My Rutherford-Lavanty Fellowship Experience
Rebecca Spangler, director of congressional affairs (left), and Kimberly Beavers, MD (right).
I recently had the opportunity to travel to ACR’s Washington, D.C., headquarters for the Rutherford-Lavanty Fellowship. This unique fellowship allows radiology residents to spend a week with ACR staff to learn more about the day-to-day operations of the Washington, D.C. office. While many know that the ACR participates in legislative advocacy, others are unaware of the tireless hours put in by our dedicated staff to protect our patients and profession on a daily basis. Rather than only detailing my personal experience, I would like to highlight a few of the ACR staff members that I had the privilege of working with this week.
U.S. Rep. Kathy Castor, D-Fla., (left), Kimberly Beavers, MD (right)
- Cynthia Moran, executive vice president of government relations, economics, and health policy, graciously invited me to sit in on several conference calls and learn more about the strategic operations of the ACR. She leads the ACR office with an incredible level of expertise, experience, and leadership.
- Joshua Cooper, senior director of government relations and economic policy, is a dynamic leader in legislative advocacy. A dedicated leader, he has over twenty years of service to the ACR and the stories to prove it! (Ask him about President Ronald Reagan, his love for jelly beans, and the movie star Elizabeth Taylor.) I had the opportunity to accompany him on a visit to the office of U.S. Rep. Stephanie Murphy, D-Fla., from my home district in Winter Park, Fla. He effortlessly navigated us through issues at hand and educated her legislative aide on current patient issues in radiology. Not only does he work tirelessly for legislative advocacy, he also plays a key role in economic policy.
- Ted Burnes, director of RADPAC® and political education, is a true Washington insider. He has spent years cultivating personal relationships with lawmakers throughout the country and is able to facilitate conversations about issues relevant to radiology with ease. If you spend time with him walking through the Capitol, you will get a glimpse of how truly influential he is too. It is impossible to walk the hallway corridors for long without a legislator or staffer greeting him by name. He has earned a well-respected reputation through years of dedication to building professional relationships with our legislators. Additionally, he is a walking encyclopedia on current legislative issues. At the drop of a hat, he can tell you a legislator’s position on a number of issues as well as plans for future discussions. He cares deeply about achieving the best care for patients and protecting radiologists’ ability to provide optimum care.
- Rebecca Spangler, director of congressional affairs, was also an invaluable resource throughout my time in Washington, D.C. She knows the issues like the back of her hand – no talking points needed. As with Ted, you cannot walk far without a member of Congress or lobbyist greeting her by name. It takes years to develop these relationships with legislators. She has mastered it with grace and incredible skill.
- Laura Henry, RADPAC administrator, is a detail-oriented and creative mind in the ACR office. Not only does she keep all of RADPAC’s donor information tracked and organized, she also manages the website, YouTube channel, and plans for RADPAC events. She is devoted to her profession and passionate about protecting patients.
- Eugenia Brandt, director of state affairs, does incredible work at the state level to advocate for radiologists and patients. In a single 30-minute meeting, she educated me on the many pieces of legislation that she is currently advocating for at the state level. Additionally, she works with approximately 25 states that have state lobbyists to coordinate with them on ACR issues.
I would be remiss to forget to mention several other members of the staff who brightened my days throughout the week and provided me with invaluable information. Edward Smith, ACR administrator, greeted me with a smile every day and always knew the answers to questions presented. Melody Ballesteros, assistant director of government relations, was always available to answer questions. Michael Peters, director of legislative and regulatory affairs, government relations, and economic policy, explained to me the incredibly complex work that he does with regulatory issues.
Kimberly Beavers, MD, (left) and U.S. Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.) (right)
The Rutherford-Lavanty fellowship has been the most unique opportunity I have had during residency. I have been empowered to step out of the ”reading room” and speak directly to legislators who make decisions that impact our patients in their everyday living. I highly encourage any radiology resident with an interest in legislative advocacy to apply for the Rutherford-Lavanty fellowship.