Volunteers: The Heart of the ACR
"Research has shown that people who volunteer live longer." — Allen Klein
The ACR has an organizational structure similar to that of the federal government, with policy-setting and policy-implementing units functioning in concert. Councilors, who are elected and selected by state chapters, specialty organizations, and a few federal departments, meet annually to establish policy.
The Board of Chancellors, through commissions, committees, and task forces (supported with dedication, hard work, and excellence by ACR staff), is then responsible for developing and implementing programs that respond to the ACR Council's policy decisions.
These commissions, committees, and task forces are amazing and vital to the success of the College. You might have an inkling of their size, number, depth, and breadth. All of these entities are populated with unpaid volunteers! Even if you are one of those volunteers — and the statistics suggest that you may be — I doubt that you realize how big an operation we have.
Here are the latest figures. The number of ACR commissions, committees, and task forces is 235. The number of positions filled is 2,736! 1,509 individuals are serving in those positions.
Of the 1,509 volunteers currently donating their time and expertise to the College, 978 (65 percent) serve on one commission, committee, or task force; 245 (16 percent) serve on two; 134 (9 percent) serve on three; 65 (4 percent) serve on four; and 87 (6 percent) of these folks serve on five or more. On top of that, we have work groups falling under the Council Steering Committee and the Head Injury Institute™. I am probably forgetting some others, so I apologize in advance to those involved who I did not mention.
These commissions, committees, and task forces are amazing and vital to the success of the College.
Here is another insight that you may not have thought about. Many of our committees, commissions, and task forces are composed of dedicated practice leaders and academic legends. But we also have a large number of lesser-known up-and-coming private-practice radiologists, radiation oncologists, and medical physicists involved. I would also be remiss if I failed to mention that residents, fellows, and young and early career physicians (defined as under 40 or less than eight years out of training) are heavily involved. In fact, we go the extra mile to ensure that residents, fellows, and young and early career physicians serve on the Council Steering Committee and almost every committee and task force.
Quite a few of our volunteers are well known to the council and staff because they are former ACR presidents, vice presidents, or gold medalists. Just to name a few, these current volunteers include E. Stephen Amis Jr., MD, FACR, James P. Borgstede, MD, FACR, Valarie P. Jackson, MD, FACR, Murray L. Janower, MD, FACR, and William T. Thorwarth Jr., MD, FACR. I also include here a shout-out and thank you to a few randomly selected possibly lesser-known volunteers, including Donald L. Renfrew, MD, of Sturgeon Bay, Wis., Zehava S. Rosenberg, MD, of Hoboken, NJ, Carla Sally Rothaus, MD, from Brookline, Mass., Richard W. Stare, MD, of Everett, Wash., and Kurt A. Schoppe, MD, of Euless, Texas.
In regards to volunteerism, it is also important to mention opportunities for members to be active in ways that may not include service on a commission or committee. For example, you can volunteer by responding to a call to action, such as sending an email or making a phone call to your congressperson or CMS, completing a practice survey for economics, or making a case submission for education. In addition, not all ACR-related volunteerism is at the national level. It may be worthwhile to look for opportunities that exist within chapters.
Some organizations are run by the staff with a bit of oversight and input from their officers. The ACR is blessed with a tremendous staff. As noted earlier, they are invaluable, and they make the College run, but it is the physician and PhD volunteers who make the ACR work.
So maybe if you volunteer for the College you will live longer and be happier. Thanks so much to all of you who have volunteered for the ACR activities, and thanks to those who will volunteer going forward.
By Paul H. Ellenbogen, MD, FACR, Chair