Preparing a Tradition
Beginning in 2015, all ACR members will get more out of the expanded annual meeting.
Each spring at the AMCLC, ACR councilors, alternate councilors, and members of the Board of Chancellors and Council Steering Committee (CSC) debate resolutions; discuss hot topics; attend lectures; elect officers, chancellors, and CSC members; and induct new fellows.
For nearly 50 years, the AMCLC has been primarily a policymaking meeting. During the meeting, the ACR Council considers policies, practice guidelines and technical standards, and proposed bylaws changes. Though any member is allowed to attend the current meeting, only hundreds out of more than 30,000 members actually take part due to its current format. But beginning in 2015, the annual meeting will grow in both its size and programming, providing exciting new content along with the longstanding AMCLC traditions.
Individuals at the AMCLC also have the rare opportunity to learn about efforts the College undertakes for the specialty and its many subspecialties. Each AMCLC attendee comes away in awe of all the many activities in which the organization engages, says Kimberly E. Applegate, M.D., M.S., FACR, vice chair for quality and safety at Emory University School of Medicine, vice speaker of the CSC, and co-chair of the planning committee for the 2015 meeting. "It's taken me years to understand everything the College does on behalf of its members," she adds.
But what is the rationale behind building a meeting with increased member involvement? And how will participating strengthen your clinical practice?
Adding Value to the Annual Meeting
So, why is the College opting for a different type of meeting now? Paul H. Ellenbogen, M.D., FACR, attending radiologist at Presbyterian Hospital of Dallas, vice chair of the ACR Board of Chancellors, and planning committee co-chair, developed and spearheaded the concept. "When I got the AMCLC or an ACR board meeting, I ask myself 'Wouldn't it be great if every radiologist had the opportunity I'm currently having?'" says Ellenbogen. "The information, excitement, and enthusiasm that occur at these gatherings isn't transmitted back to the general College membership."
"As a membership driven organization, it is appropriate that the annual meeting reflect the commitment to addressing the needs of radiologists, radiation oncologists, and physicists," adds Howard B. Fleishon, M.D., M.M.M., FACR, medical director at North Mountain Radiology Group in Phoenix, Ariz., and speaker of the ACR Council. By opening up the ACR annual meeting to a broader audience, members will have the opportunity to learn about ACR activities and commissions and more. According to Fleishon, "Our members will also be given an opportunity to witness their democratic body representing their interests as well as partake directly in our advocacy efforts."
“What makes the AMCLC a great meeting will be preserved and contained in the new format.” — Paul H. Ellenbogen, M.D., FACR
To implement the proposed changes for the 2015 meeting, the speaker appointed planning committee, which — in addition to Ellenbogen and Applegate — includes Alan D. Kaye, M.D., FACR; Cheri L. Canon, M.D., FACR; Alan H. Matsumoto, M.D., FACR; Jacqueline A. Bello, M.D., FACR; Debra L. Monticciolo, M.D., FACR; Vanessa Van Duyn Wear, M.D.; John E. Chenevey, M.D.; and Johnson B. Lightfoote, M.D., FACR. These members are working tirelessly to determine the details of the 2015 meeting. Tasked with developing the new meeting format and figuring out how to integrate the old AMCLC content with new offerings, the committee is focused on how the new conference might provide educational content and programming in each of the ACR's five pillars: advocacy, economics, education, clinical research, and quality and safety.
"What will make this meeting unique is the fact that the College is a one-of-a-kind professional organization due to its intense involvement in each of the five pillar areas," explains Fleishon. "Members attending future annual meetings will be able to better understand how the ACR represents the profession before Congress, CMS, the National Institutes of Health, and other governmental entities. He or she will be exposed to exceptional programming offered only by the ACR, including that from the American Institute for Radiologic Pathology, ACR Education Center, and the new Radiology Leadership Institute (RLI)." (See page 24 for more information about the RLI's July 2012 event.) Members will also see firsthand how the ACR Government Relations Department advocates for the specialty during Capitol Hill Day, an activity similar to that which occurs at each AMCLC. Participants will be able to earn CME and SAM credit through educational courses and learn more about the many initiatives by the ACR Commission on Quality and Safety, such as RADPEER™, the National Radiology Data Registry™, ACR Appropriateness Criteria®, and ACR Practice Guidelines and Technical Standards.
Exposing the ACR membership to such activities, both Fleishon and Applegate contend, will activate and motivate them to get more involved in educational offerings, advocacy, and programs in quality and safety. Yet not everything about the meeting will change. "What makes the AMCLC a great meeting will be preserved and contained in the new format," says Ellenbogen. "We're only going to add new educational activities and content about ACR efforts to improve the specialty." Additionally, while the meeting will likely switch venues in 2015 (for the past several years, the AMCLC was held at the Washington Hilton), it will remain in the Washington, D.C., metropolitan area.
"Our ultimate hope is for individuals to hear what's going on, get energized, and bring new knowledge back to their colleagues and practices," says Ellenbogen. "I think it's going to be a huge success for the College and its members."
By Alyssa Martino