Increasing Our Presence in Organized Medicine

 A trip to the AMA House of Delegates shows that our role in healthcare extends beyond the dark room.

McGinty2

In June, I had the privilege of attending the 2018 Annual Meeting of the AMA House of Delegates in Chicago. Despite having served on the AMA’s Relative Value Update Committee as ACR’s representative for four years, I am still relatively new to the governance aspect of this more than 200,000-member organization. Unlike the “no electioneering” rules that govern the elections at the ACR’s annual meeting, there is robust campaigning at the AMA. Badges and campaign speeches abound as physicians seek to gain the votes of the various councils and delegations.
 
This was a great year for radiologists at the AMA elections. As Arl Van Moore Jr., MD, FACR, former ACR president and chair of the ACR delegation to the AMA House of Delegates, recently wrote in the “Voice of Radiology” blog, “Radiology now has a voice not only on the AMA’s Board of Trustees [Scott Ferguson, MD, a radiologist in West Memphis, Ark., was elected to the Board], but also on four of the six AMA Councils” (learn more at bit.ly/AMA_Recap). Congratulations to these ACR members for their commitment to representing radiologists on the national stage.
 
Our ACR delegation is just one component of what is known as the Radiology Section Council. This comprises approximately 30 representatives from many other radiology organizations who collaborate to raise the profile of our specialty. Equally important are more than 20 radiologists such as Bonnie L. Litvack-Penn, MD, FACR, Alexander Ding, MD, and McKinley Glover IV, MD, MHS, who serve on the delegations for their state medical societies, as well as a significant number of dedicated young physicians, residents, and medical students.
 
This year, the AMA adopted a new policy on what they called “augmented intelligence” (learn more at bit.ly/augmented_intelligence). The goals outlined in this policy look very similar to those radiology is working toward, given the foundational work that the ACR Data Science Institute™ (DSI) has done to ensure safe and appropriate data science solutions for our patients. This is clearly an area where ACR members can uniquely contribute to the broader discussion on the use of AI in medicine. We look forward to collaborating with the AMA, as well as the many other stakeholders with whom the DSI has already engaged.IMG 4209
ACR CEO William T. Thorwarth, Jr., MD, FACR, demonstrates an IR procedure to an AMA Medical Student Section member at the 2018 AMA Medical Specialty Showcase and Clinical Skills Workshop in Chicago.
 
Our delegation also uses its time at the AMA meeting to highlight radiology as a specialty to the many medical students in attendance. The ACR staff team, led by ACR Senior Director of Operations, Jan Cox, coordinates setting up ultrasound machines and demonstration stations where students can learn about interventional procedures from Jacqueline A. Bello, MD, FACR, ultrasound-guided breast biopsy from Tilden L. Childs III, MD, FACR, or new technologies in radiation treatment planning from Raymond B. Wynn, MD, FACR. The passion that our delegates bring to their practice is obvious, and the level of
interest from the students has been inspiring. 
 
The AMA’s support on issues like mammography and lung cancer screening has been invaluable as we have fought for our patients’ access to these life-saving programs. But given its size and the multitude of medical specialties represented among its members, it’s not surprising that the AMA sometimes adopts policies with which we might not agree. Our own ACR membership is heterogeneous in its opinions on many issues. But our ability to impact AMA’s policies depends directly on the strength of our representation. Not only do we depend on those radiologists who are prepared to run for office, but the size of our delegation is directly based on the number of radiologists who are AMA members. And we have a valuable contribution to make, so let’s amplify our voice.
 
If you’re interested in getting more involved in the ACR’s AMA effort, please don’t hesitate to contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. My work as an ACR volunteer has been some of the most fulfilling of my professional career, and I’m personally committed to maximizing the opportunities ACR members have to participate in the College’s activities. To that end, an imminent overhaul of our membership platform will give us a more effective way to match potential volunteers with their areas of interest. There is certainly plenty of work to do.
By Geraldine B. McGinty, MD, MBA, FACR, Chair.

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