Fellowship in the ACR is one of the highest honors a member can achieve and recognizes a history of service to organized radiology/medicine, teaching, research or literature. This membership award is conferred by your colleagues in the ACR BOC. It seems like just yesterday that my family and I celebrated my FACR after attending the awesome convocation in Washington, D.C. The information below is to guide other members who want to attain this prestigious designation.
All post-training membership years are counted to meet the requirement of at least 10 cumulative membership years. Any lapse in continuing membership will delay the opportunity to apply for fellowship, but the years do not have to be sequential. FACR is a membership award; therefore, continued membership is advised when seeking this designation.
Assess Your Current Pathway
As you are putting together your application, start with the Nomination Criteria chart. Columns are broken up by years of ACR membership. An eligible member may apply for this distinguished honor if at least one criterion is met from the applicable column. With criteria domains in service, teaching, research and literature, there are a variety of pathways for members to achieve this highly esteemed award. Military candidates or those with prior military service should also include a listing of military awards and specific military accomplishments in their CVs, as outlined in the Military Nomination Criteria.
Strengthen Your FACR Candidacy
Early-career members can take professional steps toward the goal of fellowship. Volunteering on ACR commissions and committees allows connections to other professionals in the radiology or medical community, while networking promotes professional contacts and opens up new opportunities. Offer your willingness to serve with an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
An important entry to volunteering is your local ACR chapter. Attend your local chapter meetings and offer to serve on a committee in an elected or appointed role. Many chapters have volunteering opportunities listed on their websites.
If your interests are primarily research-related, pursue research opportunities with residents or non-radiologist colleagues in your workplace. Apply for research grants and participate in your local and institutional collaborative trials or local institutional review board. Also consider taking part in national research studies while further expanding your network.
In the workplace, volunteer for section, departmental and hospital committees. Consider volunteering for non-radiology medical societies and community outreach to satisfy service criteria recommendations at various membership-year categories.
Update Your CV
An important part of the fellowship application is your curriculum vitae. Consider updating your CV as your professional accomplishments occur or at least every six months. You will want to document accomplishments, such as committee assignments, publications and presentations, as well as research achievements. Include dates of achievement for both accuracy and context throughout your career.
Seek Support From Chapter Leaders
Connect with your local chapter, especially the chapter fellowship chair, for mentoring support and CV review. This support can help you determine whether your current achievements are in sync with the criteria according to your membership years. Please visit acr.org/chapters to identify your chapter’s contact information.
Chapter leaders serve as the first application reviewers, so they are well versed in what a strong FACR application contains. Local insight gained from chapter leadership on FACR candidates is greatly appreciated by the ACR Committee on Fellowship Credentials (CFC), which serves as the second round of application reviewers. From there, CFC nominations are submitted to the BOC for approval.
To further extend networking, attend subspecialty meetings, chapter meetings and the annual ACR meeting as often as possible. This networking skill can be enhanced by connecting with peers, especially from your chapter, on current goals and meeting ACR Fellows who can serve as FACR application endorsers.
Connect With ACR Fellows
The primary reason fellowship applications are not completed is the lack of at least two endorsement letters. In 2022, over 28% of the total FACR applications were not submitted, primarily due to not securing the required letters of recommendation. For these letters, candidates are tasked with identifying current ACR Fellows from their professional networking to attest to their achievements and professionalism with required endorsement letters for an FACR application. Stay connected with your colleagues between conferences to maintain relationships with those who may serve as your potential endorsers and possible career mentors.
Get Help With Your Next Steps
If you are seeking guidance on your pathway to FACR, feel free to connect with FACR application staff, especially if you are a military or international member not supported with a chapter membership. Please reach out to FACR@acr.org or visit acr.org/FACR with any questions.
I wish you the best of luck in your pursuit to become a Fellow of the ACR. It will be a distinction that both you and your radiology peers will recognize and value.