Commemorating 100 Years
Texas Radiological Society leaders reflect on their centennial meeting and overall success.
The chapter task force overseeing the Texas Radiological Society (TRS) 2013 centennial meeting includes 13 subcommittees and close to 40 TRS members, who will ensure every detail — from the hotel accommodations to a one-of-a-kind educational programming — runs smoothly. This group will make next year's celebration of 100 years, held on April 5-7, 2013, in Houston, one to remember.
Throughout the last 100 years, the TRS and its members have made quite an impact on radiology locally and nationally, becoming a model state chapter for meeting planning and member engagement. But the society owes much of its success in involving members to the leadership of the TRS according to both President Michael J. McCarthy, MD, FACR, professor and chair of the Department of Radiology at the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio, and Past President Sidney C. Roberts, MD, FACR, medical director of the Arthur Temple Sr. Regional Cancer Center at Memorial Health System of East Texas, in Lufkin, Texas.
Reviving TRS History
Both McCarthy and Roberts emphasize the importance of starting early to prepare a successful state chapter meeting. "We started talking about the centennial seven years ago," says Roberts. "We wanted to do some extra special things [for the event] — update our history publication, interview important Texas radiologists for a DVD, put together historical displays, and find sought-after speakers."
This early start proved to be critical, as some projects took two to three years to complete and required unearthing the past 100 years of TRS history. "Texans take strong pride in their history," says McCarthy. "We are the oldest ACR state chapter in the United States, and we want to keep our society strong to help encourage other states to do the same."
To commemorate its accomplishments, the TRS has been rewriting its history book, which was first published in 2002. The new edition will be available for purchase at the centennial. Additionally, "One of our past presidents, Thomas B. Fletcher, MD, FACR, has been traveling around the state interviewing more than 50 radiologists about various historical aspects of the TRS as well as general radiology in Texas; he is putting together a DVD of the interviews to show at the 2013 meeting," says Roberts.
"We're trying to weave in historical aspects of radiology throughout the entire meeting," says Renita Fonseca, CMP, TRS executive director and an invaluable member of the planning process. "For example, we will have one display about the history of mammography and a poster timeline of interesting facts regarding the history of radiology in Texas. We have also asked all exhibitors to bring some historical items to display at their booths." The relics of radiology's history will undoubtedly be interesting features of the meeting, as will the gala and silent auction, which are new for the annual conference and will benefit the TRS foundation.
Growing New Leaders
With its strong Texas roots and emphasis on member participation, the chapter continues to flourish. "We have not only a strong diagnostic radiology program but also vibrant radiation oncology, physics, and resident programs," explains Roberts.
The society's exceptional resident involvement is particularly worthy of acknowledgement. "The residents have a special resident program, the highlight of which is a game of medical Jeopardy!" says Fonseca. Meeting registration fees are waived for residents. Additionally, the TRS funds approximately 30 residents (at least one resident per radiology program and all resident speakers) with up to $500 per resident to cover meeting-related travel and lodging costs. "A fun and educational program, an opportunity to socialize with other residents, and limited sponsored slots allows the meeting to promote itself," says Fonseca. "Residents call me up months in advance and ask for the dates of the next meeting; they're all competing to get time off so they can attend."
According to McCarthy, getting residents engaged in the annual meeting leads their participation and development within the chapter, which helps strengthen the TRS and ACR. "Our members are the heart and soul [of our organization]," he says. "We spend a lot of energy trying to grow the membership and getting members actively involved in whatever they can bring to the society." By including residents early on, Roberts notes, "We grow in leadership." In fact, this cycle is already apparent. "We now have a few board members who were previously active as resident section leaders," he adds.
But why is this development of new leaders, whether through meetings or general society participation, so important? "Membership in organized medicine is generally withering away," says Roberts. "Our future as a society, and our livelihood as radiologists, radiation oncologists, and medical physicists, depends on continued involvement by a significant percentage of us in the politics of health care. Residents aren't taught that as part of their typical training programs, and it's up to us as practicing radiologists to train those younger members to be good citizens of radiology." By engaging members at meetings, such as next year's centennial, and offering resident-tailored activities throughout the year, the TRS is helping to ensure radiology's future.
By Alyssa Martino