How to Lead in Times of Crisis

Dana H. Smetherman, MD, MPH, MBA, FACR, Chair of the American College of Radiology® (ACR®) Commission on Breast Imaging, contributed this post.

I entered 2020 with only a vague sense of the impending threat of COVID-19. By mid-March, the pandemic made it necessary for all healthcare workers to become leaders in this fight. The mantle was ours, and shirking it was not an option. COVID-19 dealt the healthcare community a heavy blow; it robbed us of the bedrock of our scientific method and left a disconcerting lack of certainty in its wake. Radiologists, nonetheless, did not sit idly by in this battle; we embraced this challenge to lead — in our departments, hospitals, clinics, homes and communities — in times of crisis.

During my keynote at the 2021 ACR-RBMA Practice Leaders Forum, I’ll share tips on how to lead in times of crisis, strengthen resiliency and boost practice performance. I hope you’ll attend the virtual program Jan. 22–23, 2021.

I will share some of my top takeaways from my own experience at Ochsner Medical Center in New Orleans, including some of the rapid process improvements we’ve implemented. From harnessing the power of imaging studies to utilizing digital communication to stay connected, we quickly redesigned processes and implemented measures to keep our patients and personnel safe. We persevered, innovated, adapted and learned quickly together with courage and composure. 

Earlier this week, we saw history in the making as Americans rolled up their sleeves to receive the first doses of the vaccination against COVID-19. The prospect of a brighter tomorrow started to gleam, but the dawn is not yet here. So, we will continue to lead because we must. We will remain vigilant in our safety precautions, take the vaccine when it is offered, encourage others to do so and continue to lead with compassion and hope. And we’ll continue to share best practices and learn from each other as leaders in this fight.

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