RFS news highlights resources, issues, and news relevant to in-training members of the ACR. If you have a topic idea or would like to contribute to the blog, please email RFS Secretary Patricia Balthazar, MD.







“Resolved: That our American Medical Association (AMA) encourages public and private payers to …”

The above is not a familiar language for me, and it took me a few minutes to get used to it when I read it on the Radiology Section Council (RSC) master grid that was sent out prior to the AMA meeting.

My first time at the AMA Annual Meeting was exhilarating and rewarding. The meeting was fundamentally different from the scientific conferences I am used to; there is no presentation, no poster and no case of the day. It is merely decision-making sessions related to the world of medicine, and physicians advocating on behalf of their patients or other physicians.

Jan Cox, PHR, SHRM-CP, ACR senior director of operations, serves as the ACR contact person, and you couldn’t ask for a better one! She is on top of everything and makes sure you are not lost at any point. Despite the information I’d received from her and my predecessor, I was still confused about how things work!

For first-timers like me, the AMA-RFS orientation session – which took place the night before the meeting officially started – was quite helpful. Session leaders went through frameworks, language and some other useful details. To give you an idea: let’s say you notice an interruption, you have an idea for improvement, or you disagree with an existing policy, and you want to be heard and make a difference. You bring your voice to the related AMA council (like legislation, medical education, science and technology, or medical practice, for example) and of course you support it with data from the literature and suggest your solution in the format of the “resolution.” The council then evaluates the resolution and brings it to the annual meeting where it can be heard in the hearing committees. In the hearing you defend your resolutions and you will hear your peers’ thoughts on it. If it survives the hearing, it will be presented in the House of Delegates to be voted on: yea or nay!

The first day of the meeting, the RFS committee started the work and guess what? Aria Razmaria, MD, a nuclear medicine resident from The University of California, Los Angeles, brought a resolution to block a new U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission regulation that adversely affects patients who currently receive radioactive treatments by nuclear medicine physicians, radiology oncologists and radiologists!

The first night ACR hosted a meet and greet for the RSC members and like any radiologists’ gathering, everyone was super friendly, welcoming and even excited to see residents!

I divided my time between RSC and RFS. RSC members are radiologists who represent either their state chapters or societies such as ACR, RSNA, ASNR, SIR, etc. Meetings started at 7 a.m. sharp to discuss resolutions that the council decided to advocate for. You had the opportunity to hear the pros and cons and voice your opinion, but, at the end, you stand for what the council is standing for and vote for it if you were a delegate.

ACR was involved in two other important events during the meeting: the Medical Student Section (MSS) Medical Specialty Showcase and Clinical Skills Workshop, and a session on Avoiding PAMA Drama! The showcase was an absolute success; we had five hands-on stations giving medical students the opportunity to do US-guided aspiration/biopsy, arterial and venous small procedures and to learn about radiology-oncology planning!

The one-hour presentation on Avoiding PAMA Drama was very informative; it educated physicians about PAMA and ACR’s efforts to guide the ordering providers and protect patients by using the evidence-based guidelines. There were two internists on the panel who shared their positive experiences with ACR Appropriateness Criteria®.

I enjoyed every moment of the meeting. It was a unique opportunity to meet radiology advocates at AMA, observe what they do for us and learn from them. I absolutely recommend this to every radiology resident. If you live in Chicago, you are lucky – you can attend every single annual meeting! If you don’t, interim meetings rotate every year. Ask your residency program or state chapter for their support; they may even sponsor you. The 2019 interim meeting is in San Diego; hope to see you there!

Sarvenaz Pourjabbar MD, ACR RFS Advocacy Liaison and AMA Delegate, is a 4th year radiology resident at Yale New Haven Hospital.

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