Making a National Impact
Regardless of Your Pedigree
Eastern Virginia Medical School. Chances are you have never learned of this small hybrid program in Coastal Virginia. I, personally, have found this program to be a fantastic place to train and have loved my time here, but it may not be a place from which you expect your next resident and fellow section chair to hail.
I say this not to promote my program or the journey that has led me here, as my story is not unique. The ACR Resident and Fellow Section, and the ACR for the matter, has had a history of people like me with big ideas and a desire to impact our amazing radiology community coming from lesser known place. To be fair, there have also have been countless fantastic people from more familiar places. All of this to say, the RFS is a place that you can make a significant impact regardless of your pedigree.
I attended my first ACR meeting, as a first-year resident, but unfortunately, I did not attend the RFS meeting. My program sponsored my first-year class to attend the meeting to celebrate my program director, Dr. Lester Johnson, being inducted as a Fellow of the College and to see one of our attendings, Dr. David Kushner, become the ACR President. It was not until the end my second-year that my real involvement in the ACR began.
As a freshly selected junior chief resident, I was sponsored by my program to attend the AUR 2016 meeting. There I watched Amy Patel (a 4th year resident at the time) give an update and described a full slate of ACR RFS activities she had been involved in. She, like me, came from a small program. I was amazed that a resident could be so involved and make such an impact. I had to know more, so after her presentation, I spoke with her and she encouraged me to consider running for a position in the RFS executive committee. Since then, she has become an invaluable mentor and great friend. If you chose to take that first step, you’ll find that those involved in the RFS have a passion to help you along the rest of the way to reach your goals.
Shortly after, I ran for the RFS secretary at what was the first RFS meeting I attended. That year, no other residents from my program could attend over the weekend, which made this environment even more intimidating. Luckily, I was welcomed to sit with the UVA delegation by Connor Louden, a friend I made through my involvement with my state RFS. This to say that getting involved with your state chapter is a fantastic entry point into ACR involvement and a means to network with peers outside of your institution.
I was fortunate to be elected as RFS secretary. Of course, as a new “small fish” in a huge sea, it was quite intimidating to get plugged in, but as soon as I got to meet the amazing group that was assembled that intimidation faded away. My year as secretary was an incredible experience. I managed the ACR RFS blog, which is an immense amount of work, especially as a 3rd year resident studying for the core exam. I cannot tell you that it is easy work to be on the RFS executive committee, but I can tell you that the return is vastly more than what you put in.
Towards the end of my term as secretary, I decided to run for vice chair/chair-elect, a 3-year commitment. At ACR 2017, I presented my vision for improved infrastructure to support state RFS, a journal club focused on emerging disruptive technologies and a longitudinal mentorship platform. I’m humbled to say that after being elected, the ACR has made these ideas a reality by creating the AI journal club/advisory group and membership subcommittee as well as a private forum focused on assisting state chapter RFS leaders. The mentorship platform is currently in the works. The ACR provides the mechanism to empower the RFS to deliver resources that have a national impact.
The truth is the RFS executive committee is comprised of 8 positions, 6 of which are elected. This small body is only part of the immense opportunities the ACR provides. Don’t let the concern of not “winning,” deter you from running. Give yourself and your ideas a chance to be heard as the voice of radiology trainees. Even if you are not elected, we will work with you to find a place in RFS community.
Being a part of the RFS executive committee is a rewarding opportunity that allows you to represent and support your resident and fellow colleagues across the nation. It is hard work but provides priceless opportunities for networking and personal development. We need you, your voice, and your ideas to continue the momentum of this remarkable organization. Please consider running for a position on the RFS executive committee. More information about the positions and the nomination form are available here.
By Daniel Ortiz, MD, Vice Chair, ACR Resident and Fellow Section.