Advocacy is one of the fundamental missions of the ACR. It entails representing the interests of radiologists and their patients to Congress, state legislatures, and regulatory agencies; educating radiologists and radiologists-in-training regarding legislative and regulatory developments; and supporting grassroots participation via Capitol Hill Days, legislative calls to action, and the Radiology Advocacy Network (RAN).1
The RAN is comprised of over 200 trainees and radiologists representing their training programs, practices, or institutions. The RAN leader serves as the point person between their group and the ACR. Currently, each state and residency program has a main RAN leader. However, a YPS RAN is currently being developed with almost 30 states represented across the country. The goal is to have the main RAN leader work in concert with the YPS RAN leader and residency program RAN leader to ensure efforts are collaborative and synergistic — and to foster and sustain a leadership pipeline. These RAN leaders ensure federal legislative calls to action are being disseminated to their respective peers, as well as other RAN communications on federal issues.
I am honored to have assumed the role of RAN chair at ACR 2022, from David C. Youmans, MD, FACR, who did a tremendous job during his term as RAN chair. In the five years that Dr. Youmans was at the helm, he moved the RAN into a new way of advocacy that involved social media and advocacy through the RAN app as well as platforms such as Twitter, Facebook, and ACR Engage. Dr. Youmans saw the potential that social media brought into the world of advocacy and he embraced it. The RAN developed a strong social media presence and was a top influencer during ACR 2022 in Washington, D.C.
One of my first acts as RAN chair was to devise an inaugural RAN board, comprised of members at all levels of training, practice type, and government relations representation. Our board is going to implement increased communication via digital media and boots-on-the-ground advocacy efforts, including providing more robust state support on pressing policy issues as needed (e.g., state calls to action). One digital media improvement currently underway is a new radvocacy (i.e., radiology political advocacy) website where comprehensive information about the RAN will be available at one’s fingertips. On this new website, we will provide advocates at all levels of engagement with the resources and tools they will need to advocate for and promote radiology and overall equitable healthcare for our patients.
Along with a new one-stop-shop website for advocacy, the RAN is committed to providing training on a quarterly basis, some of which will offer CME credits. This year, our installments of Advocacy 101 include “Learning How to Amplify Your Voice” and “How to Effectively Advocate for Your Patients and Profession." Involvement from members like you in the RAN is crucial to tackling state and federal policy issues affecting our patients and profession. Hence, this expansion of the RAN, known as RAN 3.0, will propel us into the next era of advocacy.
In an increasingly competitive and passionate healthcare environment, radiology political advocacy is imperative, now more than ever. It will take a concerted effort from all in the house of radiology, regardless of practice type, to battle what lies ahead when it comes to the many challenges facing us, including reimbursement and, most importantly, equitable access to care for our patients. The days of being siloed and passive are over.
Join us as we enter this new chapter of radvocacy to ensure a brighter tomorrow for our patients and profession. I urge you to get involved in any capacity and at your comfort level. We must all rise up to ensure a stable and prosperous tomorrow. The time is now.