The tools and resources available to ACR members continue to grow.
ACR members enjoy ready access to a broad range of valuable experiences and services that help them stay connected and be more engaged. Such activities are central to the work of the ACR Commission on Membership and Communications.
Currently, more than 23,000 dues-paying members of the College represent a membership base that has been growing steadily over the last several years. These members — and some nonmembers — were encouraged this spring to participate in an online survey as part of a market research project that will also include telephone interviews, focus groups, benchmarking, and an environmental scan. A final report on the research will be published in the fall as part of the committee's ongoing goals to analyze the value of membership, identify ways to attract new members and retain existing members, and better target membership segments through effective marketing campaigns.
The research project is one of many initiatives underway with the commission's committees, including the Committee on Member Communications, which includes the ACR Bulletin Advisory Group; the Committee on Chapters; the Resident and Fellow Section; the Young and Early Career Physician Section (YPS); the Fellowship Committee; and the Committee on Membership Development.
The 54 ACR chapters are going to see an enhanced chapter web portal this year thanks to the work of the Committee on Chapters. The portal, which was launched in 2012, is accessed through www.acr.org and provides a chapter-to-chapter discussion forum; a speakers' bureau; an email network for chapter leaders; direct access to member data; and a resource repository that includes speeches, newsletters, videos, and other ACR materials. The committee, with a goal to facilitate chapter communications, also advises on chapter recognition programs, visitation programs, and chapter content hosted on www.acr.org.
The commission's newest committee is the YPS, which includes members aged 40 and under and those within eight years of completing their training. The YPS is energetically working toward its goals of meaningfully contributing to the ACR mission, empowering YPS members to take active roles in radiology societies, attracting and retaining young and early career members, amplifying the YPS voice within the ACR, and fostering development of YPS leaders within the College.
The Resident and Fellow Section is also very active. The section has initiated a virtual journal club, providing an opportunity for trainees to interact with ACR leaders and gain unique perspectives on their areas of expertise. A section has been added to the RFS website to highlight the journal club and allow all RFS members to access topics, related articles, and a post-journal club recap.
In addition to the efforts of the RFS and YPS, the Fellowship Committee, which was organized to promote and facilitate ACR Fellowship, has been diligent in promoting and reviewing nominations to this high honor. As a result, nominations have steadily increased since 2007, and a record number of fellows, 129, were inducted at the 2013 convocation.
ACR member communications encompass many areas of collaboration by members and staff. For example, the ACR Bulletin, now published in print and online 12 times yearly, is guided by members of the Bulletin Advisory Group, who have fostered new multimedia and interactive features with thought-provoking content relative to practicing radiologists.
The ACR Committee on Member Communications was charged in 2010 with providing a member-centric communications strategy and achieving two specific goals: to streamline communications and improve the user experience on www.acr.org. Both goals have been met.
To streamline communication, a series of consolidated, topical weekly e-newsletters now keep members informed of radiology news and updates on ACR services that align with the College's five pillars. A new feature is being added this summer to allow members to selectively subscribe to e-newsletters relevant to their interests. The ACR website has a new content management system that features more functionality and a user-friendly experience with personalized content based on member interests and subspecialties. In addition, the College now operates six Facebook and five Twitter accounts to encourage real-time member engagement. Live webinars provide timely information sharing on important subjects such as quality and safety and leadership.
As the commission's work continues through 2013 and beyond, ACR members will have more ways to be engaged, to communicate, and to experience all that ACR has to offer. For more information about the commission, visit http://bit.ly/ACRMemberComm.
By David C. Kushner, MD, FACR, Chair, ACR Commission on Membership and Communications