Professional Growth and Friendship

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Wanda CokerBy Wanda Coker, CRA, BHS, FAHRA

My first Annual Meeting was in July 2004 in Boston. I had just been hired as a radiology director a few weeks prior to the meeting. Upon my hiring, the administration asked me which organization I would like to join, support, and attend their meetings. Without hesitation, I told them the AHRA. At that point, I did not know a lot about the AHRA, but I did know that it was an organization for radiology management and felt that in my new role that this would be a great organization for me. I knew that the Annual Meeting that particular year was going to be held in a couple of weeks, and so I suggested to my boss that I would forego the meeting that year in order to get settled in my new position. To my surprise, just a few days later I was informed that my membership to the AHRA, along with my registration, accommodations, and travel to the Annual Meeting had been arranged!

I was excited to say the least. I also promised that I would register and take the CRA exam at that meeting. The next couple of weeks were very busy with my new job and also studying every chance I got for the CRA exam. (By the way, I was extremely excited and proud when I received the notice after the meeting that I had passed the exam and attained my CRA!)

For the last 10 years, I have been actively involved in the AHRA. Right after that meeting, I started volunteering and serving. I have served on the Spring Conference and Annual Meeting Design Teams and am presently serving on the Editorial Review Board. I am also honored and humbled to represent the members on the AHRA Board of Directors.

I always look forward to the Annual Meeting. There is a lot of work involved in planning this meeting, and the amount of time, work, and dedication the design team puts in should be commended. Every meeting is unique, but they are all always filled with top notch speakers, great educational sessions, many vendors and exhibits, and of course great people and a little fun.

Since that meeting in 2004, I feel that I have grown immensely professionally and have learned a great deal. I have met some phenomenal people, many of whom now are friends. It is great to see them each year to share experiences and issues, and to meet new friends as well.

Please consider registering for the Annual Meeting if you have not already.  You will collaborate with others in our profession, receive continuing education credits, see new equipment, and meet new friends. You will also come away motivated to be a better leader. I can assure you that it will be a great meeting and a great professional experience. See you there!!

What was the first Annual Meeting you ever attended? Send your story to Kerri Hart-Morris (, and it could be published here too!

Wanda Coker, CRA, BHS, FAHRA is the radiology director at Shriners Hospital for Children Greenville in Greenville, SC. She can be reached at

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