ACR Bulletin

Covering topics relevant to the practice of radiology

Empowering Leadership

The RLI is recognizing its future leaders as well as those leaders whose achievements and contributions have made a lasting impact on the field. 
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It is important to have team and leadership skills to work with RTs, nurses, and physicists who are all integral to medical imaging.

—Aubrey Frazzitta, MD
June 27, 2022

Since the inception of the Radiology Leadership Institute® (RLI) in 2012, more than 9,000 radiologists have participated in its leadership and professional development training, gaining essential non-clinical skills to thrive in today’s complex healthcare landscape. The core mission of the RLI is to give people the business and leadership skills they need — not in an ethereal way, rather by applying what they have learned in real settings.

“The RLI is celebrating 10 years of excellence, providing leadership training for radiologists at all career levels,” says ACR CEO William T. Thorwarth Jr., MD, FACR. “It’s important to recognize both our future leaders, as well as those leaders whose lifetime achievements and contributions have made a lasting impact on the field of radiology.”

The RLI announced the recipients of its 2022 Leadership Awards at ACR 2022: the Emerging Leader Award, the Impact in Leadership Award, and the Leadership Luminary Award, its highest honor.

The RLI Leadership Luminary Award recognizes the lifetime achievements of a radiologist who has devoted the majority of their professional career to the field — embodying both leadership and innovation in their actions and legacy. The 2022 recipient of the Luminary Award is Cynthia S. Sherry, MD, FACR, currently with Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital Dallas and Radiology Associates of North Texas. Sherry was the founding chair of the RLI and served as its medical director for three years.

“The Luminary Award celebrates those who embody the RLI values of leadership and innovation and whose achievements have had a significant impact on the field of radiology during the course of their career,” says RLI Chief Medical Officer Frank J. Lexa, MD, MBA, FACR. “Dr. Sherry helped to found the RLI and then led it for the first three years of its existence. As we celebrate our tenth anniversary, it is fitting that we recognize her important contributions and achievements.”

“Looking back over my years as a radiologist, I am very impressed with the broad reach of our specialty,” Sherry says. “From critical patient care to key roles in hospital administration to a meaningful influence in local and national politics and organized medicine — radiologists make a huge difference in American healthcare.”

Sherry adds, “The RLI was created to help prepare radiologists to meet the demands of the rapidly changing healthcare landscape and to take on the mantle of leadership in challenging times. We
developed RLI programs to empower radiologists to expand their horizons, approach challenges with fresh eyes, and to innovate. I am deeply grateful to the ACR leadership, staff, and the RLI board for providing me the opportunity and for supporting this important work. It is indeed gratifying to be celebrating RLI’s 10-year anniversary. Of all the leadership activities across my career — the designing and building of the RLI was the capstone.”

The RLI Impact in Leadership Award recognizes individuals whose participation in an RLI course or program was integral to the successful completion of a specific project or initiative at their practice or institution.

One of two 2022 Impact in Leadership Award recipients is Vivek Masson, MD. “When I entered my position as system chairman of radiology nearly a decade ago, I was excited for the opportunity to lead a group of radiologists with the goal of building a unified platform and system for a newly emerging health system,” Masson says. “As a busy clinical practitioner, I had little knowledge or formal training in radiology leadership. My time at New York Presbyterian Hospital Cornell and Columbia prepared me well for my clinical acumen, but there was not much emphasis on the leadership and business sides of radiology. The RLI became my primary source for this knowledge. The ability to learn and be shaped by world-class leaders in the healthcare field was most definitely instrumental in my success.”

“The opening of the Women’s Health Pavilion, an endeavor of which I am most proud of at my facility — given its social impact for those truly in need of the care we deliver — was a culmination of the plethora of skills I obtained during my time at the RLI Summit,” Masson recollects. “Without the RLI, I would not have the tools to have led my radiology team. Lessons learned from the RLI and the ACR in general have been, by far, the most important part of my transformation into a practice and system leader. I can honestly say that, if not for the RLI, this project which will help save the lives of thousands of underserved people in northern New Jersey would not have happened.”

Lessons learned from the RLI and the ACR in general have been, by far, the most important part of my transformation into a practice and system leader.

—Vivek Masson, MD

Andrew K. Moriarity, MD, also a 2022 Impact in Leadership awardee, says, “As a trainee, I attended the RLI Summit and was placed on a team-building event opposite one of my early mentors. The dynamic that unfolded during that exercise taught me invaluable lessons about myself and the importance of understanding group dynamics. Those lessons were formative during my early professional development and have helped me become a more effective listener and leader throughout my career. And it still makes for a great story when returning to the RLI Summit years later!”

“For instance, I chose to participate in the ‘Maximize Your Influence and Impact’ course because of the comprehensive curriculum supported by a cohort-focused
learning environment,” says Moriarity, who serves as vice president of clinical operations at Advanced Radiology Service PC, and assistant professor in the division of radiology and biomedical imaging at Michigan State University. “Working with the dedicated faculty and alongside other motivated participants created an environment that kept me engaged throughout the program and interested in learning more through the supplemental material and discussions.”

The RLI Emerging Leader Award recognizes residents and fellows who have made significant and noteworthy contributions to their institution and/or the field of radiology — while also exhibiting the potential to be future leaders in the field. Applicants must also have demonstrated substantiated and sustained interest in leadership development.

In 2022, the RLI selected eight Emerging Leader awardees — all of whom will be going to the RLI Summit in September on a full scholarship (see sidebar). One of these recipients is Aubrey Frazzitta, MD, a radiology resident at the University of Arizona. “All physicians should be leaders, whether they are in academic medicine or private practice,” Frazzitta says. “It is important to
have team and leadership skills to work with RTs, nurses, and physicists who are all integral to medical imaging. If physicians can work more collaboratively and efficiently, patients will get better care.”

“RLI specifically empowers physicians to gain these skills and apply them in all different practice settings,” Frazzitta says. “It has been a fantastic learning resource for me as a resident to see the different paths physicians take throughout their careers to leadership roles — and what I can do early on in my career to work on those non-clinical skills.”

“I am looking forward to attending the RLI Summit and learning with and from a diverse, talented, and passionate group of residents, fellows, and early-career radiologists,”
Frazzitta adds. “Additionally, this opportunity will allow me to learn from leaders in radiology and potentially connect with radiology leadership mentors.”

Frazzitta plans to bring her newfound leadership skills to her residency and future fellowship with the goal of better leading the Women in Radiology group and Wellness Initiative she co-founded at the University of Arizona. “Ultimately I hope to find creative ways to reach more groups in physician wellness and bring further diversity to future generations in radiology,” she says. “The RLI Summit will, in part, help provide me with the skills to achieve these goals.” 

Author Chad Hudnall  senior writer, ACR Press