Harvey L. Neiman Reflection
As you’ve probably heard, Harvey L. Neiman, MD, FACR, our longtime and recently retired chief executive officer, passed away in early June. With Harvey’s passing, we lost a dear friend and colleague and an exceptional leader, mentor, and luminary.
Harvey positively impacted the lives of all he knew and, more importantly, thousands he didn’t know.
Harvey had a distinguished career in clinical and academic medicine, and he continued this momentum in his service to the ACR. Harvey was a member of the ACR Board of Chancellors from 1994 to 2002, including a term as chair of the Commission on Economics and another as chair of the board. When the position of ACR executive director became available, Harvey decided to forgo the opportunity to become ACR president and put his hat into the ring. Harvey was the search committee’s unanimous choice, and in 2003 he was named ACR executive director and, subsequently, CEO. Harvey served the College in that capacity for more than a decade, retiring only two months before his death.
Many of the things our specialty takes for granted occurred because of Harvey’s leadership and vision during his tenure as the ACR’s CEO. The College has always been an effective advocate for radiology, but prior to 2003 the ACR had only a modest government relations department. Harvey recognized the changing dynamic of Washington politics and the need for a robust government relations team. A decade later our government relations team is the best in organized medicine. Thanks to Harvey, it’s now hard to imagine where we might be without our ACR government relations efforts.
Harvey also kicked off discussions on establishing a new journal. The decision was not an easy one, but it’s getting hard for me to remember a time when there was no Journal of the American College of Radiology. While there was no shortage of radiology journals, we did not have a journal dedicated to the socioeconomic side of radiology. Well, thanks to Harvey, E. Stephen Amis Jr, MD, FACR, Bruce J. Hillman, MD, FACR, and many others, the JACR® has become one of radiology’s most important journals. JACR articles provide guidance to our practices and support our advocacy efforts on Capitol Hill. I cannot image a more important resource for our specialty.
One of the last major initiatives under Harvey’s tenure was the establishment of a health policy institute dedicated to socioeconomic research in radiology. Because of Harvey’s vision for the College’s role in health services and policy research, many of us insisted that it be named the Harvey L. Neiman Health Policy Institute.
The theme of education runs through many of Harvey’s contributions. His lifelong commitment to education resulted in offerings found nowhere else in our specialty. The ACR Education Center filled a void by providing a way for radiologists to learn in the same environment as we practice. Under Harvey’s leadership, the Education Center has become the standard in hands-on learning.
Harvey was also instrumental in launching the Radiology Leadership Institute. Once again, Harvey recognized an unmet educational need, and the College stepped in to provide radiologists with business and leadership training to help them thrive in the changing health care environment.
Early in our training, most of us attended valuable courses at the Armed Forces Institute of Pathology (AFIP). Upon the closing of the Walter Reed Army Medical Center, which housed the world-renowned radiologic pathology correlation course, Harvey spearheaded creation of the American Institute for Radiologic Pathology (AIRP). This preserved nearly a century of knowledge and enabled current and future radiology residents to continue to receive a vital part of their medical training.
Finally, Harvey was a tireless advocate for our patients. Under his leadership, the ACR cofounded the Image Wisely® and Image Gently® programs as well as other initiatives to raise awareness and lower radiation dose used in medical imaging, including the development of the Dose Index Registry. During Harvey’s tenure, ACR successfully educated Congress to require accreditation of freestanding advanced diagnostic imaging facilities, improving the quality and safety of imaging care nationwide.
In honor of Harvey’s commitment to keep radiology at the cutting edge of innovation, the College created the Harvey L. Neiman Molecular Imaging Fund to advance the field of molecular imaging and imaging biomarkers. Please join me in contributing to the fund at www.acr.org/neimanfund.
Through it all, Harvey’s family — his wife, Ellie, his two daughters, Jennifer and Hilary, and his grandson, William — have been with him every step of the way. Harvey’s family was the apple of his eye, and while we have lost a great friend, leader, and mentor, Harvey’s legacy will continue for decades to come.
By Bibb Allen Jr., MD, FACR, chair