ACR Bulletin

Covering topics relevant to the practice of radiology

Reimagining the ACR

This year, the College is taking a new approach to its operations, goals, and resources.
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If everyone has a voice in defining success and impact, we will end up with a much more diverse, inclusive, and resilient organization.

—Howard B. Fleishon, MD, MMM, FACR
February 11, 2021

Back in October, when the winter surge of the coronavirus was upon us, I proposed a challenge to the Board and staff to “reimagine” the ACR. Reimagining an organization is hard. It necessitates thinking outside the box and frequently outside our status quo comfort zone. But the process is necessary for continuously learning organizations — especially during sentinel events, like we are realizing during COVID-19.

As part of my preparation, I focused on a recent article in Harvard Business Review, which provides a roadmap for the reimagination process.1 The framework includes four components:

Nonprofits exist to have impact. So, an initial step is to clearly determine our focus. For the ACR, concentrating on impact goes beyond our environmental surveillance and strategic planning process. It relies on candid, data-driven discussions about how current individual commissions and programs will deliver impact in a new environment.

Reimagining our College gives us a chance to re-engage with staff and reflect upon the people we serve. Rather than assume what patients and staff want or need, we need to invite them into the process and build the organization based on broad input. If everyone has a voice in defining success and impact, we will end up with a much more diverse, inclusive, and resilient organization.

A revenue strategy is fundamental to any organization. Fortunately, with support from our membership and management from our expert finance staff, the ACR is in a solid position. Nevertheless, we keep looking at how to provide additional services and improve value. We start by evaluating the true costs of our programs — both direct and indirect expenses. By measuring costs against impact, we can align our capacities against benefits for our staff, members, and patients.

We also need to focus on the larger ecosystem in which we operate. The radiology community is made up of our members, other radiology-based societies, the broader base of medicine, and, most importantly, our patients. These groups (and the inter-relationships that exist among them) need constant attention. Securing existing relationships, fostering new ones, and reinforcing and establishing trust and credibility are critical to the success of the College.

Recently, I asked our staff and commission chairs to share their “reimagination” ideas in preparation for our winter Board meeting. The results were inspiring, with replies that underscored the commitment of staff and volunteers to constantly bring the College forward in new and innovative ways, not only within commissions but through working together as an organization to reestablish new lines of communication and pathways to coordinate activities. Our success will depend on leveraging our existing infrastructure along with innovative methods that have evolved during the pandemic — all to support and improve our collective value proposition.
Reimagining an organization is never easy. But the process also represents an opportunity to be introspective about who we are, to better focus on our mission, and to reinvent better ways to serve our members and patients. At the College, we are fortunate to have dedicated and experienced staff and volunteers to carry this challenge forward — to reimagine, recreate, and reinvent our organization.


1. Zimmerman S. Reimagine your nonprofit to survive the crisis. Harvard Business Review. June 1, 2020.