How the Moorefield Fellowship Jump-Started My Academic Career

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It was November of my second year of radiology residency. I had recently transferred programs, moving from one coast to another to be with my husband. My new program at Emory University had offered to sponsor residents for the Introduction to Academic Radiology program (ITAR) at the RSNA meeting. So there I was at RSNA in the ITAR program, when I heard a brief mention about the ACR’s James M. Moorefield, MD, Fellowship in Economics and Health Policy . It was a moment where I thought about the potential to merge my prior career in investment banking with medicine. It was in my plan all along, but there had not been any great opportunities in medical school and up to that point in residency. I set a reminder on my phone about the application timing.

I realized I had some work to do to apply. I needed to start thinking of a project and finding mentors. This opened up conversations and connections within my large academic department, in particular with Richard Duszak, Jr., MD, FACR, and William E. Torres, MD, FACR, who became instrumental as I crafted an unconventional healthcare administration fourth-year elective for myself. I applied for the fellowship during my third year and was ecstatic to accept. Everything was moving forward with great energy and momentum until it came crashing down in September. One month before my Moorefield fellowship began, I experienced an unexpected setback in my personal life. I started questioning a lot about life in general and was unsure that I wanted to spend time away from my family.

Ultimately, I decided to honor the commitment I’d made and spent two weeks of my fourth year of residency at the ACR offices in Reston, Va., and Washington, D.C., learning about the Commission on Economics, ACR’s advocacy efforts, and the vast array of services the ACR provides. It may seem odd, but it really rejuvenated me and sparked my drive to think about the intermingling of healthcare and economics. My fourth-year project associated with the fellowship was on radiology’s transition from ICD-9 to ICD-10, which led to further projects and opportunities.

Soon, it was time to apply for jobs after my breast imaging fellowship and staying at Emory seemed to be a great fit — in large part due to the connections and relationships I’d made. As a faculty member, I continue to work on health policy projects and opportunities that have stemmed from my Moorefield application process and fellowship. At the 2018 ACR Annual Meeting, I was awarded the Gold Merit Award for my abstract on “The Impact of Human Capital Depreciation on Recall Rates in Screening Mammography,” and I am working on another project related to bundled payments in radiology. Both of these projects include colleagues and mentors from my original Moorefield project.

In addition to the Moorefield fellowship, the ACR has many ways for residents to become involved, including its RFS, which includes bi-monthly journal clubs. The ACR also offers the E. Stephen Amis, Jr., MD, Fellowship in Quality and Safety and the Rutherford-Lavanty Fellowship in Government Relations. I encourage trainees to look into these opportunities and see where it leads them.

Margaret Fleming, MD, MSc, is assistant professor of radiology and imaging sciences at Emory University School of Medicine.

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