“There is no greater privilege or responsibility than to be entrusted with the care of the human body and mind.”
This is the inscription on the wall that I see each time I enter the Albert Einstein School of Medicine. It is authored by Samuel Belkin, PhD, who established the medical school during his tenure as chancellor of Yeshiva University. It is inspirational, compelling, and a concise reminder of the ethics we all avowed when taking the Hippocratic Oath. I am truly honored by the privilege entrusted to me in leading the ACR as incoming BOC chair — and with that honor, I accept responsibility for the advancement of our profession and practice, while improving both the processes and outcomes of patient care. I also thank our members for their support and service to our patients during the challenging times that have become our daily existence, but hopefully not the norm.
In this inaugural Bulletin column, I refer to an opinion piece published in the March 2022 issue of the JACR®, “Reflections on the Value of a Virtue-Based Culture in Imaging.” The authors, Subha Ghosh, MD, MBA, and James K. Stoller, MD, MS, note that, “achieving optimal performance derives from creating an organizational culture that is based on the seven classical virtues: trust, compassion, wisdom, justice, temperance, courage, and hope.”1 I take it as a given that we have all arrived at our professional calling and standing through compassion and wisdom, and that state and federal legislative processes and ACR organizational governance systems operate within the parameters of due justice. That leaves the issues of trust, temperance, courage, and hope, for consideration here. The authors cite the consequences of the absence of these virtuesas laid out by Peter J. Rhea, PhD, James K. Stoller, MD, MS, and Alan Kolp, PhD, in the book Exception to the Rule: The Surprising Science of Character-Based Culture, Engagement, and Performance, as follows:
TRUST: Without trust, relationships with customers, patients, and colleagues deteriorate. Mistrust slows down decisions, decreases quality, and increases costs.
TEMPERANCE: Without temperance, we take unnecessary risks, rush to judge, fail to gather relevant facts, and lack consistency. Without the discipline to follow our convictions, our credibility suffers.
COURAGE: Without courage, we will not stand up to poor decisions. We back down in the face of adversity. We choose the easy wrong rather than the hard right. We lack the persistence needed to innovate.
HOPE: Without hope, we cannot be open minded or consider the views of others. We cannot learn from others or reflect critically on our failures, so we don’t improve.
My leadership perspective as chair of the ACR BOC acknowledges and embraces these virtues of trust, temperance, courage, and hope. When it comes to trust, I fully subscribe to the words of General James N. Mattis, USMC (Ret.), “Operations succeed at the speed of trust.” Given the impact of mistrust at the individual and organizational levels in healthcare, the ACR simply cannot afford a misstep here. In considering temperance, ACR leaders and members alike must not rush to judgement and must base all action and decisions on factual content over emotional persuasion and personal/political agendas.
In these divisive times, my hope is that we will remain open minded and receptive to all views. As humans, we have two ears and one mouth. As humane caregivers, let us carefully listen to each other, and then speak with one voice. This can be challenging at a time when division multiplies daily, and we have been socially distanced from each other. That same distancing may confer, if not encourage, more aggressive confrontation than would occur in person. Our communication channels and platforms cannot (and will not) tolerate misinformation, disinformation, or bullying in any form whether intentional or not. The ACR can only survive and thrive in the face of adversity through collaborative innovation and coalition-building. To that end, this issue of the Bulletin focuses on lung cancer screening, highlighting the power of partnerships and outreach in advancing these life-saving programs.
As we begin the implementation of our recently revised ACR Strategic Plan, please know that it is a living document that we all own, and that your engagement and input is critical going forward. The ACR is our organization, and only together will we succeed in our mission, vision, professional satisfaction, and wellness.
The ACR will celebrate the world-changing achievements and contributions realized by its members during its centennial year celebration to be held May 2023 until May 2024. The College praises the lifesaving impact our members have had on radiology, patient care, and society. The ACR member leadership, volunteers, and staff are working together to bring about the next century of innovation and to advance medical care. I welcome your thoughts, questions, and suggestions, and look forward to our future conversations and the continued success of the ACR.