The College is turning up the heat on its international activities.
I admit that I am neither a meteorologist nor a climatologist, but I can tell you that in Texas we had a warm winter and a hot summer in 2012.
Maybe it's just a cycle, and last summer was like the one in 1889, the last time the ice cap covering Greenland melted like this. But when we see the ice cap covering Greenland completely melt and the landscape start to look like the drive from Ft. Worth to El Paso, I think global warming.
Even during these current short, chilly winter days, the ACR and radiology in general are heating up at the international level. Though our specialty is spread across the globe, we're finding that distance seems much smaller when we are united by common goals. The ACR Commission on International Relations, just created a few years ago, is now in full force and growing by leaps and bounds. This bodes well for the ACR, for the radiology community in the United States and around the globe, and for our patients.
I chair the Commission on International Relations, which is largely overseen by Vice Chair John A. Patti, MD, FACR, and staff that includes, but is not limited to, Brad Short, Maurine Spillman-Dennis, Heidi Salkeld, and Peggy Tsai. The activities of this commission now encompass all of the ACR pillars: advocacy, economics, education, clinical research, and quality and safety. The Commission on International Relations is structured in a slightly different fashion when compared to most other ACR commissions. The Commission on International Relations has committees on economics (chaired by Geraldine B. McGinty, MD, MBA), education (chaired by James A. Brink, MD, FACR), research (chaired by Bruce J. Hillman, MD, FACR), quality and safety (chaired by Michael A. Bettmann, MD, FACR), international outreach (chaired by James P. Borgstede, MD, FACR), and membership (chaired by Mark J. Adams, MD, MBA, FACR).
The Committee on Economics is working on review papers about international radiology reimbursement issues. The committee is also involved in the ACR's consultations with the Canadian Association of Radiologists regarding potentially large changes in how the Canadian government handles radiology reimbursement.
International radiology education already includes Global Outreach Radiology, which aggregates current practical radiology literature for developing nations and underserved populations. This effort is provided by the International Society of Radiology (ISR) with ACR input and is edited by Eric J. Stern, MD. Global Outreach Education is a recent addition that makes lectures available to the international community online. The ISR puts on an International Congress every two years. Most recently, the conference was held in Sao Paulo, Brazil. The next one is planned for 2014 in Egypt. The ACR and European Society of Radiology (ESR), along with the participation of ISR, are now planning the first annual Global Summit on Radiological Quality and Safety, to be held May 9–11, 2013, in Washington, D.C., immediately following the 2013 AMCLC. The summit will target representatives from both developed and emerging nations.
The Committee on Research is just beginning to look for research projects that would provide substantial impact, and they are looking for funding. Image Metrix™, an ACR subsidiary, is a contract research organization that interacts with pharmaceutical companies and device manufacturers around the world.
Quality and Safety efforts involve that World Health Organization, headquartered in Geneva, Switzerland, and the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), located in Vienna, Austria. ACR and the ESR work through the ISR. The IAEA met in Vienna in March 2012 to discuss ways to better promulgate and disseminate radiology guidelines throughout the world. An article about the conference is expected to appear in JACR® and an ESR publication, and a second conference is planned for 2013. The ACR Commission on International Relations also interacts with the International Radiology Quality Network. We expect the commission to play an important role in supporting ACR's international membership, which currently stands at just over 200 members.
International outreach is another important priority for the College. The ACR has been working with Grace Children's Hospital in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, to help recovery efforts after the natural disasters of recent years. In June 2012, the ACR, in cooperation with the American Society of Radiologic Technologists and the Society of Diagnostic Medical Sonographers, put on a two-day educational program in Haiti. More than 90 medical personnel participated in the lectures and hands-on instruction. The ACR also donates educational materials to facilities in the developing world and provides Goldberg-Reeder Travel Grants to recipients who spend at least one month working in developing countries.
And, finally, in an effort to unite members of the specialty worldwide, on November 8, 2012, the ACR, ESR, and RSNA promoted the first International Day of Radiology to celebrate and recognize the discovery of the X-ray by Wilhelm Conrad Roentgen in 1895. The mission of the day was to build greater awareness of the value of radiology research, diagnosis, and treatment, while focusing on the contributions of radiology to cancer detection. This initiative will be bigger and better in 2013.
At ACR, we are proving that it is, in fact, a small, small world.
By Paul Ellenbogen, MD, FACR, Chair