Building Bridges With our Osteopathic Colleagues
How can complementary specialties align to support patient care?
Recently, the pages of JACR (and this blog) have touched upon diversity and the importance of forging connections with people outside of radiology, as evidenced by the December special issue and the topic of JACR's #RSNA15's Tweet Up.
All these efforts at inclusivity and outreach are commendable. But to take it a step further, I thought I would do a little "in-reach," looking within our own community of radiology. What individuals or groups can I get to know better? I can think of several, such as medical physicists, informatics experts, and radiation oncologists. I will be making a concerted effort to reach out to them and others. To get the ball rolling, I had the following exchange with one of our osteopathic radiology colleagues, Timothy A. McKnight, DO, to dscuss his approach to patient care and the intersection between complementary specialty societies.
Q: What is your current position?
A: I practice at Beaumont Farmington Hospital, a 330-bed community hospital in the western suburbs of Detroit. I practice general radiology, but I am fellowship-trained in body imaging. I currently serve as the associate director for our radiology residency program.
Q: What do you like most about being a radiologist?
A:I love consulting with other specialties and discussing imaging directly related to patient care. I also enjoy educating both radiology and non-radiology residents about image interpretation and best practices for imaging utilization.
Q: What does being an osteopathic radiologist mean to you?
A: What attracted me to osteopathic medicine was the patient-centered "whole person" approach to care. I take every opportunity for a patient interaction, whether I am doing a barium study or an image-guided biopsy. I sit and talk with the patient about why their imaging procedure is needed, my role, and how the procedure fits into the bigger picture of their overall care. I honestly didn't know much about the American College of Osteopathic Radiology (AOCR) until recently.
Q: What would you like ACR members, especially JACR readers, to know about the AOCR?
A: Founded in 1941, the AOCR is a sister society to the ACR. Nearly all of our 900+ members are also ACR members. Our primary mission is focused on excellence in education as well as promoting research and concepts for delivery of quality cost-effective health care. Like the ACR, the AOCR has members across the entire country in both academic and private practice. Many of us practice in groups with both MD and DO radiologists. Similar to other societies, we communicate our message in various ways, including social media. The most effective method has been individual members directly engaging with the broader radiology community, both in daily radiology practice and in shared activities with the ACR and other radiology societies.
Q: What are some of the unique features of the AOCR and how do those enhance the field radiology?
A: To me, the most unique feature about the AOCR is the family atmosphere due its relatively small size. When I first joined, I quickly got to know many of the long-standing members who I now consider friends. They got me involved in many society activities, such as serving on committees, speaking at educational programs, acting as a national convention program chair, and serving on JAOCR's editorial board. A strong commitment by the college to get young members involved in administrative functions ensures a fresh perspective and enhances our messaging to the community as well as our educational content.
Q: Do AOCR members regularly read JACR? Do they feel their voices are being heard in its pages?
A: I and many of my osteopathic colleagues are regular JACR readers. We discuss the highlights of recent issues and include JACR articles in our radiology resident journal club. Both my DO and MD colleagues feel that JACR produces relevant content, voicing our concerns regarding changes in health care and education policy and providing guidance for best practices. And we also commiserate over shared frustrations that are so well-articulated in JACR editorials. The AOCR also has its own journal. The JAOCR is a quarterly online journal entering its fifth year of publication.
Q: What are some of the challenges you face?
A: All due credit should go to William T. O'Brien, DO, the journal's editor-in-chief, who championed the creation of the JAOCR. Running the journals has been an on-going labor of love for him and the college, so I reached out to him for this question. In his own words: "The biggest challenge for the JAOCR has been identifying and selecting a diverse group of expert guest editors for each subspecialty issue. We would like to expand opportunities for contributions to the JAOCR to a larger portion of the ACR community. The scope of the JAOCR is educational, consisting of high-quality review articles and high-yield differential-based case reports."
Q: Do you and the AOCR work to build bridges with the ACR leadership and membership? In addition to existing connections, how else might the ACR and AOCR strengthen their current relationship?
A: Allopathic and osteopathic medical school graduates now train side-by-side as radiology residents, rather having separate parallel training programs. The unification of American Osteopathic Association residency training programs into the ACGME is perhaps the most visible way in which we are coming together to provide common high-quality standards under the new accreditation system. The AOCR has interacted directly with the ACR at the administrative level for decades. Our goals align to enhance the radiology community as a whole. Our leadership has had a cordial and productive relationship with the ACR leadership for many years, which we expect will continue for years to come. The best way of strengthening ties is ongoing dialogue between AOCR members and other ACR members in person, via social media, and by means of collaborative projects. Any member of the ACR is always welcome to attend our educational meetings, contribute to the JAOCR, or participate with other efforts within the AOCR.
One of the most rewarding aspects of writing this blog has been developing new relationships with radiology colleagues and others, as well as enhancing existing relationships. Please share your thoughts, experiences, and ideas for how you build these relationships and how JACR can be a partner in relationship building. My comment box awaits your input! (Tweets are always welcome, too.)