By Jason M. Newmark, BA, MHA, CRA, FAHRA
I don’t how the rest of you feel, but to me, the last two weeks and the coming weeks have been, continue to be, and will be simply AWESOME, starting with our Annual Meeting in Nashville and then right into the summer Olympics! What can be better than this?! And, admit it, just reading the title of my article (Al Michael’s famous call from the 1980 USA men’s hockey team win over the Soviet Union) had to get your juices flowing and make you want to read more!
Last week, over 1,000 AHRA members attended our Annual Meeting & Exposition in Nashville, TN (and over 200 of those attendees were 1st timers). This was one of the most highly attended annual meetings in the past decade, and positive feedback from attendees just keeps coming in! Here are a few quotes from attendees that I’d like to share with you:
- “It was like a huge family reunion!”
- “I really did leave thinking that I am now a part of a wonderful organization that made me feel like family.”
- “These conferences are an invaluable networking tool.”
- “From our perspective (vendor), the AHRA is fantastic! Amazing support of and efforts to promote vendors; dedicated time with attendees; truly welcoming environment – we will absolutely continue to support AHRA and be back for many years to come.”
Thank you again to:
- Ernie Cerdena (that is, DR. Cerdena!) for his outstanding leadership and dedication to our association this past year as our President. To steal Ernie’s theme for the past year, he has helped us to truly “BE IN THIS TOGETHER!” Thank you for a great year!
- Mark Toatley (Annual Meeting Design Team Chair) and the entire Annual Meeting Design Team, our AHRA staff, the partners at Conference Managers, and to all of the volunteers, presenters, and vendors for helping to support and create such an outstanding event.
- Lori Burns and the AHRA Education Foundation board members and volunteers who helped us to raise over $50K in our 2016 member appeal! Yes, over $50K! Do you believe in miracles?! You should now!
Ok, back to the Olympics. Like many of you, I absolutely love watching the Olympics. I particularly enjoy those events that the average “joe” or “jane” (or me!) can do at home like badminton or table-tennis (come on, just call it what it is – ping pong!). I also love those events that require true team effort (soccer is it for me!). Like the coordination and provision of high quality healthcare, success is 100% dependent on utilizing the skillsets/expertise of all team members.
What I love most, though, are the stories behind the athletes. The stories of the dreamers; young kids who drew cartoons of themselves winning Olympic gold and then did it in reality. The stories of never giving up; athletes rebounding from injury, overcoming various barriers, and proving wrong the people who told them they would never be good enough. The stories of EARNING IT; athletes’ unbelievable commitment and dedication to personal training and development and truly EARNING the right to be an Olympian and to represent their countries. These stories are inspirational, and inspiration is what the Olympics are all about!
Combined with the inspiration and energy I gained from last week’s Annual Meeting, watching the Olympics is causing me to consider some deeper thoughts. Specifically, why are healthcare providers and leaders, who directly impact the lives of patients and their families on a daily basis, at times (not all the time, but often) almost taken for granted? When was the last time you saw a technologist or healthcare administrator on the front page of People magazine or in a TV ad promoting Snickers or Coca-Cola while scanning a patient or better yet, reviewing budgets? Why is it that Olympians are revered by the media and our society for their ability to run fast; kick, hit, or pass a ball; balance; jump in the air; and look good in speedos? Are we (imaging leaders and healthcare professionals) truly that different from Olympic athletes? Of course we are clearly not the same as Olympians in terms of physical conditioning (at least not me!), but in terms of our dedication and commitment to training and continual personal development to truly EARN the right to lead and care for the patients and families in our communities, we are pretty darn close!
While athletes have a dedicated team of coaches and supporters to help them succeed, we have something similar, if not even better. We have the AHRA, which provides a forum for the sharing of best practices, peer to peer networking, and opportunities to test out new skills (eg, writing an article and/or giving a presentation). Our members continue to inspire each other to raise the bar of healthcare quality and to simply be better leaders. We help develop and support each other to become true imaging Olympians!
In staying with the theme I introduced in my Convention Daily article and in my presidential remarks on the last day of our Annual Meeting, let me once again ask each of you to do all you can to EARN the right to be an AHRA member this year. Take a moment to hold the conch shell and consider what the AHRA can do for you – AND – what you can and WILL do make the AHRA the best it can be.
For all of you imaging Olympians, let me end not with the playing of your national anthem, but rather with another long and loud note of recognition (and call to action) on the conch!
Jason M. Newmark, BA, MHA, CRA, FAHRA is the president of the 2016-2017 AHRA Board of Directors. He is the vice president, diagnostic services at Baystate Medical Center in Springfield, MA. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org