By Bette Drescher, CRA
It is with great sadness that I share the news that our friend and colleague in the AHRA office, Kathryn Keeler, passed away on April 3 after a lengthy illness. She is survived by husband John and daughter Abby, as well as many friends and colleagues in the AHRA family.
I had the pleasure of working with Kathryn beginning with my introduction to the CRA in 2010. She assisted me with my application and subsequent renewals over the years. When I became a member, and then Chair of the Radiology Administration Certification Commission (RACC), our relationship expanded and it was then that I realized her full value and contributions to the organization. My success as RACC Chair was solely because of Kathryn’s expertise. I always said that Kathryn was the true Chair, that all of us who held the position were only “figureheads” and were successful because of her organizational skills and history with the RACC. I will miss her quiet leadership, gentle spirit, and wry sense of humor. The RACC is working on a recommendation for ongoing recognition of her contributions, and we will announce a formal outcome as plans are finalized.
This e-mail, sent by Kathryn on September 8, 2017, conveys in her own words the level of her dedication to the RACC:
RACC and RACC History Group,
As you may have heard by now, I’ve been having some ongoing health issues with my metastatic cancer that have gotten to the point where I can no longer take the time I need for treatments and still take good care of the CRA program, so I’ve left my position at AHRA. I’m doing well, but it just takes a fair amount of time.
I wanted to take a moment to thank you all for everything each of you have done for the CRA (and AHRA, too). It has been a real pleasure working with such dedicated volunteers on a program like the CRA. I have been so inspired by the way “my” volunteers give back to the profession and the program and it has been a real joy to see the CRA continue to grow and add value thanks to what you all have put and continue to put into it.
I know the CRA will continue to be in good hands both with your help and the terrific staff Ed has put in place at AHRA, and, of course, I will continue to watch the progress through Link and the website and celebrate the continued achievements.
Thank you for making my job on the CRA both easy and great fun.
As I am only one of many who appreciated Kathryn’s many contributions, I reached out to others who had long term relationships with her to speak to her many strengths – she will be sorely missed.
Ed Cronin, AHRA CEO: Kathryn was a beloved and valued member of the AHRA staff and was AHRA’s longest tenured employee, having joined the team in June 2001. Kathryn began as an assistant to the executive director, working part-time on special projects. During her 16 years with the association, she worked on every aspect of our activities. In 2007, she became the CRA Coordinator and worked primarily with the RACC. Although focused on this assignment, her experience in all areas was important to providing an institutional history for newer staff as they came on board. We all relied, at one point or another, on her experience and judgement. Kathryn was a very intelligent, quiet, reserved team player. Her work was of the highest quality and she worked without the need for much direction. I tried many times to convince her to work full-time, but because of her commitment to her family and daughter Abby she was happy working her limited hours. A final note, her degree in architecture helped us all as she was the designated picture/plaque hanger for the office – all perfectly straight!
Jacqui Rose, former RACC member: Thank you so much for the opportunity to provide thoughts. We all loved Kathryn despite not having ever met her in person. She was the architect of great outcomes and embodied all that AHRA is in a culture. She was heart and soul behind the CRA and RACC and gave tremendous energy and time to that organization. She was nothing short of AMAZING!
Rick Perez, former RACC Chair: How do you describe Kathryn, other than “awesome”? During my six years with the RACC, Kathryn was our stable, consistent wizard who anticipated our needs, would follow up and report back before the next meeting, and was just such a guiding light for the RACC. She was also a good friend.
Bruce Hammond, former RACC Chair: Kathryn was the key driver to the success, expansion, and accuracy of the RACC and the CRA program. She set a very high standard, and her official title, “CRA Coordinator,” was grossly understated as to her value to and input into the program. I told Kathryn many times how much we all appreciated her and how glad I was that I wasn’t one of her kids because having a mother so committed to excellence would be hard to live up to; as a Commissioner, it was tough enough. Godspeed my friend, thank you for your work and your legacy with the CRA, the RACC, and those who were privileged to work with you.
Better Drescher, CRA is the chair of the Radiology Administration Certification Commission (RACC). She is the director – radiology services line at Kaiser Permanente-Bellevue Medical Center in Bellevue, WA and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.