By Carlos Vasquez, RT(R), CRA, FAHRA, FACHE
September 2012—When I returned home to Indiana after an exhilarating week at AHRA’s 40th Annual Meeting in Orlando, I began to reminisce about what we accomplished as an association at this year’s meeting: we commemorated our first 40 years of existence, celebrated the 10th anniversary of the CRA, the “Get Serious” membership campaign kids reached adolescence and challenged us to “take it to the limit,” we experienced the highest percentage of members donating to the Education Foundation, we kicked off the Expanding Excellence Campaign with nearly 70% of its $3 million goal attained, and as if that weren’t enough, we reached the milestone of becoming 5,000 members strong.
The AHRA Board of Directors went right back to work the day after the Annual Meeting. We held our first full board meeting and brainstormed strategic points of interest and benefits to our members. One challenge at the forefront was how to continue growing membership while retaining our recently achieved 5,000 members. Every board member recognizes the importance of membership value and is committed to the oversight of relevance of our products to you. They are also willing to assist in building your network of colleagues and making themselves available to answer your questions or guide you through getting the best of membership benefits.
I pledged to you at the Annual Meeting last month to work on the five most important AHRA attributes to members – what you told us is most important to you in the member survey we conducted this past spring.
- Expanding your knowledge of medical imaging management, keeping pace with changing environments.
- Monitoring regulatory issues that impact medical imaging management, and providing resources that address these issues.
- Networking opportunities with others in the medical imaging profession (in person and online).
- Educational programs and training opportunities for aspiring medical imaging managers, including chief technologists, supervisors, and other related positions.
- Executive leadership development opportunities.
The board of directors and the AHRA staff are already working collaboratively to enhance existing initiatives addressing these five attributes. If you’re a relatively new member or in the early years of imaging management, and if you haven’t already done so, I invite you to register for the Basic Track at one of our upcoming conferences, and follow with the Advanced Track at the next one you attend. If you are a seasoned imaging administrator looking to rejuvenate your lifelong learning with customized mentoring, check out the Executive Leadership and Mentoring (ELM) Program, or better yet, talk to one of the graduates from the inaugural class (read about one graduate’s experience here).
AHRA members have mastered the art of networking; we treasure this attribute and we will continue to offer opportunities to improve the quality of networking outcomes. This past year I talked to many member volunteers across the country, and I remember one member in Texas telling me how she got her current job. She shared how she had reached out to an AHRA member in Texas, and he not only knew of an available position, but also took additional steps to help her successfully land the new job, without long unemployment interruption. I am sure that a lot of you have your own AHRA networking success story.
Last month there were two pieces of legislation announced with significant impact on medical imaging. The first was Meaningful Use stage two, which will require the sharing of medical images by 2014, and the second was the delay of ICD-10 by CMS for one year, to now start on October 1, 2014. We understand the importance of this information to our members. We also recognize that we not only need to provide this information to you with greater urgency, but we also need to assess the impact on medical imaging and provide expert opinions on its projected impact.
It takes a dedicated AHRA staff and an army of volunteer members to make AHRA the best association in the medical imaging industry. Throughout the next year I will highlight the work of AHRA’s boards, committees, campaigns, commissions, teams, liaisons, and individuals who are making significant contributions to helping AHRA thrive as an association. We truly are a member driven association, united by our vision of forty years of being “dedicated to developing products and services driven by member needs.”
Carlos Vasquez, RT(R), CRA, FAHRA, FACHE is president of the 2012-2013 AHRA Board of Directors. He is the division director of radiology services at Franciscan-St. Elizabeth Health in Lafayette, IN and can be reached at Carlos.firstname.lastname@example.org.