The American College of Radiology (ACR) has been blessed by great leadership over its long history. The outgoing chair of the ACR's Board of Chancellors, Howard B. Fleishon, MD, is no exception. His tenure as chair spanned the challenges of the pandemic. He and the Colleges adapted nicely.
In his outgoing memo to ACR members as chair, Dr. Fleishon looks forward and not back. He sees opportunities and future innovations. He makes a good case for radiology to recognize its potentially prominent role in population health. Radiology screening programs, he notes, are critical components of population health efforts. The screening modalities of mammography, LDCT lung cancer scans, and CT colonography are in place, with prostate cancer screening in development.
Radiology has always been synonymous with innovation. During my own career, and since I joined the ACR legal staff, diagnostic radiology has evolved from the primary reliance on x-ray and ultrasound to the widespread adoption of the advanced imaging modalities of MRI, CT, and PET, to name a few. More innovation will come. For example, I agree with Dr. Fleishon that rather than replace radiologists, the use of artificial intelligence will enhance the work of radiologists.
I was pleased that Dr. Fleishon did not overlook health equity. He acknowledges that health disparities exist in the U.S. despite having some of the most sophisticated medical facilities in the world. There are populations and locations that, unfortunately, do not receive equal or equitable health care, including access to medical imaging. Looking forward, radiology must remain focused on this issue. In his words: "It is both our opportunity and responsibility as health care professionals to address these disparities. In the process, we can expand both our patient base and impact in our local medical communities."
Such a positive and forward-looking farewell!