“I have a reputation as a straight shooter,” renowned radiologist and ultrasound expert Beverly G. Coleman, MD, FACR, told the audience during her presidential address at ACR 2022. In her report to the ACR BOC the day prior, Coleman paraphrased Maya Angelou: “Her mission in life is not merely to survive but to thrive and to do so with passion and style.” Coleman gave a truly inspirational address drawing parallels between her life journey and the characteristics that make the College the effective career partner of all radiologists. The address reinforces the ACR’s goals and sense of purpose.
“I come from a small town in Arkansas, where the state motto is ‘Land of Opportunity,’” Coleman said. “And that aligns with the ACR’s vision for radiology as leading through excellence in radiological care and then acknowledging those leaders for the delivery and enhancement of quality healthcare.”
“Talent,” Coleman said, “is a gift, but character is a choice. It’s a mirror of moral and mental qualities.” Strong character is the foundation on which to build success in the specialty, she said. “It’s OK for us to not agree with each other all the time,” she said. However, candid and respectful communication is vital to organizational success — and the capacity to resolve conflicts in an open and direct manner is an admirable part of character — be it with a leader, peer, or subordinate, she explained.
Coleman spoke on MARCA and how registered radiologist assistants should work exclusively under the direct supervision of a radiologist as part of a radiologist-led team. They would be limited in performance of procedures and should not interpret images or practice independently.
She noted that the ACR has neither supported nor opposed current MARCA legislation. She commended the College for holding town hall meetings to discuss the issue and field questions and answer concerns. Regardless of the future of MARCA, the ACR will always advocate for quality imaging care for its patients. “We will fight,” said Coleman. “That’s what we do.”
“I’ve always been a person who wants to get things done,” Coleman said. Coleman, who took the helm at ACR 2021 as the first Black president in the nearly 100-year history of the College, spoke about her early days in medicine as someone who was neither male nor White. She stressed the need, still today, for scholarships and the opportunity to travel to radiology conferences/events — and commended the ACR for its courage to fight. “It takes caring, commitment, and courage,” she said.
Lastly, Coleman spoke to the importance of finding a mentor, but also being a mentor. “They give you guidance — but they also give you hope. I have mentored thousands of radiology students. And I listen to them, always,” Coleman said. “Anyone out there who has not been a mentor, the rewards will come back to you.”
“There are so many qualities that radiology leaders have. Effective leaders need discernment,” Coleman says. “Leaders make up in their minds what they want to do — and they do what needs to be done to get there. We may stumble, but we have to get up.”