The College supports radiologists of all stripes — including academicians. Over the years, recognizing that distinct issues impact academic radiology departments and radiologists, the Commission on Government Relations established the Government and Regulatory Issues in Academic Radiology Committee and the Commission on Economics established the Economic Issues in Academic Radiology Committee. To enhance operational efficiency, these two committees were dissolved in 2016 and replaced by a single effort — appropriately named the Economic and Advocacy Issues in Academic Radiology Committee. I have been honored to serve as chair since this committee was formed.
Currently, our diverse committee boasts thirteen members from all over the country. RFS and YPS members help make sure that the College’s future leaders’ needs are addressed. The committee also includes three ACR outstanding staff members: Samantha Porter, economics and health policy analyst, Rebecca Spangler, director of congressional affairs, and Tina Getachew, government relations specialist. The committee benefits from close relationships with many different thought leaders and subject matter experts at the College. We have collaborated with a variety of staff and physician leads from other areas, including Melissa M. Chen, MD, chair of the Commission on Patient- and Family-Centered Care Economics Committee, Trina Behbahani, CAE, ACR senior director of governance and member engagement, Mike Peters, director of legislative and regulatory affairs, and Josh Cooper, vice president of government relations and economics health policy.
The committee is poised to react to events impacting academic radiology and radiologists. Recent examples include residency shortages, COVID-19, graduate medical education funding, the Quality Payment Program, and the ABR Core Exam. This past year, the committee has placed an emphasis on forward-looking issues by highlighting two particular initiatives.
First, the committee is working with Johnson B. Lightfoote, MD, MBA, FACR, chair of the Commission for Women and Diversity, to participate in a forum entitled “Diversity, Equity, Disparities, and Inclusion for Leaders in Radiology and Radiation Oncology.” Given the active role that our committee members play in their own institutions and professional societies, I have no doubt that we will be able to meaningfully contribute to the College’s efforts to move the needle on diversity and inclusion.
Based on the principle that not even the most earnest and outstanding rising resident/new fellow can be in two places at the same time, our committee of academicians believe this situation to be simultaneously unfortunate and untenable.
A second initiative reflects what may be a first for the Commission on Economics; the committee drafted a resolution that has been sponsored by four state chapters for consideration at the 2021 ACR annual meeting. In 2019, a paper published in Academic Radiology reported the results of a survey of the Association of Program Directors in Radiology on whether radiology should delay the start of fellowships. The survey generated a response rate of 67%, with 59% of the program directors reporting that some of their residents had been asked to arrive at fellowship before July 1, most likely so that they could participate in institutional orientation and PACS/EMR training.1 To quote the paper, “a significant majority of respondents support a discussion regarding delaying fellowship start dates.” Based on the principle that not even the most earnest and outstanding rising resident/new fellow can be in two places at the same time, our committee of academicians believe this situation to be simultaneously unfortunate and untenable. We believe that there is a role for expressing the College’s opinion and working with other societies to help implement lasting change. James M. Milburn, MD, FACR, a member of our committee and the vice chair of academic affairs for the Ochsner radiology department in New Orleans, was the lead author on the paper and also led the effort to develop the resolution, which urges the College to support radiology fellowships not beginning before July 1. From there, we propose that ACR work with other societies to enact this resolution if passed. Our committee is enthusiastic about supporting rising radiology fellows in this way.
Academic radiologists are part of the fabric of the ACR. In considering and acting on the issues uniquely confronting academic radiology, this committee’s work is another way in which the ACR serves all of its members.