A Special Tribute to Our Nation’s Military Radiologists

Mohammad Naeem, MD, FACR, and Jennifer Nathan, MD, Co-Chairs of the American College of Radiology® (ACR®) General, Small, Emergency and/or Rural Practice (GSER) Network Military Subcommittee, contributed this piece.

Mohammad Naeem, MD, FACR

The opinions and assertions herein are the private views of the authors and are not to be construed as official or reflecting the views of the Uniformed Services University, or Departments of the Army, Navy, Air Force or Defense.

This Veterans Day, we are honored to reflect on the evolution of the ACR GSER Network Military Subcommittee. Our efforts began in January 2017, when the ACR expressed interest in strengthening their relationship with military radiologists.

To encourage ACR military member participation, the GSER Network Military Working Group sought to devise a process for nomination for Fellowship of the American College of Radiology (FACR). Frequent transfers and military assignments prevent many military radiologists from being involved with state chapters long enough to obtain FACR nominations, so in March 2018, the Military-unique pathway to FACR was approved. Later that year, the Military Working Group became the ACR GSER Network Military Subcommittee, which now includes 25 diverse members. Some of the Subcommittee’s other notable achievements include the addition of a military-unique CME session during the ACR 2019 meeting and the creation of a dedicated military section on acr.org in 2020.

Jennifer Nathan, MD

The Subcommittee also strives to create opportunities for military radiologists to participate in various ACR educational, operational and leadership activities. In addition, the ACR is proud to offer discounts on annual membership, educational products and CME-bearing activities for military radiologists.

The Subcommittee is dedicated to protecting, promoting and projecting military radiology’s interests and image at the national level while simultaneously increasing awareness and recognition of the unique value created by these military radiologists.

The specialized training and leadership experience of military radiologists allows them to offer a unique perspective to their civilian counterparts, especially on working in austere environments with limited resources and particularly in unprecedented times such as the COVID-19 pandemic. The day-to-day non-medical responsibilities of active duty radiologists require critical thinking, effective communication skills and the ability to adapt and overcome unpredictable circumstances on short notice. These unique skill sets coupled with the military decision-making process can be applied across the healthcare system to improve care for our patients.

For example, civilian radiology practices weren’t used to taking portable X-ray machines outside the confines of the hospital at the outset of the corona virus pandemic – but their military radiology colleagues were quite adept at this, from their deployments to overseas conflict zones in the past two decades. Consequently, military radiologists were able to advise the ACR on establishing ‘radiology facilities in field hospitals,’ as well as participating in ongoing conversations on disaster response.

The evolution of the modern-day battlefield and battlefield imaging has been intertwined with personal sacrifice, unwavering dedication and professional excellence since the beginning of the profession of radiology 125 years ago. American military radiologists have been vital force multipliers in every conflict this nation has faced including the Spanish-American War, World War I, World War II, The Korean War, The Vietnam War, Desert Shield, Desert Storm, Operation Iraqi Freedom, Operation Enduring Freedom, Operation Inherent Resolve, and now, response to the emerging asymmetric national security threats such as the COVID-19 pandemic. On this Veterans Day as our colleagues are packing their bags to deploy overseas, once again we reaffirm our oath to, “support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic” and stand ready with pride, dignity and honor to answer the call of duty whenever and wherever needed.

  • Learn more about the ACR GSER Network Military Subcommittee, and find out how you can get involved at acr.org/military.

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