How Your ACR Board and Council Steering Committee Serve You

McGinty Hi RezGeraldine McGinty, MD, MBA, FACR, chair of the ACR Board of Chancellors, contributed this post.

Your American College of Radiology® (ACR®) Board of Chancellors and Council Steering Committee (CSC), as well as key ACR staff, convened last week to focus on the future of our profession. 700 pages of pre-reading ensured that participants came prepared to share their unique perspectives and experience.

Over four days, the group reviewed detailed financial statements and heard presentations on multiple important topics. Topics of discussion ranged from the impact of proposed changes to reimbursement for Evaluation and Management services that, in a budget neutral Medicare payment system, will result in a significant reduction in reimbursement for radiology and radiation oncology services, to the work that the Commission on Publications and Lifelong Learning is doing to enable evidence-based educational efforts across all the ACR’s work.

We engaged in a scenario planning exercise to prepare for a planned refresh of the ACR’s Strategic Plan in 2020. Scenario planning seeks to help organizations avoid “optimism bias” and become more adaptable in the face of an uncertain future. Potential threats and opportunities identified include innovations in drug and liquid biopsy development that might fundamentally impact the demand for imaging, and integrated diagnostics. The need for ACR to amplify its influence with stakeholders beyond those most familiar to us – like the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services and Congress – was also apparent. Importantly, scenario planning is not about trying to predict the future but rather to facilitate strategy that allows organizations to be successful whatever happens.

Time spent together in person for face to face interaction and relationship building is critically important to build trust so that we can undertake difficult decisions together as stewards of our organization. The conversations allow us to understand the diversity of our perspectives and practices.

The interactions between the Board and the CSC reinforce the power of our representative governance structure and enable more effective policy making. Dr. Traci Pritchard, attending her first leadership retreat as a member of the CSC, reflected that she felt proud to be part of a committed group of volunteer leaders that is dedicated to serving the membership and the profession. I could not agree more.

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Together, We Can Close the Gap to Breast Care Disparities

PatelAmyAmy K. Patel, MD, breast radiologist, Alliance Radiology, medical director, Liberty Hospital Women’s Imaging, assistant professor of radiology, University of Missouri-Kansas City School of Medicine, contributed this post.

At the Society of Breast Imaging Annual Meeting this year, breast radiologist expert Michael Linver, MD, FACR poignantly said something which I’ll never forget. We were discussing the topic in the general session about screening patients globally and the disparities that exist. He said, “Although these women do deserve access to mammography screening, what about women in our country who need access such as rural women? We need to be focusing on these women first.”

In many respects, I’ve made improving rural breast health my life mission. I’ve always been a staunch advocate for screening mammography and access, from lobbying on Capitol Hill to challenge U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) recommendations to helping craft legislation to ensure 2D and 3D mammography coverage for women beginning at age 40, to speaking at women’s health events, radio ads, television interviews and public events. In fact, I use social media as a means to disseminate critical screening information to a wide spread of rural patients.

The facts are startling, and frankly disappointing, in the state of Missouri. A study of 28, 536 cases of female breast cancer from 2003-2008 reported to the Missouri Cancer Registry and Research Center demonstrated that women diagnosed with breast cancer living in rural areas, regardless of race, with limited access to care, were more likely to be diagnosed with late-stage breast cancer, with the proportion greatest in African American women (66.7%) (1).

Unfortunately, this is not just exclusive to Missouri, as many states’ rural populations face similar disparities.

I fervently believe we need to take it one step further by committing to improving the quality of care in disparate areas. We need to provide support to technologists at these rural hospitals, from educating the technologists ourselves to ensuring they receive the state-of-the-art equipment they need to advocate support for hospital funding for refresher courses, yearly positioning training and more. These are critical ways which will contribute to closing the gap to health care disparities and improving imaging and access in this country.

As a breast imaging community, it’s simply our duty that we reach these communities and make a concerted effort to close the gap to breast care disparities. We must mobilize and make this population a steadfast priority, regardless of geographic location.

1. Williams F, et al. Rural-urban difference in female breast cancer diagnosis in Missouri. Rural Remote Health. 2015 Jul-Sep; 15(3):3063.

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Embracing Inclusion for All

canon19_retouchedCheri L. Canon, MD, FACR, professor and chair of radiology at the University of Alabama at Birmingham School of Medicine, contributed this post.

 The Intersociety Committee, established in 1979, is a freestanding committee staffed by the American College of Radiology. Our mission is to “establish and promote communication among the leaders of national radiological societies and to provide them with open access to all the resources of the College through the committee, with the chair serving as an ombudsman for all radiologic organizations.”

The committee meets annually to discuss topics affecting all aspects of radiology, most recently including diversity and inclusion, burnout and wellness, and building high-functioning teams. As leaders, we have the opportunity and responsibility to uphold a culture of inclusiveness and safety across members of all radiological societies.

The following Statement of Professionalism reflects our ideology of all under the House of Radiology, including radiologists, interventional radiologists, radiation oncologists and medical physicists:

We, the members of the House of Radiology, believe that every member of our many organizations should be valued and feel included. All voices should be heard.

To assure a collaborative and inclusive culture, radiologists, interventional radiologists, radiation oncologists, and medical physicists should conduct themselves in a professional manner, respecting all individuals, including patients and colleagues, and advocate for those who cannot advocate for themselves. We welcome all members. We shall not discriminate based upon gender, sexual orientation, nationality, geography, race, ethnicity, age, ability, religion, or experience.

While we embrace free speech and the power of open discourse and debate during our professional society meetings and on social media platforms, we do not condone any forms of harassment, bullying, or speech that marginalizes or attacks others, and will respond if we witness any such behavior.

By upholding this endorsed Statement of Professionalism, we promise to treat each human being with steadfast dignity, kindness and respect at all times so that our central mission remains focused on providing exceptional, compassionate care for all.

We ask all radiological societies to adopt this statement into appropriate communications and organization-specific codes of conduct. Together, we can transform the culture of the House of Radiology.

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