Feature | Breast Imaging | April 29, 2024 | By Christine Book

A breast imaging leader discusses innovations in artificial intelligence and advocacy initiatives

Amy K. Patel, MD

Amy K. Patel, MD


From implementing artificial intelligence effectively, advocating for radiologists, and working tirelessly to expand visibility of both the profession and women practitioners, Amy K. Patel, MD, has been heralded as a ‘trailblazer’ by the American College of Radiology (ACR). It’s clear to see why. As immediate past president of the American Association for Women in Radiology (AAWR) and through active involvement with a host of organizations, Patel’s dedication and energy is a force multiplier. During our discussion, she took time to share a call to action to colleagues, an update on the value of AI in breast imaging, and words of wisdom for early career radiologists in this issue’s ITN One on One feature. You can watch the full video here.

ITN: You’ve been referred to as a ‘trailblazer in breast radiology,’ and your leadership roles provide a unique perspective. What can you tell us about the latest advancements and how you see those impacting women’s health and radiology practices in the future?

PATEL: As much as I think that medicine can be very challenging, and obviously, we still face a lot of challenges post COVID and beyond, I do think it’s a really exciting time to be practicing. Particularly as a breast radiologist, I’m very excited because we’ve truly entered this era of personalized breast care for our patients. And with that, asking: what do we need to do to tailor appropriate management for patients based on various factors? I do think that artificial intelligence (AI), in particular, is going to play an immense role as we proceed with this era of personalized breast care. So that’s really where I see us going when it comes to this specialty. Asking how we can use artificial intelligence via the various modalities — whether it’s mammography, ultrasound, breast MRI, whether it’s triaging patients, utilizing it for workflows, or predicting, for example, lymphadenopathy in patients that have cancer, finding why those nodes are affected. There are so many things in our field, which I’m really, really excited about. And really, I think AI is just going to help augment what we do as breast radiologists to be better when we deliver care to our patients.

ITN: There is tremendous collaboration among radiology organizations when it comes to advocacy. What initiatives do you feel are most important, and how can members of these organizations work to advance key policies and priorities?

PATEL: What’s really wonderful, I think about the ‘house of medicine,’ and particularly, radiology is that there are so many issues on which we can collaborate, to advocate — whether it’s our patients or our profession as a whole. Right now, in particular, we are advocating to prevent National Institutes of Health (NIH) funding cuts. It seems like every few years NIH funding is on the chopping block. Particularly right now through the ACR Radiology Advocacy Network (RAN), we have a call to action out. If you are an ACR member, you should receive an email to respond to the call to action. We highly encourage that ACR members respond because these calls to action matter. These are letters that are digitally populated automatically, within seconds that go to your federal elected official, imploring them to vote pro NIH policies. So that is one big piece currently.

We continue to soldier on when it comes to Medicare reform. As we know, Medicare cuts have continuously been happening over decades now. And we’re really at a point where we have to sit down and come up with long standing Medicare reform. So that’s another hot topic, I would say in advocacy from scope of practice. That is something that has popped up all over the country vociferously when it comes to others, who are not radiologists, wanting to interpret imaging studies. So that is something that we continue to fight for as well. Then there are issues such as paid parental leave: making sure that regardless of gender, you have the appropriate time off that you need, whether you have some sort of medical malady, whether you have a child, etc. I just had a baby about eight months ago now and this is really on the top of my mind. We have some really amazing trailblazers who are pushing for paid parental leave initiatives, particularly 12 weeks, such as Dr. Elizabeth Arleo, who spearheaded this through the American Association for Women in Radiology (AAWR). Then a resolution passed through the American College of Radiology, again, highlighting the collaborative approach of advocacy among organizations. There really are so many advocacy topics currently. It’s just so important that we work together as a ‘house of radiology’ to push for these really imperative initiatives.

ITN: What recommendations do you have for early career radiologists seeking guidance on leveraging their leadership potential?

PATEL: Whenever there’s a young radiologist who comes to me seeking guidance, I always say a couple things to them. Number one, it’s really important for you to develop a diverse cadre of mentors and sponsors of career level, practice, type, gender, even outside of radiology. Some of my most prolific mentors aren’t even radiologists, and I think you learn and you grow a lot from that, learning from different vocations. My husband is an architect, and I feel like I learn so much from him in so many ways, as well. So really having this diverse tribe of mentors and sponsors is so important, especially if you have a modicum of interest in leadership positions. The second thing I would say is to keep an open mind. Early on I had so many interests and, arguably, I still do, but I think it’s good for you, as a young radiologist, to really see what’s out there, see what you like, what you don’t like. And then over time, you can really start to narrow your interests. So I always say keep an open mind initially, and then you can start to narrow in and really see how you want your career to be focused and how you want it to grow.

Watch the VIDEO: One on One with Amy K. Patel, MD, American Association for Women in Radiology Immediate Past President 

SIDEBAR:

Amy K. Patel, MD

CURRENT ROLES

•Medical Director of the Breast Care Center at Liberty Hospital, Liberty, Mo.

•Managing Partner, Alliance Radiology

•Board-Certified Breast Imaging Fellowship Trained Radiologist

•Chairman, Liberty Hospital Cancer Program

•Associate Professor, University of Missouri-Kansas City School of Medicine

LEADERSHIP POSITIONS

American Association for Women in Radiology (AAWR): 

Immediate Past President

 

American College of Radiology (ACR): 

•Chair, Radiology Advocacy Network (RAN) and RADPAC

•Commission for Women and Diversity

•Associate Editor-Digital Media, Journal of the American College of Radiology, JACR Radiological Society of North America (RSNA)

•Outstanding Community Impact Award Committee member Society of Breast Imaging (SBI):

    •Newsletter Committee member

    •Young Professionals Section Past Co-Chair

American Cancer Society (ACS) Kansas City Chairman’s Circle Board Chair

Recognition

•First female, and youngest radiologist recipient, ACR Howard Fleishon MD
Advocate of the Year Award

•Former recipient of the Radiology Leadership Institute Summit Scholarship

•Former ACR Rutherford Lavanty Fellow in Government Relations

•Kansas City Medical Society Patient and Community Advocate 2021 Award Recipient 

Education

•Graduate of the combined BA/MD accelerated program at the University of Missouri-Kansas City

•Completed her Diagnostic Radiology Residency at the University of Kansas-Wichita, where she served as the first female chief resident in an all-male program

•Completed her Breast Imaging Fellowship at Mallinckrodt Institute of Radiology Washington University in Saint Louis

Related content:

VIDEO: One on One with Amy K. Patel, MD, American Association for Women in Radiology Immediate Past President

Leaders from RadEqual and the AAWR Sign MOU, Solidifying Commitment to Advance Opportunities in Radiology

Technology Report: Artificial Intelligence in Radiology 2021

VIDEO: Integrating Artificial Intelligence Into Radiologists Workflow


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