June 17, 2022

Reunited in DC

Chelsea Schmitt, MD, MPH

After two long years of convening at a distance, the eagerly anticipated hybrid ACR® Annual Meeting was held at the Washington Hilton in Washington, DC, April 24–26. I last attended ACR 2019 as a third-year medical student, and after a few years of building relationships in this community from a distance, I could not have been more excited to return as a radiology resident.

The RFS session on Sunday was packed with inspiration and education. The keynote speaker, Geraldine McGinty, MD, MBA, FACR, kicked the morning off with lessons in leadership, encouraging us to be our authentic selves, to listen and learn from those with different perspectives, and to pay it forward.

Next, Lauren Nicola, MD, and Join Luh, MD, FACR, discussed alternatives to the fee-for-service payment model and specifically what these alternatives look like for radiology and radiation oncology.

Amy Patel, MD, and Ted Burnes, MPA, introduced RAN and RADPAC®, emphasizing the importance of radvocacy to our patients and profession. Following lunch, Bibb Allen Jr., MD, FACR, and Alexander Towbin, MD, FACR, provided a primer on both interpretive and non-interpretive AI, emphasizing the possibilities for simplifying workflows, placing resources where most needed and augmenting our interpretations.

Although the RFS meeting ended on the first day, the official business of the ACR Council was only just beginning. We also participated in lively caucus meeting discussions where members attempted to find common ground regarding the proposed resolutions and achieve a consensus on stances for presentation to the general council.

The topics debated during the Council session directly affect both the care of our patients and the future of our profession. This year, the RFS co-sponsored two successful resolutions that allowed our voices to be heard. One resolution identified issues pertaining to paid family/medical leave and the other resolution discussed the treatment of partnership track physicians in the event of a change in the structure or ownership of a practice. After spirited debates during open hearings, the Council session concluded with seemingly unprecedented consensus during the final reports.

In my discussion with fellow residents at the meeting, I heard resounding comments that residents received education on topics we only got a taste of during residency, including leadership, healthcare economics and health policy. Not only did we hear from experts on these topics, but they also provided resources and points of contact to delve into further, including the Radiology Leadership Institute® and ACR AI-LAB™.

While official programming was incredibly illuminating, it was far from the only important business at the meeting. Networking may have been the component most impacted by the ability to gather in person. The connections made during chance encounters in elevators, discussions over meals and meetups during social events outside of the official meeting gave rise to future collaborations and fostered a sense of community within the College. The lifelong friendships built amongst members who’ve contributed to the College throughout their careers are certainly something to aspire to.

For me, the ACR Annual Meeting provided a unique component to my radiology education, the opportunity to contribute my voice to the world of radiology in a way that is valued and a chance to build relationships within this vibrant community. I am so grateful to reunite with old friends and make plenty of new ones this year. If you couldn’t make it, I sincerely hope you consider attending next year. If you did have a great experience, share it. And consider encouraging your co-residents to join us next year!