Chapters and the AMCLC
The unique relationship between ACR's chapters and the annual meeting brings the College together and sets us apart.
The College was organized by Dr. Albert Soiland in San Francisco in 1923. In 1924, the first Assembly and Convocation were held in Chicago.
ACR was initially conceived as a closed club for 100 distinguished "fellows." Membership was offered by invitation only to those with more than 10 years of experience who had made significant contributions to the science and practice of radiology. According to the ACR's archives, Soiland, a pioneer in radiation therapy on the West Coast and president of the RSNA in 1922, envisioned a new organization that would outstrip the ARRS in eminence and exclusiveness. Soon the number of interested people exceeded the 100 who could be admitted into the College, and the ACR Constitution and Bylaws were changed in 1939 to remove the limit. Also in 1939, all diplomates of the ABR became eligible for membership in the ACR.
In 1941, the College's constitution and bylaws were revised again to allow the appointment of state councilors. Although it wasn't until the 1960s that state chapters officially became part of the ACR, it is historically interesting that several state radiology societies preceded the ACR's creation. For instance, the Texas Radiological Society, the oldest state chapter, was formed in 1913 as the Texas Roentgen Society, predating the College by a decade. Today the ACR has chapters in each of the 50 states plus Washington, D.C., Puerto Rico, Canada, and the Council of Affiliated Regional Radiation Oncology Societies. The ACR's democratically elected assembly is one of the factors that differentiates it from other radiological societies. The ACR Council and its members create policy, and the Board of Chancellors is charged with implementing those policies and running the activities of the College and its commissions. In many ways, the chapters and the ACR Council are patterned after the AMA House of Delegates.
The state chapters provide opportunity for professional involvement and camaraderie. Through chapter membership, members learn that they are not alone in seeking solutions to problems facing radiology at the local and national levels. Each chapter has representation on the council. Councilors and alternates have an opportunity to express unique needs and interests. The chapters help give radiology a political voice in state and local governments as well as an opportunity to coalesce in an effort to affect state and federal legislation and regulations. Chapters also provide educational programs for members and open the door to volunteerism and leadership on committees and commissions.
In addition to the creation of chapters, the ACR has held an annual meeting since 1924. In the 1990s, the ACR also established an annual chapter leader's meeting. Held in the spring in Washington, D.C., this meeting was typically attended by the state chapter presidents and executive director. The meeting highlighted issues related to economics and advocacy. Training was offered to prepare individuals to speak to the media and to visit members of Congress.
Through chapter membership, members learn that they are not alone in seeking solutions to problems facing radiology at the local and national levels.
The Digest of the Council indicates that the annual meeting of the council was held in a different city each year between 1972 and 2002. In 2001, the council voted to combine this meeting and the Chapter Leaders Conference — and the AMCLC was born. The council also decreed that this combined meeting would take place each year in the spring in or near Washington, D.C.
Since then, the AMCLC has thrived in Washington, D.C., and has become ACR's most important event of the year. The Council Steering Committee, including the speaker and vice speaker, determine the program for the AMCLC. Some of the highlights of the AMCLC have included the induction of new ACR Fellows; presentation of gold medals and honorary fellowships; consideration of policy, practice guidelines, and technical standard resolutions; the Moreton Lecture; an economics session; celebration at the RADPAC® Gala; and a visit to Capitol Hill.
In 2015, we will change once again. ACR 2015 will preserve all of the best parts of the AMCLC but will, in addition, energize and inform the radiology community about ACR's programs that enhance the quality and practice of radiology. The intent is to have a larger number of attendees so that current ACR members will be better informed and non-members may be attracted to join. We hope and expect that we will also have a greater number of attendees visiting Congress. In addition to the content brought over from the AMCLC, future meetings — beginning in 2015 — will include unique CME material from entities such as the Radiology Leadership Institute, the Harvey L. Neiman Health Policy Institute, the Education Center, and the American Institute for Radiologic Pathology. We will also have programming provided by some of the societies managed by the ACR, such as the American Association for Women Radiologists, the Society of Breast Imaging, the Society for Pediatric Radiology, and others. We anticipate vendor displays as well. The location of the meeting will remain in Washington, D.C., or nearby for the foreseeable future.
Nothing remains the same, including the College. The ACR chapters and the annual meeting change and evolve. The goal is to always be getting better.
By Paul H. Ellenbogen, MD, FACR, Chair