Elisa Berson, BS, American College of Radiology® (ACR®) Medical Student Member, contributed this post.

The ACR Annual Meeting is an incredible introduction to health policy, advocacy and opportunities within radiology, particularly for medical students interested in the field. I was fortunate enough to attend the ACR 2021 virtual meeting this past May through the ACR Medical Student Travel Scholarship. If, like me, you’re looking to pursue a career in radiology, applying for this scholarship is an excellent place to start!

As a first-time meeting attendee, I was assigned Bruce Hillman, MD, FACR, as my mentor — a true pioneer in the field of health services research in radiology. While it was fascinating to hear of his own path and experience, he also encouraged my involvement in policy initiatives.

I attended several sessions, including the Resident and Fellow Section meeting, where Taj Kattapuram, MD, and David Youmans, MD, FACR, encouraged participation in state and national advocacy. The session on artificial intelligence with William W. Boonn, MD, and Judy Gichoya, MD, provided a guide for involvement in artificial intelligence research. I particularly enjoyed the Presidential Address by Geraldine McGinty, MD, MBA, FACR. I found the commitment of the ACR to addressing health disparities through the Radiology Health Equity Coalition to be impactful. It was also particularly compelling to hear from a graduating medical student who discussed her experience with the field, her decision to pursue radiology and her hope for future directions. During the Moreton Lecture, presented by Reshma Jagsi, MD, DPhil, I enjoyed the focus on equity opportunities for women, including interventions addressing harassment in medicine, cultural transformation, mentorship and sponsorship programs, and transparent evaluation regarding compensation and promotion in radiology and radiation oncology.

Throughout the week, it was fascinating to see the debate and discussion among members of the council concerning various issues impacting the ACR. Despite the virtual format, I enjoyed meeting other trainees and attendings at the virtual socials and discussing everything from our thoughts on sessions to our opinions on the best pizza in the United States. After the conference, I was able to see policy in action as I participated in Capitol Hill Day and engaged in virtual meetings with congressional staffers.

As I begin my career in radiology, the information I learned during the conference continues to shape my engagement with the field. I hope to attend the conference in-person in the future. If you’re a medical student interested in radiology, I highly encourage you to apply for the ACR Medical Student Travel Scholarship so that you, too, can experience this valuable opportunity during the ACR 2022 Annual Meeting.

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