The ACR 2019 Mentorship Program — What I Learned From Geraldine B. McGinty, MD, MBA, FACR
As a first-timer at the ACR annual meeting, I was relieved to hear of a new mentoring program for this year’s conference. As a resident, I would be provided with a seasoned attending who would guide me through the highlights of the meeting and the best methods for making it a great experience. Then I received the mentor-mentee match email: my mentor would be Geraldine B. McGinty, MD, MBA, FACR. I had to rub my eyes and take a second look! How on earth did I end up with the chair of the ACR BOC?
After the initial introductions with Dr. McGinty via email, I was able to relax. Dr. McGinty was incredibly kind and welcoming. I quickly learned that while review of policy and updates on business within the ACR are common throughout the event, the primary focus of the meeting is networking. Within the first email exchanges with Dr. McGinty, I was put in touch with multiple people within the RFS, the Massachusetts radiological society, and the AAWR — developing an amazing schedule for the conference. Dr. McGinty’s ease in making connections and providing help where needed was contagious.
At one of the many networking events, I met Andrea A. Birch, MD, a preceptor for the Pipeline Initiative for the Enrichment of Radiology (PIER) scholar program. Dr. Birch introduced me to multiple medical students seeking guidance on the next step in their journeys. Paired with Yasha Parikh, MD, we introduced ourselves to every medical student we came across. Realizing that the students were also seeking mentorship, we made the move for an impromptu meeting for all students at the conference — with a few current resident volunteers sprinkled in to provide guidance. It was easy to set up, questions were answered, advice was given, and connections were made.
As our heels clattered across the crowded lobby floors, racing from a ballroom to a quiet room staged for an impromptu video recording session, Dr. McGinty took the time to check in with me. We reviewed the happenings of the meeting, connections I had made, and what I hoped to do next in my career. One thing that stood out amongst it all was her asking, “How can I help?” This led to a prompt introduction to members of the Ohio delegation and added connections to where I would soon be headed for fellowship. I enjoyed my time at the annual meeting immensely. It was an awesome experience to bond with fellow residents, meet many future colleagues, learn the inner workings of policy as it relates to radiology and radiation oncology, and provide guidance to students.
What I learned from Dr. McGinty is this: no matter the title, packed schedule, or prior commitments, supporting others and making connections within our field is a commitment worthy of the time. It can be as simple as a tweet, an email, or providing an introduction. One of the best parts of becoming successful at any stage is being able to look back and help pull others forward.
Thanks to Dr. McGinty for such a wonderful first-time experience at the annual meeting. I left inspired, fulfilled, and feeling lucky to have chosen a specialty filled with so many great people.
Candace Potter, MD is a diagnostic radiology chief resident at UMass Medical School.