From Vision to Reality
The ACR Education Center celebrates 10 years of success.
In 2006, three of radiology’s top leaders gathered at a leadership retreat in Asheville, N.C., and shared a dream of offering radiologists hands-on instruction in a realistic simulation environment.
The faculty would include world-class radiologists in various subspecialties — including breast imaging, body imaging, neuroradiology, nuclear medicine, and musculoskeletal (MSK) imaging. Former ACR CEO Harvey L. Neiman, MD, FACR, and past ACR BOC Chairs James H. Thrall, MD, FACR, and Arl Van Moore Jr, MD, FACR, wanted to train physicians in advanced medical imaging and image-guidance techniques, combining faculty lectures and one-on-one interaction with intensive, self-paced case review. This idea became what is now the ACR Education Center, which opened its doors at ACR headquarters in Reston, Va., in March 2008.
“The ACR Education Center began by offering only two courses,” explains Vinay Sandhir, director of the center. “To date, nearly 12,000 physicians from 40 countries and every state in the United States have completed training here in Reston.”
Sandhir was serving as a health care operations management consultant for the College when Neiman approached him in 2007 to implement his vision. According to Sandhir, since the ACR Education Center offered its first live course in 2008, an impressive array of courses has been underway nearly every week, both in Reston and around the world. “We have a fast-growing international presence,” says Sandhir. “The ACR Education Center has offered full courses on high-resolution CT and emergency radiology in partnership with the Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Radiologists in Sydney, Australia, for two years now. We have additional courses planned in MSK MR,
body and pelvic MR, and neuroradiology.”
The Australian venture isn’t the only international course offering of the ACR Education Center. In 2016, the ACR Education Center partnered with GE Healthcare and the King Faisal Specialist Hospital & Research Centre to bring the first-ever ACR-led imaging training for breast radiologists to the Middle East. The three-day Breast Imaging Boot Camp was held in Jeddah and provided 40 practicing radiologists from Saudi Arabia and Kuwait with intensive hands-on experience in mammography and breast ultrasonography.
Pablo R. Ros, MD, MPH, PhD, FACR, the physician-in-chief of the ACR Education Center, believes that the success of the ACR Education Center can be attributed to its expanded course offerings that filled previously existing gaps in radiology training and education.
“The ACR Education Center is a perfect model for the practicing radiologist to learn in,” says Ros, who serves as chair in the department of radiology at the University Hospital Case Medical Center and Case Western Reserve University, both in Cleveland, Ohio. “The teachings are case-based from top-level educators. It’s truly like the simulation centers that pilots train at, in that it mimics the radiologist’s daily practice.”
While courses continue at ACR’s Virginia headquarters, the Ed center is also expanding offerings to the West Coast region. The ACR Education Center will offer a course on body and pelvic MR, HRCT, and emergency radiology in collaboration with the University of Arizona in Tucson from January 12–21, 2018.
Both Sandhir and Ros believe the future success of the ACR Education Center lies in it becoming more accessible for all radiologists. “Right now, we’re presenting the information in a decentralized model so that attendees can access ACR Education Center courses remotely,” says Sandhir. “Technology allows for a similar experience from home, and we’d be able to expand the brand and make it possible for more attendees to learn.”
“The product we have is so unique. Every radiologist who attends the courses we offer comes back to us and says it was fantastic,” says Ros. “We have to make sure everyone is able to experience it.”