Better Together

"The whole is greater than the sum of its parts." — Aristotle, Metaphysicabetter together

There are many parts to the ACR. They include you the members, our professional staff, and our facilities. As you probably know, the ACR represents more than 35,000 radiologists, radiation oncologists, interventional radiologists, nuclear medicine physicians, and medical physicists.

This includes more than 6,000 residents and fellows as members-in-training. These numbers may seem to contradict a recent article in the October issue of the Bulletin stating that membership had grown slightly from 20,954 to 21,513 from 2012 to 2011.1 Allow me to clarify. The number 35,000 is an estimate from the daily additions and subtractions to the membership and includes all members — some of whom pay dues and others, including residents and honorary members, who do not. The number 21,513, however, represents the number of dues-paying members at the time of the October article.

In addition to our members, another valuable component is the ACR staff and volunteers. The College's staff is widely distributed geographically, and our facilities are architecturally and physically diverse. The ACR has more than 400 professional staff members located in offices in Reston, Va.; Philadelphia; Washington D.C.; and Silver Spring, Md. Additional staff telecommute not only from distant states but also from outside the country. In my experience, I have found the staff to be incredibly dedicated and knowledgeable. In addition to the staff, more than 1,300 volunteers donate their time and talent to the College. Each person involved in the College's activities cares about this important work — and it shows.

Together, we build upon a long history of forward-thinking radiologists. The College was organized in 1923 by Dr. Albert Soiland in San Francisco. The first assembly and convocation were held in Chicago in 1924. To facilitate its vital advocacy efforts, the ACR opened its Washington, D.C., office in 1969. Then in 1982, the Board of Chancellors and the council voted to move the ACR headquarters to the Washington, D.C., metropolitan area. In 1985, the college moved into its current headquarters at 1891 Preston White Drive, in Reston. The Washington office was originally in Bethesda, Md. Today the Government Relations Office is located at 505 9th St, N.W., midway between the White House and the Capitol, just two blocks from Pennsylvania Avenue.

Not far away, in Silver Spring, Md., the AIRP offers four-week radiologic-pathology correlation courses to radiology residents and practicing radiologists from around the world. One of the newer ACR programs, the AIRP came about when the College took over administration of the Armed Forces Institute of Pathology rad-path course, which was being shut down as part of the Defense Base Realignment and Closure Commission directives. AIRP now holds lectures in Silver Spring, Md., at the American Film Institute's Silver Theatre. In addition, the faculty work at a nearby office at 1010 Wayne Avenue.

Meanwhile, the clinical research efforts of the College began at Jefferson Hospital in Philadelphia. Today, a much-expanded effort including ACRIN®, RTOG®, and Image Metrix™ remains in Philadelphia, housed in the Clinical Research Office at 1818 Market Street, with many of the contributing clinical trials taking place at facilities across the country.

There is one more ACR building to mention — the newest addition in terms of College ownership. The Education Center is located next to the ACR headquarters in Reston at 1892 Preston White Drive. This building, formerly occupied by Apple, was rented by the College for several years. The ACR purchased the building in the summer of 2012, and it is now the home of the Education Center and the Radiology Leadership Institute.

All of this is to say that the ACR has become a bigger and busier entity over the past decade. This is due in part to accreditation becoming mandatory for reimbursement by CMS for advanced imaging, which sparked substantial growth in the Department of Quality and Safety. In addition, the College's IT needs have grown by leaps and bounds, necessitating more staff and more space. The Executive Staff and the BOC realized that the headquarters building, designed and constructed in the mid-1980's, was no longer adequate. As early as 2006, the ACR Board approved a renovation of the headquarters building at 1891 Preston White Drive, but the merger with ARRS, its subsequent dissolution, and the volatility in the financial markets delayed any action. At that point, the building was more than 20 years old and required a high level of yearly maintenance. The lighting, heating, windows, roof, ventilation, air condition, and furniture were all aging and outdated. In 2012, the College engaged an architectural firm and looked at options including major renovation, nonstructural renovation, selling the building and leasing another property, and selling the building and constructing a new property. Ultimately, the decision was made by the BOC to renovate and expand the existing building with a design that would achieve Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design certification. This certification will lower operating costs, reduce waste sent to landfills, conserve energy and water, reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and allow ACR to qualify for tax rebates.

I am very happy to report that after a 10-month demolition and construction period, the ACR headquarters was ready for re-occupation in November 2012. The leadership of the project was expertly provided by Jim Morrison, one of our assistant executive directors, and Jan Cox, senior director of administration, with significant help from many others. Once again, we have a building that is safe and comfortable for our staff and can also serve as a showplace when visitors come to the Reston office and the Education Center.

There is no question that the ACR functions very well under the leadership of CEO Harvey L. Neiman, MD, FACR, and others such as COO Ken Korotky and the other assistant executive directors. The whole of ACR is great. And together, we are greater than the sum of our parts.

ellenbogenBy Paul H. Ellenbogen, MD, FACR, Chair

1. “What Do Your Dues Do?” ACR Bulletin. Oct. 2012:5.

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