RSNA 2022 Plenary Session speaker, Reed A. Omary, MD, MS, Professor and Chair of Radiology at Vanderbilt University Medical Center (VUMC), focused on radiologist's role in patient health care, community health and well-being, and planetary health during the Nov. 29 address.
November 29, 2022 — It was only fitting that on Giving Tuesday, the RSNA 2022 5k Fun Run kicked off the third day of the Scientific Assembly and Annual Meeting of the Radiological Society of North America (RSNA 2022). With 676 registrants and 441 runners, the event is reported to have raised nearly $30,000 benefitting the RSNA Research & Education Foundation.
Appropriately, Tuesday’s Plenary Session speaker, Reed A. Omary, MD, MS, Professor and Chair of Radiology at Vanderbilt University Medical Center (VUMC) in Nashville, TN, praised the Foundation’s work, and urged the radiology community to continue to support its important mission, of which he was a beneficiary early in his career. His lecture, “Designing Radiology for Patients, Communities and the Planet,” reinforced the message of giving, and radiologists’ capacity to expand their reach and impact.
Omary’s address shed light on the opportunity for radiologists to take responsibility and action in supporting not only patient health, but community health and well-being, and planetary health.
A Call for Civic Leadership
“We in medicine are the most trusted professionals in the world, but we have to earn that trust, and we cannot betray that trust.” Further, he added, “As radiologists, we need to see that it’s important to give back — to our communities, and to organizations that support our values,” said Omary.
“I’d like us to think about how we can move from sympathy to empathy, and how we can move from the maze of healthcare to amazing healthcare,” said Omary, asking audience members to consider how each can make a difference.
In a clarion call, he spoke to a new vision of radiology where practitioners are not only functioning as radiologists, but as civic leaders. “How might we improve the impact of what radiology is by promoting civic action?” he asked, encouraging those present to “do something outside of radiology to help radiology…We have the ability when we step out of radiology to share what we do.”
As one example, he noted Amy Patel, MD, who was in the audience, sporting a Kansas City Chiefs jersey. Voted one of the team’s top fans, he noted Patel was the only physician to be named “Fan of the Year." Using the World Cup theme, he noted how this football story has helped to elevate the practice of radiology to 208 million people. He urged everyone to “use the football,” and to vote for Patel as the NFL Fan of the Year, for which the Chiefs nomated her, to ensure the visibility continues to grow.
He identified multiple ways that the entire radiology community can work together on “Designing Radiology 2030’ — from offering empathy, designing the care of the patient with the patient, and working to reduce radiology’s environmental impacts. Omary shared the Sustainable Development Goals of the United Nations, noting climate care is health care. He shared six specific steps for “Climate Action in Radiology:” powering down monitors, partnering with supply chain, incorporating climate education, conducting related research, reducing travel, and establishing “Green Teams.”
“We have the opportunity to recognize that climate care is health care, and when we address the health of the planet, we impact the health of our patients. It’s up to all of us to take responsibility.”
On Health Equity
Discussing the value of design thinking, he noted numerous colleagues who have advanced this concept in radiology to focus more on health equity. “The process of design thinking starts with empathy, and bringing together many voices” he noted. He praised, among others, the work of a Vanderbilt University Department of Radiology colleague, Lucy Spalluto, MD, MPH, an Associate Professor of Radiology, Vice Chair of Health Equity, and Associate Director, Office of Diversity & Inclusion for the Department of Radiology. She serves on ACR’s Commission on Patient and Family-Centered Care. He encouraged the audience to consider ways they can go back to their departments and teams to advance these initiatives.
Similar to DE&I initiatives that are now mainstream, he predicted that sustainability and climate change will continue to gain momentum in the radiology community and in healthcare overall.
Exceeding Expectations for Impact
Omary relayed a story about his 11-year-old daughter’s broken glasses, and the exceptional service provided by the company in raising the standards for radiologists. When taking in the broken frame, the Warby Parker clerk noticed scratched lenses and immediately offered to ship a brand new set of glasses.
“How can we are radiologists go beyond our customers’ expectations, so that our patients and recommending physicians start telling stories about us and our service?” asked Omary.
RSNA Past-President Bruce Haffty, MD, who introduced Omary and summarized his work, offered praise for the presentation, saying, “Thank you for the fabulous and thought-provoking lecture, and for all you are doing for the field of radiology.”
For more information: https://www.rsna.org/re-foundation
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