The year is coming to an end and looking forward to the holidays has everyone getting excited about visiting with family and friends. Our annual meeting provided a great kickoff to the season as we begin to reflect on the events of the last year and look forward to the next. As my term as President comes to a close, I have a sense of positive momentum for the ACVR and the members that contribute ideas and time to improving our College. We have accomplished a great deal and have big plans for the coming year as our membership expands in scope and initiative. Our community of practice is a place of learning and discovery that keeps strengthening its framework through all of our activities and places we connect. I hope you will discover your place in the community to contribute to ACVR.
New Orleans – Laissez les bon temps rouler
Almost 600 attendees let the good times roll in New Orleans, as the Cajun expression says! We had a fabulous turnout at one of the most memorable conferences in ACVR history. The second line parade shut down Canal Street as we poured into the city led by a brass band and waved sparkling beads and streamer candles en route to the reception to welcome our new Diplomates. Looking over the river from the ballroom, eyes sparkled, and jaws dropped at the scale of the spectacle we all just experienced. The enthusiasm carried over to the Diplomate ceremony where each new member was celebrated by their resident mates, mentors, and families. It was a night to remember!
The scientific portion of the conference was filled with very interesting topics and talks with a number of panels and discussions. The mix of sessions was well thought out, with talks and abstracts featured. I certainly learned a few things and will be reviewing the enduring materials for a refresher in the coming weeks as they become available. Radiation Oncology has also expanded their program and had an excellent turnout with some joint sessions that were aimed at the intersection of Radiology and Radiation Oncology.
Special thanks go to our Program Committee led by Dr. Keely Brewer (2023 Chair) and Dr. Shannon Holmes (2023 Co-Chair, 2024 Chair), as well as our Conference staff Janelle Witters, Libby Dietrich, and Brendan Leahy. They are creative and enterprising in trying new things and adapting to any situation. Join us at the 2024 meeting in Norfolk, Virginia for a new area to discover and a place to learn and connect.
Awards – Dr. Lisa Forrest and Dr. Michael Kent
Dr. Lisa Forrest, a Diplomate of Radiology and Radiation Oncology, received the Bernstein Lifetime Achievement Award. This award is given to members of the ACVR who have made an outstanding contribution in the form of service, teaching, or research. As a Diplomate in Radiology and Radiation Oncology, she has contributed greatly to both colleges in her exemplary career. Her colleagues nominated her to recognize her efforts in advancing both specialties, but especially in Radiation Oncology. They highlight her as a “fearless and steadfast leader,” a national award-winning teacher, and a highly regarded researcher in comparative radiation oncology.
Dr. Michael Kent was a recipient of the ACVR Distinguished Service Award. This award is presented to members of the ACVR who have made outstanding service contributions to the College. His colleagues nominated him for his dedicated and continuous service to the AVCR, most prominently in development and support of the Radiation Oncology examination. From 2006 when he began his service on the Examination Committee, there has been tremendous change under his leadership through the Examination Director position. He led the transformation of the exam through validated databases and implementation of the Job Task Analyses, making it the robust, fair, and valid examination that it is today. Dr. Kent has a passion for education and has also led the efforts to define and describe the essentials of an RO residency program.
Both of these awards are open to nominations annually, and up to two Distinguished Service Awards can be given. We have so many talented and accomplished colleagues in our College, and those in academic positions can especially benefit from the recognition at their University. If you would like to propose recognizing one of your colleagues or mentors, please reference the ACVR web site for application instructions or contact Libby Dietrich for details.
At the Annual Business Meeting, I reviewed our strategic plan’s progress over the last 5 years and its relevance for the future. We have accomplished a great deal in all of the areas we have targeted for initiatives including growing the number of private practice residencies, improving the quality of the examination, and developing education. The plan remains relevant, and we will use it as a guide going forward. There are a few initiatives that we will be developing in support of our plan.
One of the difficult resources for non-academic institutions to provide for resident training is library material. ACVR is planning to develop a small-scale online library that will have access to journal articles, electronic books, and other learning resources required by our residents. This will also help to support the committees who are developing educational or testing material from references and help our members in non-academic positions keep up with new information. We will be working on this over the coming months with the web team and our support staff.
Director of Residency Standards
As we look to expand residency training further, we are in need of a strategic position to oversee the development of training programs over a longer term than a committee provides. This Director position will oversee the Job Task Analysis over time, guide the RSEC committee, and work with members of committees or an ad hoc committee to enhance residency guidelines and develop a credential process. Similar to the Examination Director positions, this will be essential to developing our training programs to meet the needs of all stakeholders. We will be developing the job description for this position and will provide more information at a later date.
December 1st marks the date of handover between our officers and our committee members. To those departing, thank you for your contributions to ACVR and the time and thought you devoted to your positions. To those entering terms of service, welcome! Your committee chairs and Brendan Leahy will be in contact with dates of meetings and an introduction to your positions. Dr. Ryan King has been very active in promoting committee vacancies in his role as President Elect and will be working with many of you as he steps into the Presidency in December. I encourage you to reach out if you’d like to join us in working on ACVR committees, as they are one of the hubs of our community of practice. I’d like to thank all of the people I worked with during my term for their advice and input and am extremely grateful for their service. We are a positive and innovating group and are deeply engaged in the success of our College, and it has been a privilege to serve the ACVR.
President, American College of Veterinary Radiology