Connecting the College
The CSC Liaison Program brings together the ACR and its members.
Over the past several years, members of the ACR Council Steering Committee have increased their outreach to both chapters and subspecialty societies. This outreach has made a significant difference in ensuring that the CSC, the ACR, and state chapters stay informed about issues critical to the profession at the grassroots level.
Although the College was founded in 1923, the ACR Council was not established until the 1950s. As the ACR's representative legislative body, the council is made up of elected representatives of the state chapters and qualified subspecialty societies and was formed in part to recognize the importance of the chapters. The council is charged with voting on and establishing policy for the ACR. The council also serves as the final arbiter in establishing the practice standards and guidelines along with the bylaws.
According to the ACR bylaws, the CSC represents the council between AMCLC meetings. The CSC is also charged with maintaining liaison functions with the BOC, chapters, and subspecialty societies. The CSC's overarching purpose is to propose, debate, and adopt official ACR policies.
The CSC's liaison role has grown significantly over the years. In 2012, the CSC, chaired by Mark J. Adams, MD, FACR, established three goals:
• Reach 100 percent participation and completion of biannual information-exchange calls
• Develop the CSC's liaison role among chapters and societies in order to provide productive resources and assist chapters where needed
• Better define the overall CSC role as a liaison
As of this year, the CSC has place a total of 86 chapter and society calls. Each of these calls is documented by state/society in a call report, and all outstanding issues are forwarded to the ACR Chapter Services office for resolution. Some of the more common issues being faced by the chapters include the following:
• Advocacy and Legislative Issues. Twenty-one states are currently facing multiple radiology-related legislative and advocacy issues. Most of the advocacy issues address both federal and state political action committee activities. The legislative issues have often involved scope of practice (including legislation regarding radiology assistants), health-care reform, breast density, and physician self-referral.
• Resident and Young Physician Activities. Sixteen states have commented on their efforts to involve both residents and young physicians in their chapters. Chapters are taking different approaches, including establishing Resident and Fellow Sections and Young Physician Sections, increasing these groups' committee involvement, and introducing membership campaigns and orientations geared towards residents, fellows, and young physicians.
• Membership. Twelve states have identified membership retention and recruitment issues. These range from dues increases to membership recruitment challenges and volunteer engagement issues.
The CSC Liaison Program work group has also worked closely with the Committee on Chapters, chaired by Geoffrey G. Smith, MD, FACR, to coordinate current liaison efforts and create a vision for the program moving forward.
The CSC liaison effort is also extending to the Chapter Portal Web page on www.acr.org, which debuted a new site map and interface design in January. The purpose of this chapter leadership resource is to expedite chapter operations, allow chapter leaders to network as a peer group, and improve communications between the College and its chapters. Access to the Chapter Portal is automatically granted to active chapter officers, executives, councilors, alternate councilors, and other vital chapter contacts. The page provides users with a secure place to support collaborative work processes as well as online access to vital chapter materials. For example, a variety of chapter membership and local practice leader reports are available to facilitate an informed approach to chapter management, recruitment, and retention efforts. Staff will coordinate immediate responses to inquiries and recommendations received on the site. The ACR government relations, economics, and health policy staff will also utilize the site to supply resources on current initiatives. Recently, the site expanded its messaging system to permit chapter presidents and executives to initiate all-member email blasts. Future iterations of the site will include a Speaker Bureau, which will allow chapters to draft and review speaker recommendations for upcoming meetings.
In future versions of the site, the chapter's CSC liaison will have the option to publish call reports, including any follow-up provided by ACR staff to individual chapters. Data collected through the portal will assemble a history of chapter communications and ACR assistance in order to refine chapter support measures and optimize the efficacy of shared efforts.
As the CSC's liaison role continues to evolve, more contacts are being made, local problems are being addressed with collective resources, and best practices are being shared among chapters. The committee is working to identify issues and respond with policy resolutions for consideration by the council.
The Council Steering Committee, along with ACR staff and leadership, recognize that the council and the chapters make up the core of the College. As such, the council's liaison function is a vital resource to facilitate communication between national headquarters and local membership representatives. We are constantly working to improve and enhance the program, but we need your help. Support the effort by reaching out to your local CSC liaison by email, telephone, or at meetings and conferences. Contact information is available on your chapter's portal, which you can find at www.acr.org/Membership/Chapters.
By Howard A. Fleishon, MD, MMM, FACR, Speaker of the Council