Networking: The New Value of Franklin Head Units

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By Daniel S. Kwak, MA, RT(R)(VI)

September 2012—I had the humble pleasure this year of being honored with an Osborn Scholarship to the 2012 Annual Meeting. As a second year Annual Meeting attendee, this provided me with the amazing opportunity to open my eyes to the wealth of knowledge and resources within the AHRA members and leaders.  While the meeting and speakers were equally as informative and educational as my first conference in Dallas, this year my most meaningful experience was in getting to understand that AHRA members have paved the way for imaging administration, not only by way of their administrative merits, but because they helped to define the delivery of imaging services in healthcare as technology rapidly advanced in the last 30 years.

As a 2005 radiography program graduate, I have always prided myself on having had clinical training that caught the tail end of screen-film processing as my clinical sites were converting to CR and PACS.  As a result, I thought I knew the “old world” of radiology.  As I ventured out to network and engage with AHRA members at the 2012 AHRA Annual Meeting, in no less than three separate conversations the Franklin Head Unit was introduced to me, and by all three individuals with a twinkle in their eye.  A product I had never heard about or seen was described to me as an x-ray unit which looked “clunky,” “scary,” and “dangerous,” but that nevertheless provided beautiful radiographs.

I’ve come to understand that the “old world” of radiology can really be defined as the early years where CT, MRI, and ultrasound did not exist.  There weren’t defined workflows when new technologies were implemented, and everything was being learned on the fly with trial by fire both by technologists and radiologists to get good imaging.  In this world it seems that although ALARA was present, it was perhaps not yet king.

Admittedly, at my first Annual Meeting I was shy and reserved, and only there to get the educational content of the sessions.  In the words of Sam Glenn, who gave the closing session keynote speech this year, I can look back and know that I was certainly in need of “A Kick in the Attitude.”  While the Osborn Scholarship provided an unforgettable opportunity at the awards and recognition reception to interface with members who have made significant contributions to AHRA this year, it was also by letting my own guard down at lunches and at the opening and closing receptions where I was able to learn about imaging’s past, and share in the camaraderie of members and their professional experiences. In that process I was met with mentorship and a wiliness to help reach my goals that I will not forget.

While changes to the regulatory landscape and how it will impact medical imaging management may be uncertain, I am confident after this year’s meeting that I will have the support and guidance from AHRA colleagues and leaders to weather the storm and continue to evolve and conquer the challenges.  This can only be accomplished by members having a willingness to collaborate, and by having seasoned imaging leaders offering mentorship through networking.

It is exciting to know that AHRA membership has grown to an all time high this year; however, continued growth and strengthening of the organization can only occur through engagement of the future imaging leaders of our organizations.  Perhaps a few more conversations reminiscing about Franklin Head Units can help lead the way.

Daniel  S. Kwak, MA, RT(R)(VI)  is the radiology manager at Northwestern Memorial Hospital in Chicago, IL. He can be reached at

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