Fatima Elahi, DO, MHA, American Medical Association Delegate, Advocacy Liaison for the American College of Radiology® (ACR®) Resident and Fellow Section Executive Committee, and Board Member for the Radiology Advocacy Network, contributed this piece.

As radiologists, we know the critical role that #radvocacy, radiology advocacy, plays in improving patient outcomes and enhancing access to care. The legislative and regulatory decisions made on national, state and local levels have a serious impact on practicing radiologists and, perhaps most importantly, our patients. Getting involved with advocacy represents a physician’s commitment to the future of radiology. The beauty of advocacy is that all can — and should — get involved, regardless of career level.

Trainees hold a unique position in advocacy, offering new perspectives and a strong, active voice. Having their career ahead of them, trainees can influence legislative and regulatory changes for years to come. These are the next generation of change-makers. Let’s empower them!

There are several ways for trainees to learn more about advocacy and get involved in grassroots efforts — here’s just five to help you get started.

  1. The ACR offers Advocacy in Action, a weekly digest of the latest advocacy and economics updates impacting radiology. Keep an eye out for the latest issue every Saturday, and subscribe if you haven’t already.
  2. The Rutherford-Lavanty Fellowship in Government Relations, named in honor of the first ACR lobbyist, provides radiology residents direct exposure to ACR government relations activities. This one-week program offers residents the opportunity to learn about the governmental factors that play a crucial role in shaping the future of radiology, particularly at the federal level.
  3. The ACR Radiology Advocacy Network (ACR RAN) is comprised of more than 200 trainees and radiologists who serve as liaisons between their training programs, practices, or institutions and the advocacy efforts of the ACR. Led by Amy K. Patel, MD, ACR RAN is crucial in orchestrating state support for tackling federal policy issues, often facilitating legislative calls-to-action, and other grassroots efforts. Consider joining your state society and signing up to serve as your residency program’s RAN representative.
  4. In addition, ACR RAN is committed to providing training on a quarterly basis, some of which offer CME credits. We’ve hosted two webinars this year, Learning How to Amplify Your Advocacy Voice and Advocacy 101. Stay tuned for more advocacy webinars tailored to trainees!
  5. Looking for another powerful way to get involved? Social media is perhaps one of the most dynamic avenues for trainees to advocate for change and interact with elected officials and policymakers. Make sure you’re following @RadiologyACR and @ACRRAN for all the latest developments, and join the conversation using #Radvocacy.

There is no shortage of resources available to support trainees venturing into the world of radiology advocacy. We are the future of our field — let’s make our voices heard, for the good of our patients and profession.

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