Navigating Difficult Days with Collaboration and Resiliency

Geraldine B. McGinty, MD, MBA, FACR, chair, American College of Radiology Board of Chancellors, contributed this post.

We are facing an unprecedented time, but we are a resilient community, and we will persevere. Many of you may be facing challenges navigating working from home while caring for your children. You may also be worried about friends and family, or your own physical and mental health. But perhaps most importantly, you are likely concerned about how COVID-19 will impact the health of the patients and communities we serve.

Yet I’m so inspired and sustained by the collaboration happening on our platforms, like Engage. I encourage you, if you haven’t already, to please join that community and keep in touch with us. Keep in touch with each other.

I’d like to highlight some of the latest radiology resources the American College of Radiology® (ACR®) is making available:

Additionally, your ACR Government Relations team is working furiously to ensure that whatever version of the relief bill goes forward does not include provisions that could impact your long term ability to provide care to your patients.

The ACR is here to support you throughout this rapidly evolving situation. Our radiology community is stronger together, even as we stay far apart.

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

COVID-19: Updates for Radiologists

Thorwarth_20140414_008William T. Thorwarth Jr., MD, FACR, chief executive officer of the American College of Radiology, contributed this post.

I want to thank all radiologists, allied professionals and health care workers on the front lines of our efforts to fight the Coronavirus (COVID-19).

The American College of Radiology® (ACR®) is monitoring communications from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the World Health Organization (WHO) and other reliable sources to keep you informed on the latest medical and radiological community guidance to help you protect patients and providers from COVID-19.

As such, the COVID-19 Radiology-Specific Resources section on ACR.org will be continually updated to offer access to critical, up-to-date information for all radiologists. I’ve also outlined the latest guidelines below:

Rescheduling Non-Urgent Care
The ACR fully supports and recommends compliance with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDS) guidance that advises medical facilities to “reschedule non-urgent outpatient visits as necessary.”  This includes non-urgent imaging and fluoroscopy procedures, including but not limited to: screening mammography, lung cancer screening, non-urgent computed tomography (CT), ultrasound, plain film X-ray exams, and other non-emergent or elective radiologic and radiologically guided exams and procedures. Radiologists should work with their referring physicians to review and reschedule such exams.

COVID-19 Diagnosis
Chest radiography and computed tomography (CT) should not be used to screen for or as a first-line test to diagnose COVID-19. Instead, CT should be used sparingly and reserved for hospitalized, symptomatic patients with specific clinical indications for CT. Radiologists should familiarize themselves with the CT appearance of COVID-19 infection in order to be able to identify findings consistent with infection in patients imaged for other reasons.

Get more details.

Reducing Risk of On-Site COVID-19 Infection
Please review these resources:

I encourage you to bookmark the ACR’s COVID-19 Radiology-Specific Resources, share them with your colleagues, and monitor updates from CDC, WHO and other reliable sources at your institutions.

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

Empowering Women in Medical Physics

Ashley Rubinstein

Ashley Rubinstein, PhD, a medical physics resident at the UTHealth McGovern Medical School, contributed this article.

As we celebrate the achievements of women across the globe this Women’s History Month, I want to take a few moments to honor women who have made extraordinary contributions to the advancement of medicine — and, in particular, medical physics.

A medical physicist myself, I’m inspired by pioneers like Marie Curie, the first woman to win a Nobel Prize, let alone win the Nobel Prize twice, and a physicist who made groundbreaking discoveries, developing the field of nuclear physics and implementing the use of radiation in medical imaging and therapy.

Edith Quimby changed the trajectory of thyroid disease treatment, brain tumor diagnosis and nuclear medicine. She won numerous awards, including the Janeway Medal from the American Radium Society, honorary degrees from Whitman College and Rutgers University. She served on the Atomic Energy Commission and was a founding member of the American Association of Physicists in Medicine (AAPM).

Rosalyn Yalow, another pioneer in medical physics, won a Nobel Prize for developing the radioimmunoassay. She won several awards throughout her career and was elected as a member of the National Academy of Sciences. Along with Quimby, Yalow was a charter member of the AAPM and her contributions greatly impacted our field.

Throughout my career, I’ve been privileged to learn from female mentors, including my chair of radiology, program director and chief of physics. But I also realize how incredibly fortunate I am to have direct access to female leaders in my field.

The State of Gender Diversity in Medical Physics, a recent article published in Medical Physics, reported that as of 2019, only 23% of AAPM members are women. What’s more, women only accounted for 12% of members reporting clinical leadership roles. There is a clear gender disparity in the field, especially among those holding leadership positions. This isn’t to say that things aren’t improving – the latest report from the Society of Directors of Academic Medical Physics Programs found that 42% of first-year medical physics PhD students were women. Contrast that with a report from the American Institute of Physics showing that only 20% of first-year physics PhD students were women.

This change is in large part due to the American College of Radiology® (ACR®), AAPM and other organizations making substantial positive strides towards increasing representation all-around and achieving gender equity. From increasing access to resources and support to developing diversity and inclusion-focused committees, these institutions are providing the tools we need to tackle gender equity.

I am lucky to have trained in a time and place where I was supported by mentors and guided by trailblazers like Curie, Quimby, and Yalow. When I applied for the ACR’s Richard L. Morin, PhD, Fellowship in Medical Physics, I did so with the privilege of not having to fight against all odds to get there. The fellowship gave me the opportunity to attend the ACR annual meeting and Capitol Hill Day, participating in various advocacy efforts and meeting with ACR staff members at their headquarters in Reston, Va. I learned the importance of demonstrating the value that the medical physics community holds. I found my voice advocating for my field, and I hope to empower other medical physicists to do the same.

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