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In this edition:

Message from the Chair
Reminder: Register for 2020 AAMC Councils Co-located Spring Meeting
AAMC Gender Equity Initiative
CFAS Society Profile: The American College of Radiology
CFAS Tweet Chat Summaries
Accessing the CFAS Member Directory
AAMC Group on Information Resources (GIR) Workforce Development Project


Message from the Chair


Dear Colleagues,

Welcome to the February edition of the CFAS Rep Bulletin. It is a pleasure to communicate with you on a regular basis through this publication, and I look forward to your direct comments and suggestions.

The CFAS Administrative Board has scheduled a CFAS Strategic Planning Retreat in June, immediately following the AAMC Leadership Forum and June Board of Directors meeting. As the AAMC moves forward with its Strategic Planning process into the implementation phase, it is an auspicious moment to pause and consider our successes and challenges as an AAMC Council, and how we can best move forward to serve our purpose as the Voice of Faculty. We plan to have this discussion in June as part of our retreat. To this this end, a small taskforce is working to organize the event. More details on this and on how you can contribute will be coming soon at the 2020 AAMC Councils Co-located Spring Meeting and also in future editions of this bulletin. Your ideas and input will be essential to the success of the CFAS Ad Board as it plans this work.

Registration for the 2020 CFAS Spring Meeting, which is co-located with the COD and COTH spring meetings, is in full swing. I hope you can arrive in time for committee work, which starts on Thursday, March 12 at 1 p.m. Remember that, apart from the Program and Nominating committees, all CFAS committee meetings are open to all reps who wish to attend. I encourage you to participate and engage with issues about which you are passionate. You can find a summary of all current CFAS committees here. I also hope you attend the Thursday, March 12 mini-reception and welcome at 5:45 p.m. This networking opportunity will provide an important introduction to the joint day on Friday between the three AAMC councils and will help you get the most out of your time in San Diego.

Please continue to contribute your feedback on past activities, including this bulletin, and your ideas for making CFAS a nimbler and more effective council. I greatly appreciate your direct feedback and look forward to hearing from you.

With warm regards,
Gabriela K. Popescu, PhD
CFAS Chair, 2019 – 2021

Reminder: Register for 2020 AAMC Councils Co-located Spring Meeting


Registration is still open for the 2020 AAMC Councils Co-located Spring Meeting on March 12–15 in San Diego, California. All three of the AAMC’s councils – the Council of Deans (COD), the Council of Teaching Hospitals, and CFAS – will meet for one day of joint programming on Friday, March 13th. The CFAS-only day of the meeting – Saturday, March 14 – will feature a long, interactive plenary focused on the USMLE Step 1 exam, which just announced a major change to a pass-fail scoring system. That will no doubt be a huge part of the session, as we hear from the NBME’s Michael Barone, and the AAMC’s Alison Whelan, along with a number of CFAS-rep experts on the topic. At the start of the meeting, CFAS committees will meet in the afternoon on Thursday, March 12 followed by a full day of collaboration with the deans and CEOs on Friday. We hope to see you there!

AAMC Gender Equity Initiative


Last month, the AAMC Board of Directors endorsed a statement and call to action for leaders in academic medicine to work to resolve gender inequities at their institutions. “The AAMC acknowledges that gender equity is a key factor in achieving excellence in academic medicine. It is well documented that diversity is a driver of excellence,” the statement reads. “To achieve the benefits of identity and cognitive diversity, diversity must be inextricably linked to inclusion and equity. Environments are equity-minded when every person can attain their full potential and no one is disadvantaged from achieving this potential by their social position, group identity, or other socially determined circumstance. Gender equity is an integral component of our efforts to achieve excellence through diversity, inclusion, and equity.”

The statement highlights four areas where leaders can focus their action in order to achieve equity: the physician and scientific workforce, leadership and compensation, research, and recognition. The AAMC has published a page with resources, toolkits, effective practices, and other materials to address gender equity. More information about this important initiative will be communicated at the 2020 AAMC Councils Co-located Spring Meeting and on the CFAS-only day of the meeting, there will be an update on the work in the plenary session on equity. In the meantime, questions or feedback can be sent to genderequity@aamc.org.

CFAS Society Profile: The American College of Radiology


The American College of Radiology (ACR) is the primary voice of advocacy for radiologists in terms of reimbursement, quality, safety, and other areas. “Quality and safety are major focuses. It used to be true that anyone could buy a machine and do imaging, but now federal law requires that outpatient facilities must be accredited before they do mammography, CT, or MRI imaging, among other modalities, to make sure patients are getting high quality examinations. Since 1993, ACR has been developing the Appropriateness Criteria® to assist referring providers in exam selection before a radiologic test is ordered. There is a broad spectrum of imaging exams that can be done, so it can be a challenge to know which is the right exam, if imaging is indicated at all,” said ACR’s CEO, William Thorwarth, MD, FACR.

ACR has 39,000 members, including diagnostic radiologists, radiation oncologists, interventional radiologists, nuclear medicine physicians, medical physicists, and other health care professionals involved in radiology. Just under 9,000 of ACR’s members are members in training and about 6,000 are retired members.

ACR was instrumental in the development of a program called “Radiology Teaches®” spearheaded by Dr. Marc Willis. This interactive program helps medical students choose the right imaging exam for a given clinical circumstance and has been adopted into widespread use in medical schools across the country. Radiology Teaches® enables students to become familiar with the Protecting Access to Medicare Act (PAMA), which requires that physicians working with Medicare patients consult appropriate use criteria like the previously mentioned ACR Appropriateness Criteria® before they order certain radiologic tests.

ACR continues to be a voice to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) on issues that affect radiologists. “Currently, we have concerns about several rulings that have come from Medicare and we are the primary voice to CMS concerning coverage and reimbursement in radiology. ACR specifically advocates for the benefits of lung cancer screening and CT colonography (CTC). We successfully worked with Medicare to secure coverage for lung cancer screening with low-dose CT, but current payment is inadequate. We also participated with the National Lung Cancer Round Table because only 4% of the eligible population was getting screened. After that collaborative group promoted this initiative, there was an increase in the percentage of the population that is being screened,” said Dr. Thorwarth.

ACR is still working with CMS to secure coverage for CT colonography to improve colon cancer screening rates. Dr. Thorwarth said CT colonography is much easier, safer, and less expensive than regular colonoscopy. ACR is also a promoter of Breast Cancer Awareness Month and maintaining coverage for annual mammography beginning at age 40, which has been a major driver of the drastic reduction in breast cancer mortality.
 
As an accrediting organization, ACR ensures that facilities provide safe and high-quality imaging and radiation oncology care. ACR also has unique educational offerings: It sponsors the American Institute of Radiologic Pathology, where 98% of all radiology residents learn how to interpret images in light of various pathologies, and administers an education center in Reston, Virginia, where radiologists can take courses at home that simulate their practice. That center offers 3-day “boot camps” with one faculty member per 10 attendees who work through hundreds of cases on specific topics. The different courses include mammography, cardiac imaging, emergency radiology, and many others. A central server with a built-in “case engine” generates hundreds of cases for attendees to work through with expert guidance as if they were looking through real images in their practices. ACR also offers more conventional online learning programs and 8,000 members have enrolled in the modules for Continuous Professional Improvement. These online modules can also help radiologists in training prepare for board exams.

These educational opportunities are crucial to giving radiologists the tools to thrive in a rapidly changing practice environment. Radiologists are facing an increasing volume of information, not just in the number of cases, but in the amount of information per case, which is increasing exponentially, said Yoshimi Anzai, MD, MPH, CFAS rep for ACR and the Associate Chief Medical Quality Officer and a Professor of Radiology at University of Utah Health. “It is becoming challenging for human eyes to examine so much information carefully. This makes the amount of time we can spend on cases shorter. Artificial intelligence and machine learning can hopefully alleviate these workload related challenges soon. These technologies can help radiologists focus on interpretation in the clinical context, rather than detecting and comparing lesions. They also help us prioritize which cases should be viewed first. A lot of radiology research is now focusing on AI machine learning applications.”

Dr. Anzai also discussed how CFAS membership benefits ACR. One of the greatest benefits that comes with membership in CFAS is the opportunity to connect with other society representatives. “Talking with other society representatives at AAMC and CFAS meetings helps us understand the common issues other medical professionals face with regard to research, education, and patient care. When people from diverse backgrounds, different levels of experience, and various fields of expertise come together, we can identify truly impactful solutions. Radiologists don’t want to practice in vacuums; we are always partnering with other specialties.”

One of ACR’s primary hopes in working with CFAS and the AAMC is to expose medical students to radiology early in their medical school curricula given that significant health issues almost always involve diagnostic imaging at some point, so radiology is integral to quality care delivery. Regardless of the specialty, almost every practitioner works with radiologists and there are increasing opportunities for radiology to advance medical education. For example, anatomy used to be taught with cadaver dissections but is more often done now through cross sectional imaging used in clinical practice, according to Dr. Thorwarth.

Becky Haines, Vice President of ACR Press, also commented on how ACR benefits from membership in CFAS. “It is part of ACR’s mission to work across medicine to ensure that the full value of radiology is accessed to improve patient care. Engaging with faculty, students, and trainees in medical schools is crucial to ACR’s goals of improve caring, lowering costs, and delivering better patient outcomes. Active participation in the AAMC and partnership across its groups will help us deliver a transformed health care system that benefits all.”

CFAS Tweet Chat Summaries


The next CFAS Tweet Chat will take place at the 2020 AAMC Councils Co-located Spring Meeting on Friday, March 13 at 6:45 pm Pacific time (9:45 pm EST) and will focus on leadership and leadership development. Participants will gather to start the chat during the joint networking reception. These chats are always fun, interactive events and can be surprisingly good icebreakers, so please consider participating even if you are unfamiliar with Twitter. Participants must use #CFASChat in their tweets to be included in the conversation. Please reach out to Alex Bolt at abolt@aamc.org if you would like to be considered as a co-host for the chat, or if you have any questions about participating. PowerPoint summaries of the past two CFAS Tweet Chats can be viewed on the CFAS Resources webpage.

Accessing the CFAS Member Directory


Due to changes in the structure of the AAMC’s new website, there are a couple additional steps CFAS reps must take to access the CFAS member directory for a list of active CFAS reps.

  1. Go to aamc.org/cfas, scroll down toward the bottom of the CFAS page, and click on the “My Affinity Groups” button in the large blue section.
  2. Login with your AAMC credentials.
  3. After you are taken to your profile page, in the “My AAMC Menu” box on the right side of the page, click “My AAMC Affinity Group Participation”.
  4. Click the blue “Search My Affinity Groups” button in the middle of the page titled, “My AAMC Affinity Groups.”
  5. In the “group” field on the following page, click the drop-down and select “Council of Faculty and Academic Societies (CFAS)”. You do not need to enter any further data.
  6. Press “Search”.

If you follow all these steps, you should be taken to a directory of all active CFAS reps. If you encounter any difficulties reaching this page after following the steps, please contact Alex Bolt at abolt@aamc.org for assistance. Additionally, the CFAS pages of the AAMC website contain a list of active CFAS member societies including links to each society’s website.

AAMC Group on Information Resources (GIR) Workforce Development Project


In 2018-2019, the steering committee of the AAMC’s Group on Information Resources (GIR) developed a resource examining the future IT workforce and the skills needed to be successful in IT. As part of this process, the GIR identified several areas of importance about the future workforce and communicated their viewpoints on these topics.

Looking for information about CFAS? Find what you need on our website, from the names of CFAS leaders, to updates on committee and working group initiatives, to upcoming offerings and meetings, and finally, current and previous editions of CFAS News.

Do you have ideas or suggestions for the newsletter? A recommendation for a CFAS rep or member society to profile? Please send your ideas to Eric Weissman at eweissman@aamc.org, or call Eric directly at 202-828-0044. You can also reach out with questions or comments to CFAS Communications Specialist Alex Bolt and CFAS Communications Committee Chair, Alan Dow, MD.

Previous Editions
January 2020 | October 2019 | July 2019

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