Dear Roentgen, Thank You…

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By Luann Culbreth, M Ed, MBA, RT(R)(MR)(QM), CRA, FSMRT, FAHRA

November 2011World Radiography Day, November 8, 2011, is an international celebration to commemorate the discovery of x-rays by Wilhelm Conrad Roentgen on November 8, 1895. Radiographers and radiologic technologists from around the world recognize this event in various ways.  It seems there’s never a shortage of food during the week this date falls, along with education, special guests, and fun. (Recently I heard a facility manager talking about how last year they took a photo of everyone’s nose and you had to guess who it belonged to!) History tells us Roentgen was a modest man who loved the outdoors and was always understanding of others. He was only fifty years old when he discovered x-rays, and died just shy of his seventy-eighth birthday. As leaders in medical imaging, where would we be and what would we be doing if there were no x-rays?

As I think about this I’m taken back to my first career aspiration of wanting to be a veterinarian. This began in junior high school when I was part of the Explorers; we got to do all sorts of cool things after hours in animal clinics. They would save surgeries for us to see and “help” with. My love for animals, however, did not overcome the reality that being a veterinarian would take many years to achieve. So off to x-ray school I went! Two years of training and always having a job were far more appealing to me then. Thirty years later, so much has changed, but one thing is for sure: thank you Roentgen for discovering x-rays! What a fascinating field we get to work in. Roentgen’s discovery led to a gratifying career for me. What do you thank Roentgen for? And what would we do without AHRA?  In 1973 local groups of x‐ray managers and administrators were looking for education and information, which led to the founding of AHRA.  Check out the History of the AHRA on the website.

Speaking of education, the Fall Conference in Las Vegas was a great success. The CRA Workshop had 43 attendees, many of whom were getting those last minute tips in before taking the exam this month. Of those, 39 stayed for the Advanced Management Skills program with a total of 121 attendees. And the Basic Management Skills program had a very enthusiastic 44 attendees, many of whom were attending an AHRA conference for the first time. The Design Team did another outstanding job – many, many thanks to Jason, Latasha, Tonya, Jennifer and Debi!

My AHRA Board of Directors spotlight this month is on Russell L. Cain. Russ is one of the newest members of the board, as he just began his first year of a three year term in August. He has been an active member of AHRA for several years, volunteering his many talents in areas such as Design Teams and the CRA development. Russ is the Director of Diagnostic Imaging and Respiratory Care Services at White Memorial Medical Center in Los Angeles, CA – which is quite a commute from his hometown in northeast Georgia! His radiology background is radiography and CT, along with MRI, nuclear medicine, and medical informatics. His personal interests are scuba diving, adventure travel, animal behavior, and health psychology. Please contact Russ at for anything about AHRA. Russ was at the Fall Conference and found the last speaker to be dynamic and enthusiastic.  Ask Russ why he thinks the session on The Future of Medical Imaging in an Evolving Healthcare Delivery Model ended with some sobering information. Most who have followed the healthcare bill(s) found it unsurprising, but left with some different perspectives.

This month the AHRA and Education Foundation Boards of Directors will meet in Boston to focus on strategic plan initiatives, finances, and a few action items. We’ll be looking at opportunities to meet the critical objectives of increasing real-time information to members (Quality Goal), increasing membership and active participation in AHRA (Professionalism Goals) and increasing awareness of AHRA internationally (Collaboration Goal). I look forward to sharing the discussions with you and putting the wheels in motion as we all work towards our envisioned future. And if you’re attending RSNA this year, please join us at the AHRA reception Tuesday evening, November 29th. In addition to a great networking time, we’ll be announcing the winners of the AHRA & Toshiba Putting Patients First grant.

With Thanksgiving,


Luann Culbreth, M Ed, MBA, RT(R)(MR)(QM), CRA, FSMRT, FAHRA is president of the 2011-2012 AHRA Board of Directors. She is executive director of cardiology, medical imaging, radiation oncology at Saint Thomas Health in Nashville, TN and can be reached at

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