April 19, 2022

In-Person Experience: ACR Annual Meeting

Jesse Conyers, MD

Jesse Conyers, MDThe ACR Annual Meeting can change the trajectory of your life and career. Attending this meeting in person opens unique professional networking, advocacy and social opportunities that are especially beneficial to radiology residents and fellows.

Although virtual attendance is also an option this year, in my opinion the greatest benefit of attending the ACR Annual Meeting in person is the networking experience. Through sponsorship by the Texas Radiological Society (TRS), I attended the ACR Annual Meeting for the first time in 2019 as the TRS Resident and Fellows Section (RFS) Chair.

At the meeting, I had incredible opportunities to collaborate with and learn from residents from other state chapters. I engaged with inspirational leaders in radiology from across the country through social gatherings and meeting events, and I have had opportunities to work with many of these leaders on collaborative projects since that time. I also made professional connections which led to my current job as a breast imaging attending radiologist, and quite literally changed my life.

Given the ample and inclusive social activities, I found it incredibly easy to engage with members of the radiology community, even as a trainee. I was encouraged by my colleagues and mentors to put myself out there and introduce myself to radiology leaders. To my surprise, I found people at the ACR Annual Meeting to be incredibly receptive, even the “radiology giants.” I attended the RADPAC® Gala at the Washington Cathedral as a resident, and I even had the opportunity to meet Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-FL) and hear about her journey with breast cancer. As a future breast imager, this was an unforgettable experience.

In addition to social activities and networking, a key opportunity for residents at the ACR Annual Meeting is engaging in radiology advocacy. At the ACR Annual Meeting in 2019, I learned about the Protecting Access to Lifesaving Screenings Act of 2021 (or PALS Act) for breast cancer screening. I then discussed the PALS Act and other radiology healthcare issues with state representatives on Capitol Hill Day.

By participating in radiology advocacy as a resident, I enhanced my understanding of how legislative issues directly affect our patients. This experience opened my eyes to the importance of participating in healthcare policy to protect our patients and our profession, and later inspired me to participate in the ACR Rutherford-Lavanty Fellowship in Government Relations in Washington, DC.

The ACR Annual Meeting is truly an unforgettable experience, particularly for radiology residents and fellows. Trainees are uniquely positioned to maximally benefit from the networking opportunities, social interactions and radiology advocacy experiences provided at the ACR Annual Meeting. I strongly encourage our radiology trainees to take advantage of these in-person experiences this year!