in the United States continues to rise, so do our patients’ concerns about those costs. In fact, many American families now cite the cost of health care as their biggest financial concern, and as many as 1/3 of U.S. adults have gone without recommended care, did not see a doctor when sick or failed to fill a prescription due to cost.

That’s why I value my work as a director of the High Value Practice Academic Alliance (HVPAA) so strongly. HVPAA is a national alliance of faculty leaders from 90 partner institutions, representing 30 different medical specialties & subspecialties,  working to deliver large-scale improvements in health care value through collaborative quality improvement, education and research. The rapid growth of the organization, its national conference, contributions to the literature and approval as a CMS Provider Led Entity (QPLE) are testament that radiology is uniquely qualified to lead care redesign.

Why? Because all specialties connect to radiology, we are knowledgeable about other disciplines in medicine and we are consistently among the first specialties to embrace the critical importance of educating ourselves and other physicians regarding change and innovation.

I was honored to lead the team that won the Teaching Value Innovator Award in the 2018 Cost of Care Value Challenge for “Order Wisely: A new cross-specialty paradigm for imaging appropriateness continuing medical education.” The project involved designing a full-day continuing medical education (CME) program that reviews appropriate use of imaging exams, lab tests, medications, transfusions and other treatments. Half of the program is dedicated to appropriate use of imaging exams, since evidence shows that education about the ACR Appropriateness Criteria reduces costs by helping providers select only the most appropriate imaging, and to prepare our non-radiology colleagues for the CMS Appropriate Use Program.

I also applaud the work of Mike Cheng, MD, a principal investigator for Radiology-TEACHES, and his colleagues at the University of Chicago who were finalists in the Cost of Care Value Challenge and placed third in the category of “High Value Care Educational Curricula” for their work on Imaging Wisely: An Introduction to the ACR Appropriateness Criteria and Analysis of its Impact on Internal Medicine Residents. This project involved integrating a curriculum into the required ambulatory lecture series for internal medicine interns at the University of Chicago to introduce them to the ACR Appropriateness Criteria and teach them to apply it to case vignettes through the Radiology-TEACHES online portal.

In another recent collaboration, the HVPAA radiology team will be working with the Radiology Support, Communication and Alignment Network (R-SCANTM) team to expand the R-SCAN program’s focus areas to include all the CMS Priority Clinical Areas as described in Protecting Access to Medicare Act (PAMA). This effort is will help to ensure that radiologists and referring clinicians are working together and prepared well before the requirements take effect in 2020. The HVPAA Radiology Collaborative is co-directed by ACR member Yoshimi Anzai, MD, MPH, Associate Chief Medical Quality Officer at University of Utah, and consists of 30 radiology departments working together to improve appropriate use, standardize imaging report recommendations in accordance with the ACR White Papers and ACR Appropriateness Criteria, and develop value measures for radiology.

These initiatives and others are all creating quality educational opportunities and materials to include: the ACR Value-based Imaging Activities, the lecture videos from the Order Wisely conference, a free 4-year online high value care curriculum for medical schools and graduate medical education training programs, as well as a myriad of other resources available on the HPVAA website.

I encourage you to share these resources with other physicians and medical providers you work with in all medical specialties. Through education and collaboration, we can increase quality and affordability while easing patients’ concerns and achieve our mission of radiology-led, quality-driven care redesign.

  • How are you advancing value-based care in your radiology practice?
  • Have you signed up for the “PAMA AUC Deadline is Firm—Prepare Now for 2020!” webinar on Dec. 11 at 7pm EST? If you haven’t, register today.

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