By Wendy Renneke
For each of us who were fortunate enough to attend the AHRA Annual Meeting in Anaheim last year, I can confidently say that we know, can show, and have grown from the magic that transpires when we are surrounded by the collective inspiration and energy of our AHRA family! The Annual Meeting is a launch pad for newly inspired goals, and a creative think-tank offering professional networking and community founded on sharing approaches to common issues. For four AHRA members from the Pacific Northwest, the Annual Meeting was also the catalyst that sparked a mutual challenge to bring the verve and exuberance of the Annual Meeting home to Washington State! What began as polite networking and casual introductions soon led to a plan to join forces and hold a Pacific Northwest local area meeting by early 2018.
Kimberly Harrell, John Beall, Carolyn Smith, and I pooled together our resources and began constructing a plan. We went to work creating timelines, assigning individual responsibilities, penciling out agendas, confirming a location, formalizing a date, and gaining commitments from speakers and a vendor sponsor. As the meeting date swiftly approached, we cross checked our details, and February 10 arrived with over 57 registered to attend.
We are happy to share with you all that our local area meeting was a tremendous success! After an amazing breakfast sponsored by Hitachi, Ed Cronin, AHRA’s CEO, kicked off the meeting with an engaging introduction to our AHRA community, highlighting many of the benefits offered to us as members. Bette Drescher, Chair of the Radiology Administration Certification Commission, followed Ed with an enthusiastic introduction to the CRA credential and approaches to studying for the CRA exam.
Next up was Dr. Gutierrez, Medical Director of Breast Imaging for Kaiser Permanente of Washington, who presented on screening mammography and the importance of early detection in saving women’s lives. Following Dr. Gutierrez, Dr. Kalpana Kanal, Professor and Director of Diagnostic Physics at the University of Washington Medical Center in Seattle Washington, presented on newly enacted state regulations with regard to CT. Both speakers engaged with our attendees, speaking on topics of interest to a broad cross section of imaging professionals, no matter what their current role in radiology.
We enjoyed a catered lunch from Panera Bread, which was also generously sponsored by Hitachi. Lunch was a time to network, discuss the morning’s sessions, and relax in the beautiful space provided to us by Kaiser Permanente of Washington. Following lunch, a highlight of the afternoon was our raffle for an amazing gift basket provided by South Sound Radiology. We were able to raise $270 for the AHRA Education Foundation!
The afternoon sessions launched with Mario Ramos, CT Supervisor at the University of Washington Medical Center, offering a fascinating presentation on “The Fourth Dimension, What We Can See Beyond 3D Imaging In CT.” Mario’s presentation included awe-inspiring post processed images he and his team have rendered to assist cardio-thoracic surgeons with lifesaving TAVR procedures. Truly incredible work!
Mario was followed by our own Kimberly Harrell, AHRA member and Manager of Ancillary Imaging Services for Kaiser Permanente in Tacoma, Washington. Kimberly shared her inspiring presentation, “That Was Easy! Clear, Concise and Consistent Path to Obtaining Patient Satisfaction.” I would share her tips and tricks with you, but I will let you hear them for yourself when she presents them again at the 2018 Annual Meeting in Orlando!
Our meeting finished with long time member and AHRA Rock Star, John Beall, presenting on, “Army Radiology; 20+ Years of Peacekeeping and Wartime Radiology.” John’s presentation gave us all a behind the scenes look at military radiology imaging in the field; another compelling presentation that kept our audience interested and engaged until the very last word.
At the conclusion of the meeting, we all took a deep breath, thanked our Hitachi sponsor, marveled at the quality of the presentations, and congratulated one another on realizing our goal of holding a Pacific Northwest Area Meeting!
Our sense of accomplishment is best described in this quote from one attendee: “I wanted to express how much I enjoyed the conference on Saturday. I have attended a few and found myself ready to leave after an hour. I was interested in every speaker you had and how much the topics related to my current position. It was well done!” We are thankful for each person who was able to attend and hope each one was able to take something away from the meeting to inspire their professional lives and make a difference.
It all started at an Annual Meeting, the catalyst for four strangers who realized their goal together as part of the AHRA family. What could possibly be in store for you at this year’s Annual Meeting? It is waiting out there for you to discover. You could be the spark that creates new inspiration for yourself and your peers. You will never know until you go…
What do the four of us have to say about our first attempt at creating an AHRA local area meeting? We are spreading our arms out even wider, already receiving offers for volunteering and sites willing to host! Stay tuned… the next one will be even better!
Click here to view all of the photos from our meeting!
Wendy Renneke is the imaging supervisor at UW Eastside Specialty Center in Bellevue, WA. She can be reached at Varoom@u.washington.edu.