My Amis Fellowship Experience
The stage lights were shining so brightly as I peered out into the enormous ballroom filled with hundreds of attendees at the 2017 ACR annual meeting in Washington, D.C. Nearly a year ago, when I had been selected for the ACR’s Amis Fellowship in Quality in Safety, I never imagined that I would be serving as a member of one of ACR’s four Reference Committees. Yet, here I was, sitting center-stage alongside much more senior ACR members, recording member comments regarding the rules and regulations that we had proposed.
Each year, the ACR — with more than 30,000 members, comprised of radiologists, radiation oncologists, and clinical medical physicists in the United States — defines new practice parameters and technical standards for radiologic practice. These guidelines help advance the science of radiology and improve the quality of service to patients throughout the United States. Each practice parameter and technical standard represents a policy statement by the College and must undergo a thorough consensus process of extensive review and approval. This process happens during the Annual Meeting. I had the opportunity to be a part of the three major functions of the ACR Reference Committees: 1) to listen to comments made during the open-session debate, 2) to provide recommended actions to resolutions based on open-session debate, and 3) to report those recommendations back to the council floor for final determination.
Throughout my time in residency in radiation oncology at the University of Pennsylvania, I have become very passionate about improving the value, quality, and safety of radiation oncology. Each year, the E. Stephen Amis Jr., MD, Fellowship in Quality and Safety provides an opportunity for two residents in radiology or radiation oncology to discover insights and gain experience with the ACR Department of Quality and Safety. As a PGY4 with an interest in acquiring advanced training in quality improvement and safety on a national level, I decided to apply for this fellowship. I was thrilled when I was selected to participate in the year-long program. This experience has truly has given me the opportunity to be involved in the ACR's quality, safety, and accreditation initiatives on a national scale.
Kristina D. Woodhouse, MD, presents at ACR headquarters on the topic of creating a culture of patient safety and high quality care in radiation oncology.
As a part of my fellowship, I spent a week at the ACR headquarters while ACR practice parameters were drafted. I had an incredible experience during my week visit in Reston, Va. My schedule was jam-packed, with every minute meticulously planned. I was able to meet with ACR staff members from every division who are doing interesting and important work on behalf of the field and ACR members. During this time, I was able to get a much deeper and broader understanding of the inner workings of the organization. At the end of the week, I had the opportunity to give a presentation to the department on my work in patient safety and quality improvement in radiation oncology. For me, this fellowship led to numerous exciting research collaborations with the ACR. One of these projects will be published soon and focused on the safety practices, attitudes, and behaviors of radiation therapists in the U.S.
Ultimately, my long-term career goal is to provide outstanding patient-centered clinical care and to improve the value, quality, and safety of radiation oncology — both nationally and globally. This fall, I will begin working at the University of Texas, MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, and I look forward to applying the skills and knowledge that I’ve gained through this fellowship as I begin my career as a new faculty member.
I am thankful to the Amis Fellowship for investing in the necessary and evolving domain of patient safety in radiation oncology and providing this opportunity for residents to get directly involved. An ever-present challenge in the field is not only to keep pace with the technological advancements, but also to implement this new technology safely and effectively into clinical practice. Many of the connections and relationships I have built thus far in the field are a direct result of this fellowship. And this is just the beginning. My participation in this fellowship has enhanced my research and my training immensely, and I look forward to continuing this important work with the ACR in the future!
By Kristina Demas Woodhouse, MD, resident in the department of radiation oncology at the University of Pennsylvania