Alex Podlaski, MD, Radiology Advocacy Network (RAN) Communication Officer and 2023 RAN Advocate of the Year Honoree, contributed this piece.

Bob Dylan may have said it best: “The times they are a-changing.” The ACR® recently, and enthusiastically, ushered in a revamped tagline, “Focused. Forward. Together.” — complete with new visual branding which represent the desire to amalgamate the history from the first century of its existence with the direction that it would like to take over the next hundred years. While the outfacing image and mantra of the ACR have been tidied up, the fundamental meaning of its pillars have not changed. Yet the methods by which those pillars are relied upon and re-cemented certainly can (and will) change. Among the pillars of the ACR, advocacy may very well embody this rebranding, and perhaps the best statement to encapsulate the metamorphosis is this: Advocacy is for everyone.

Traditionally, advocacy in radiology was an activity that was often reserved for those with a bevy of experience in practice or involved an in-depth knowledge of the inner workings of politics. Necessarily, the most impactful advocacy took place in state and national capitals via in-person relationship building and professional influence, because that is where national and state-level legislative decisions were made. But what we are witnessing now is the inventive repossession of advocacy by all individuals that are affected by its results. We can involve all generations in advocacy now because of the evolution of communication tools, informational resources and social awareness.

The development of modern communication tools, such as video conferencing services and social media, has taken advocacy solely out of the Capitol and placed it in our hands. Instead of needing to travel to the office of a legislator, we can now advocate for important issues by meeting with legislators and their staff remotely, through video conference. The development and expansion of RAN has made it essentially effortless for a collective of individuals to call, tweet or email their concerns or urgence of support to their legislators anytime a Call-to-Action is sent out. Our robust Radiology Advocacy website allows both novice and experienced advocates to learn (or refresh their understanding of) the basics, expand their network and familiarize themselves with details of issues that may affect them locally, statewide, or nationally. Perhaps most impactful of all, there has been a palpable paradigm shift in who has been called upon to advocate. We are seeing inspiring enthusiasm from the youngest generation of radiologists and students who now, more easily than ever, let their voices be heard on issues ranging from student loan repayment to reimbursement cuts and breast cancer screening coverage. These developments have also allowed seasoned advocates to share their experience and garner even more grassroots participation through webinars, social media outreach and knowledge sharing. The times are changing; not only has the world of advocacy adapted, but it has welcomed evolution. Congruent with an expanding culture of inclusion and the rapid development of information-sharing resources, we are embracing an inspiring expansion in advocacy: advocacy for a new generation.

Please share your thoughts in the comments section below and join the discussion on Engage (login required).

×Your comment has been successfully submitted for approval and will be published after approval.
Leave a Comment

You may also like