Navigating Change

How will the ACR support members for the future of our specialty?

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This is my first Bulletin column as ACR BOC Chair. I am honored and privileged to assume this office. I have been truly fortunate to serve as vice chair under the expert leadership of my predecessor, James A. Brink, MD, FACR. I extend my gratitude to Jim for all he has done to advance our profession and for all that I have learned from him. I am also grateful to my home department at Weill Cornell Medicine. Without the support of Robert J. Min, MD, chair of radiology at Weill Cornell, and my generous colleagues, I would not be able to commit to this responsibility.

It is an exciting time to become a radiologist. I am energized by the possibilities that AI affords us: the ability to amplify our reach and expand our practice.

I’ve been asked numerous times about what I hope to accomplish in this role. I see my primary responsibility as stewarding the organization as it executes its recently updated strategic plan. Our BOC and ACR staff have worked energetically to ensure that we have a roadmap for the current and future success of the organization that is true to our core purpose: to serve patients and society by empowering members to advance the practice, science, and professions of radiological care. The ACR’s stated core values of leadership, integrity, quality, and innovation resonate strongly with me and will inform my actions and priorities as we strive for a future where “ACR members are universally acknowledged as leaders in the delivery and advancement of quality healthcare.” I believe we are well on our way to achieving that goal.

However, there is work to do as we navigate a rapidly changing healthcare landscape. As the percentage of our national output consumed by healthcare spending continues to grow and we search for value for our investment, it will remain crucial to demonstrate the contribution that radiologists make to better health outcomes. We must adapt as payment models evolve and retain our leadership role in influencing how payment policy is shaped.

At the heart of our advocacy efforts are the patients we serve. I could not be prouder of the way that the ACR has brought the voices of our patients into the organiza­tion, whether through their service on the Patient- and Family-Centered Care Commission or as associate editors of the JACR®. We must continue to work with and learn from our patients and put their health and well-being at the center of all we do.

The ACR will need to maintain its role as the unified voice of radiology. To do so, we will need to create a membership experience that effectively engages radiologists at all stages of their careers. We must also enthusiastically embrace diversity and inclusion, not just in terms of gender and ethnicity but also age, practice type, and career stage. It is important that we continue to develop the future leaders of our profession and make sure that they are as diverse as the body of our organiza­tion and the patients we serve. Our organization has a governance structure that ensures that the College reflects the priorities and expertise of its members, a structure to which I am firmly committed to supporting, specifically our state chapters and the ACR Council. That said, we are one organization in a complex healthcare ecosystem, and I believe that we strengthen our profession through communication, cooperation, and collaboration with other organizations, medical specialties, and stakeholders.

It is an exciting time to become a radiologist. I am energized by the possibilities that AI affords us: the ability to amplify our reach and expand our practice. The launch of the ACR’s Data Science Institute™, has already established the College as a global leader in advancing appropriate data science solutions for imaging. We are challenged to define, communicate, and teach the benefits of data science for all radiology professionals, patients, and the greater community. Importantly, we must facilitate the development of AI solutions that are free of unintentional bias. To counteract those who seek to persuade medical students not to choose radiology and to ensure that the radiologist of the future can leverage these tools for the good of the patient, we must promote radiology medical education that includes the skills needed to adapt to and implement emerging data science solutions.

AI is not the only area in which we need to inno­vate. The ACR has a unique role, through its research infrastructure and the Harvey L. Neiman Health Policy Institute®, to facilitate future practice innovations through research and education for the benefit of patient out­comes, patient experience, and population health. Perhaps most critical of all is to enable a culture of collaboration across our profession and with our collaborators that will drive further innovation in precision imaging, leverage biomarker data from imaging and non-imaging sources, and establish novel diagnostics and therapeutic delivery systems.

Oh yes, and I’m the first woman to hold this title. Not, I should stress, because there have been no qualified women up to now. Far from it. The women in our profession who I count as my role models, mentors, and friends have been more than worthy of this role. It is on their shoulders that I stand as I pledge my service to you all.

 Geraldine B. McGinty, MD, MBA, FACR, Chair

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