Leadership Fundamentals

The Commission works hand-in-hand with the Radiology Leadership Institute® to prepare radiologists for the new health care climate.Leadership fundamentals

The Commission on Leadership and Practice Development was created in 2010 by James H. Thrall, MD, FACR, toward the end of his term as chair of the ACR Board of Chancellors to address the growing need for a higher level and broader scope of leadership within radiology practices, academic centers, hospitals, organized medicine, and local and national politics.

Radiologist-hospital relations appeared to be breaking down at unprecedented rates, hospitals were aggregating into powerful mega-systems, reimbursements were repeatedly being slashed, and the volume-to-value trend was a seedling beginning to take root in the aftermath of the Institute of Medicine’s landmark publications To Err is Human and Crossing the Quality Chasm. It was clear to the ACR leadership that a new breed of radiology leader was imperative if radiology as a medical specialty and profession was to thrive in the brave new world of impending health care reform.

As the chair of the new commission, I approached this challenge by calling together an all-star group of diverse, visionary radiology thought-leaders to look with me into the future and create a compelling mission, clear vision, and leading-edge strategy for radiology leadership development that could be transformative for our specialty — one that could position radiology at the forefront of the evolving health care agenda.

The mission statement that emerged reflected the ACR’s mission: to maximize the value of radiology to patients and society by advancing radiology leadership performance and practice management expertise through education and enlightenment. Our vision was for a new, comprehensive program that would ultimately touch every radiology professional. It would begin during residency and progress throughout a career by stair-step advancement to higher levels of achievement, supported by strategic partnerships with renowned educational institutions. The program would eventually lead to advanced degrees in leadership and business administration.

Over a period of about two years of due diligence, including extensive interviews, meetings, and innumerable surveys conducted under the guiding hands of Harvey L. Neiman, MD, FACR, plus subsequent BOC chairs John A. Patti, MD, FACR, and Paul H. Ellenbogen, MD, FACR, our vision became reality when the Radiology Leadership Institute® (RLI™) finally sprang to life in July 2012. The RLI’s success in its first two years of life is evidenced by the high level of participation. Enrollment has exceeded expectations, with more than 1,500 enrollees, and course offerings grew even faster than we had hoped. The RLI’s early success is attributable to the on-going work, insights, and creativity provided by the RLI board (which consists of Cheri L. Canon, MD, FACR, Arl Van Moore Jr., MD, FACR, Lawrence R. Muroff, MD, FACR, Alexander M. Norbash, MD, MHCM, FACR, and Geoffrey D. Rubin, MD, FACR) and ACR staff (especially Ron Freedman, Anne Marie Pascoe, Scott Pearce, Vicki Giannotti, and Devin Parris). Together we have designed and implemented a leadership development program that is robust and novel. It is rooted in modern business theory, tethered to core radiology principles, and built upon foundational educational and philosophical tenets. The curriculum is based upon the unique RLI Common Body of Knowledge™, a feature that distinguishes our program from other look-alikes. The program outlines seven domains and 151 competencies considered crucial for radiology leadership success.

The RLI program is multi-level with four instructional levels and one honorary level. The content of each level builds upon the lessons of preceding levels. In this way, the RLI offers content suitable for all radiology professionals, ranging from beginners to advanced, experienced leaders. Certificates of achievement to mark individual progression can be earned at each of the instructional levels. We are on track to launch the Credit Portal by mid-2014, which will allow enrollees to login and view their status through the RLI website.

We have also developed three different advanced pathways to master-level degrees at acclaimed business institutions, including Babson College’s Olin School of Business, Strayer University’s Jack Welch Management Institute, and the Isenberg School of Management at UMass Amherst.

The RLI’s programs are delivered using a blended approach. Many courses are webbased and available at the convenience of the registrant; other courses require on-site attendance; some are cohort based and employ ongoing case studies, discussions, and team projects. The RLI has produced and delivered 38 live webinars that were recorded and remain available as enduring products. We believe this blended approach offers the greatest efficiency, convenience, and cost-effectiveness and can leverage technology and diverse educational techniques. We also believe that leadership includes behavioral competencies that cannot be learned through study alone but that also require action learning and practice.

We are especially pleased at the level of interest ACR chapters have shown in including RLI programming. To date, we have hosted RLI programs at 16 annual chapter meetings. Plus, we have worked with several state chapters to offer scholarships to their members.

Of particular note is the high level of interest in leadership shown by residents and young radiologists just embarking upon a radiology career. To encourage this interest and ongoing participation by our future leaders, we were pleased to award 10 full scholarships to our second Annual Event (also at Kellogg) for residents to attend. Additionally, Lawrence R. Muroff, MD, FACR, and Frank J. Lexa, MD, MBA, both RLI faculty members, delivered resident-focused leadership content at multiple AIRP courses in 2012 and 2013 that were extremely popular, standingroom-only presentations.

Today, radiology plays a critical, central role in modern health care delivery. To live up to this responsibility, all of us must pitch in to wisely influence and shape the future of American health care and to assure highquality and safe imaging remains available for our future patients. To be effective, we must be equipped with the necessary skill sets obtainable through the RLI. To answer our call to action, please enroll at www.radiologyleaders.org. Enrollment is free and includes an option to join our exclusive online forum. I welcome all of your comments and questions. Please contact me at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..


leadership headshotBy Cynthia S. Sherry, MD, FACR, Commission on Leadership and Practice Development, Chair

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