Looking Back So We Can Move Forwardlooking back to move forward

As we approach the ACR Annual Meeting and Chapter Leaders Conference, we anticipate the excitement and energy that flows through this meeting as a catalyst for forward motion and progress.

Indeed, the structure of the meeting, with full engagement of the democratic process as well as traditional ceremony, is focused on where we are headed in the future. It's therefore important, as a prelude to this forward motion, to take a look back at where we have been and what we have done and to build our future enterprise on that foundation.

The ACR is not the same organization it was two years ago. Names and faces have changed, relationships have been established and restructured, effective interactions among members have been facilitated, and interactions with external forces have been refined. The ability of the College to support its members and carry out its mission has been tremendously enhanced by this progress.

The future of our specialty is in the hands of our young physicians, and, during the past two years, the College has created opportunities for them to be successful. The closing of the Armed Forces Institute of Pathology would have eliminated a vital component of radiology resident education, but the ACR stepped in and created the American Institute for Radiologic Pathology. This successful mission resulted in a seamless transition to a more robust educational experience in a larger and more convenient environment. Its praises have been heard from all parts of the globe. The 2011 ACR Forum convened experts from within and outside radiology to discuss generational differences and their impact on the future of radiology, resulting in many recommendations for future ACR actions.

In creating the ACR Radiology Leadership Institute, we have made another significant advance for our specialty that not only will affect our young physicians but will provide the requisite high-level skills, both for private practice and academic leaders, so necessary in today's complex world. In order to better interact in that complex world, the Commission on International Relations was established and has made excellent strides in engaging the international community of radiology leaders in collaboration across the entire spectrum of the ACR's mission. We are well on our way to my previously announced goal of having the ACR recognized and acclaimed as the premiere radiology organization in the world.

A component of that international interaction involves the issues surrounding radiation dose from medical procedures. While other societies and international agencies are searching for data, the ACR has created the Dose Index Registry® and, in less than a year, has accumulated more than one million data elements. There is rapidly growing domestic and international interest in participating in this invaluable resource.

Other new resources created by the ACR in the past two years have ranged in topic from professionalism to night coverage. In collaboration with other societies, we have produced a series of modules on professionalism, which can be easily accessed by all members through the ACR website. Our goal is to have this educational content embedded in the residency curriculum in an effort to transform the culture of our specialty. I have attempted to enhance the culture of our organization as well by making a commitment to increased transparency through a process of more frequent and open communication among our leaders as well as more detailed communication of leadership projects and decisions to the membership. One such project was the creation of the Night Coverage Registry, available on our website. This resource provides models for in-practice night coverage from more than 300 practices that are doing it successfully.

Those who support our ACR leaders have been historically unrecognized, but thanks to the new formal leadership support recognition program, practices that support our leaders are listed periodically in the ACR Bulletin and receive plaques of recognition. Most importantly, letters of thanks are sent to the families of our leaders.

The work of our task forces on print media, new payment systems, utilization management, and ACR governance have produced valuable guidelines for dealing with future challenges. The new task force on teleradiology practice will address the complex business and clinical issues of evolving new practice models.

Our foundation for the future has never been more solid than it is today for our advocacy efforts in government relations and economics. We are continuing to build a grassroots advocacy culture that has progressed from a mere 600-member response to a 2008 issue, to a recent 7,700-member response to the 2011 Multiple Procedure Payment Reduction issue, resulting in an unprecedented policy revision by CMS.

I am honored to have had the opportunity to serve you as the Chair of your Board of Chancellors and am humbled by the privilege and responsibility of having walked in the path of my predecessors. I am proud to have been a part of the progress we have made; but that progress has been made by a team, so I would like to express my sincere gratitude to the dedicated ACR staff, to all the radiologists who contribute their time and energy to our College, and especially to my wonderful wife Trish for her understanding and her unwavering support.

BOC headshotBy John A. Patti, M.D., FACR
Chair, Board of Chancellors

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