By Ryan Lake, A.A.
October 2012—I would like to thank everyone who has contributed to the AHRA Education Foundation. I was selected as a recipient for the 2012 Annual Meeting Osborn Scholarship and your support helps many members like me gain important knowledge and experience through scholarships and other programs. I would encourage everyone to take a look at the work the foundation is doing and consider contributing to this important cause.
My Annual Meeting experience gave me a whole new understanding of what the AHRA mission is. Before the conference, I had recently joined AHRA because it was my professional society and I had found membership in the ASRT and my states local chapter to be important. After joining AHRA I found the information on the online Forum to be useful and the published articles in Radiology Management and Link to be informative when I found time to actually read them.
Like I am sure many people do, I sought to understand how AHRA could help me do my job easier and more effectively. I viewed it as a resource and not much more. I don’t think my approach to AHRA was wrong, but now I believe it was only viewing the very surface of what membership has to offer.
I attended RSNA in 2011 and found it to be impersonal and distant. I figured the AHRA Annual Meeting would be similar: useful and informative, but nothing I could not have learned watching a webinar or reading an article. This is where AHRA surprised me most. From the very first day I could see that this was an organization that relied on its members to be active. I quickly found that the strength of AHRA is the connections that the members made with each other. Right away, people in leadership positions made a point to introduce themselves to me and introduce me to others. It was not long before I couldn’t walk around the Gaylord without running into someone I had recently gotten to know.
Even the more mundane things like eating lunch showed the difference between AHRA and other organizations. Each time I sat down for lunch I did not know anyone around the table and each time I wound up having very insightful conversations with whoever happened to be there. It was through some of these informal conversations that I gained some of the most beneficial knowledge as people with experiences different than my own shared their insights and perspectives.
I say all of this to encourage everyone in AHRA to make the most of their membership. I know how hard it can be to make a conference like the AHRA Annual Meeting a priority. Coming from a small rural critical access hospital I understand the limited resources and time facilities have to dedicate to conferences. Even with those limitations, after experiencing the AHRA in Orlando, I believe it is important to attend in order to gain the greatest benefit: meeting your fellow AHRA members.
This next year AHRA is coming to my home state, Minnesota, for our Annual Meeting. I am already thinking of ways to encourage my local colleagues to join us in membership and to make the most of that membership by attending the conference. I would encourage everyone to think of their strengths and how they might contribute to AHRA. For some, it may be writing articles or presenting during a conference. For others, it might be more behind the scenes work, helping to create the opportunities for members to meet and begin to exchange ideas and experiences. For many of us it may simply be attending and engaging with those you come in contact with to learn from them, encourage them, and share experiences.
Thank you again for the honor of being chosen as one of the Osborn Scholars for this year’s Annual Meeting. I look forward to meeting more of you in Minneapolis in 2013.
Ryan Lake, A.A. is the director of medical imaging at Glencoe Regional Health Services in Glencoe, MN. He can be reached at Ryan.Lake@GRHSonline.org.