By Roland Rhynus, CRA, FAHRA
January 2011–I trust that your holidays were filled with all the good things you could wish for, and in the right portions, enough to enjoy, not so much that you have to work them off with those New Year’s resolutions.
Family, friends, colleagues, reviewing best times and creating new ones, that’s what life is all about. Traditions are often a big part of the holiday culture and one of mine involves yet another good AHRA friend, mentor, and colleague. Each Christmas, my mom’s excellent navel orange tree in Riverside, CA would produce big juicy navels and a few always seemed to have Monte Clinton’s name all over them. So, dutifully I’d pick and ship to his farm in New Hampshire for him to enjoy while he was processing fine pure maple syrup, some of which seemed to always land on my table. Great fun while it lasted. My mom has since moved to South Carolina and I’ve used up the last of the syrup, so now that I’m back in CA, I’m looking for another good—no, make that excellent–navel tree.
In keeping with my focus on growing AHRA outside our traditional areas of influence, it struck me that Monte was way ahead of me. It should not be a surprise for all of you who know him well that he has always been on the cutting edge, early into digital (he was educating all of us well before we could fathom CR, let alone DR) and then he led the AHRA task force to create the CRA–I’m sure you’ve heard of that little project. He’s an AHRA Fellow, Gold Award recipient, past regional president, and on and on.
Well, he too had thoughts about how the AHRA could help our colleagues around the globe, and he really dug in. I believe some of you reading this post actually participated, and kudos to you; I’m sure it rocked your perception of the “typical” radiology administrator’s role. Monte was kind enough to take a break from making syrup to recap his worldwide travels for all our new members. Here’s just a small portion of his stories:
“AHRA is the foundation of my career in radiology administration. From the first AHRA annual meeting in 1973 to my retirement in 2005, AHRA has enabled me to network with the nation’s leaders in radiology administration and our colleagues representing the world’s top dealers and manufactures of radiology products. Even after retirement, AHRA has continued to help me stay involved in radiology – I have had several consulting engagements helping small New England hospitals convert to digital imaging, serving as an expert witness in legal cases, and helping to plan a hospital in Dubai. AHRA, with its CRA and FAHRA on my resume, adds credibility to my experience and education.
“One of the most satisfying projects was my appointment as AHRA’s delegation leader on a People to People mission to China in 2000. This mission, a collaborative program between AHRA, the Chinese Ministry of Health, and the Eisenhower Scholars People to People program was designed to foster good will and a better understanding between American and Chinese professionals in the same discipline. This visit to radiology departments in 11 Chinese hospitals was an extraordinary way to see radiology as it is practiced a world away. This visit led to my being appointed delegation leader to another People to People mission with 10 pre-medical students on a visit to 11 Chinese medical schools teaching both traditional Chinese medicine and Western medicine.
“These two trips were followed by invitations from two international radiology manufacturers to represent American radiology administrators at conferences in China. The first trip to Shanghai was for Pacific Rim countries at a conference to explore the future of digital imaging and the role of radiology administration. That trip was followed a year later by a vendor-sponsored trip to Beijing to speak at a conference of 2000 Chinese radiologists about the way American radiology departments were managed by radiology administrators and the organization that bound them together in a huge collaborative, educational network: AHRA.
“On the Beijing trip, I was speaking about a method of evaluating products that would take bias out of the decisions. Toward the end of the presentation, my interpreter (a prominent Chinese radiology chairman) slammed his hand on the table next to his microphone and shouted out, “That’s what we need to do.” The audience nodded in agreement. So far it’s just been talk, proving again that old cultural ways are hard to change.
“On all four trips to China, I heard the same complaint from Chinese radiologists that along with their positions as physician leaders they were expected to know everything about all aspects of radiology including those duties performed by radiology administrators. They were overwhelmed with the practice of radiology and they knew they were doing a poor job managing resources, staff, and budgets. They were hoping for help to change the culture of healthcare in China.
“My subsequent vacation trips to Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos, Thailand, and Burma generally included a visit to a local hospital and its radiology department. In almost every case, the problems and complaints were the same: there was a lack of experienced radiology management expertise.
“Can AHRA help? Perhaps we can by getting the message out that as the world’s association for radiology administrators, we are prepared and willing to share our expertise. Two ways this could be done is to have member volunteers working through the US State Department in countries that need our expertise. Another way would be working with international imaging equipment manufacturers that would demonstrate how radiology administrators add value to healthcare. This international sort of Partners in Learning would be good for everyone. The AHRA program has worked well in America and it could serve as a model worldwide.
“I am indeed fortunate that my 42 year career in radiology was guided by AHRA.”
Thanks Monte, your continued commitment to the AHRA, your leadership within our association and your mentoring friendship is very much appreciated.
Monte’s involvement beyond the AHRA’s typical sphere of influence likely makes you want to engage, right? But if you can’t personally travel, you certainly can support in many other ways, so just ask; we’d like your advocacy and expertise. And don’t forget, it is a new year–great time to start your contribution fund for the annual membership pledge. Remember, we seek a high percentage of members giving to our own Education Foundation.
Here’s to a great 2011, around the world.
Roland Rhynus, CRA, FAHRA is President of the 2010-2011 AHRA Board of Directors. He lives in Loma Linda, CA and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Monte Clinton, CRA, FAHRA can be reached at MonteClinton@yahoo.com.