Takeaway: Get Involved
A: A little bit of luck and willingness to say yes were the key ingredients to my early ACR involvement.
One of the senior residents at my program was unable to represent our state at the 2006 Annual Meeting and Chapter Leadership Conference, so I requested permission to attend the meeting. When I arrived at the meeting, the auditorium was filled with radiologists dedicated to and excited about the future of radiology. I instantly knew that I was surrounded by something powerful.
The next day I ran for my first elected seat as secretary of the RFS. Once I was plugged into the executive committee, my attention was drawn to the economic and governmental facets of healthcare delivery. To improve my understanding of the macroscopic financial drivers of our profession, I reached out to the economics division of the ACR and later applied for and received the Moorefield Fellowship in Economics and Health Policy in 2007. One of the aspects of the ACR that amazes me is the willingness of the senior leadership to mentor the members-in-training. I believe that their mentorship is an investment in our specialty’s future. When my participation was requested for another committee or opportunity to pitch in, I simply said yes.
Q: How did your involvement in the ACR affect your experience during residency, fellowship, and during your early years of private practice?
A: After spending so many hours solely focused on learning clinical medicine, my involvement with the ACR was refreshing. It made me appreciate the practice of medicine as a part of my professional aptitude, yet allowed me to see beyond the daily work of patient care. Two entities that received a great deal of my attention were government relations and economics.
Through the ACR, I was able to grow my knowledge base beyond clinical practice. This enhanced my ability to interact with both my administrative and clinical colleagues, ultimately preparing me for the role of chief of staff.
Q: How did your involvement and membership in the ACR prepare you for success in your practice?
A: The practice of medicine is moving away from individual decisions made purely between patient and physician. Current successful models of patient care employ a multidisciplinary, team-oriented approach. The ACR provided many unique opportunities to develop my skill sets pertaining to leadership, management, administration, and team development.
Over the last decade of service to the ACR, I have found that the iterative opportunity to improve my leadership and communication style have had the most profound effect in assuming responsibility as chief of staff. As a neophyte at the RFS stage, I was under the impression that successful leadership was hierarchical, with a relatively unidirectional flow of information. It didn't take long to learn that this format is biased and typically dysfunctional.
By creating a planar state with all involved entities seen as equivalents tends to produce the most coherent outcomes. By developing an environment of hyper communication amongst team members, irrespective of directionality, we are far more nimble and successful. Ultimately, the ACR provided a crucible to deconstruct, distill, and sharpen my interpersonal communication and leadership style.
Q: What ACR tools do you use to guide your practice?
A: We employ ACR Accreditation for all imaging modalities and also participate in the National Radiology Data Registry®. We utilize the Low Dose Lung Cancer Screening Program, Image Gently®, and the Physician Quality Reporting System. We will often reference the Practice Parameters and Technical Standards to keep our practice at the cutting edge of imaging.
Q: What have been the takeaways for participation in the ACR for you?
- I have served as secretary, vice chair, and chair of the RFS; vice chair and chair of the YPS; and as a member of the RADPAC Board. I also enjoyed both appointed and elected positions on the Council Steering Committee.
The primary takeaway is to get involved and stay involved. Once you’re involved, take every opportunity to pay it forward. For example, I have worked with the chair and program director at my alma mater, Brown University in Providence, R.I., in creating an annual scholarship, the Bowkley Scholarship, that allows a first-year resident to attend the ACR annual meeting. While I provide the financials, the residency program has introduced an element of flexibility into its rotation schedule to allow the resident the opportunity to experience the ACR first hand. I believe that this type of private practice–academic interdependence will grow within our community.
Q: In today’s changing face of radiology, and considering what tools are available to ACR members, what advice do you have for residents and fellows preparing to transition into practice?
A: A general piece of advice is to get involved with the ACR early and begin to develop a construct from which to prepare for tomorrow’s challenges today. Chance truly favors the prepared mind. The depth of expertise available throughout our ACR community is overwhelming. There are endless niche areas — whether you’re interested in information technology, molecular imaging, artificial intelligence, leadership, business development, or a modality-specific focus. The ACR has representation within each of these disciplines, and there is always an opportunity to be involved.
I urge you to take the initiative to determine what makes you excited to get to work each day. Then find a way to deploy the resources available through the ACR to enrich your own practice. For me, it was leadership development, thus the management and administrative track I pursued, culminating in chief of staff.
Q: Is there any particular advice you received as an ACR member that had a lasting effect on how you practice medicine?
A: No matter what, put the patient first.
Charles W. Bowkley III, MD, neurointerventional radiologist at Casper Medical Imaging and Outpatient Radiology, Wyo., has been named Wyoming Medical Center’s Physician of the Year. We asked Bowkley to answer the following questions in a short interview. Below are his responses.