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RSNA: Q&A with Dr. Jackson

Imaging Community Exchange (ICE) magazine enjoyed a Q&A with RSNA President Valerie P. Jackson, M.D., ahead of the 2019 annual meeting.

Q: What are some of RSNA’s achievements that you are the most proud of as you continue to serve as president?

Jackson: RSNA continues to be a thought leader in informatics and the burgeoning field of artificial intelligence. RSNA recognizes the importance of data technology and the deep learning applications that will lend support to our specialty in the coming years.

Also, just this year, RSNA has also launched three new online journals, Radiology: Artificial Intelligence, Radiology: Cardiothoracic Imaging, and, most recently, Radiology: Imaging Cancer. These new journals are a great benefit to our members.

Lastly, I continue to be proud of our collaborative work with other societies. Whether it’s partnering with Sociedade Paulista de Radiologia e Diagnóstico por Imagem (SPR) to develop a comprehensive Jornada Paulista de Radiologia (JPR) program or creating a 3D printing data registry with ACR, RSNA believes that our societies are strongest when we work together to provide high-quality education to all our members and develop resources that allow us to deliver optimal care to our patients.

Q: Are there any causes that you feel strongly about? What is the status of these causes?

Jackson: Education is a cause that’s very close to my heart. The RSNA Research & Education Foundation continues to lead the way in funding radiology research and education initiatives. This year, the Foundation Board of Trustees approved over $5 million in grants, supporting over 100 recipients from 48 different institutions.

Q: What are some of the challenges radiologists are facing now? How can they navigate these obstacles?

Jackson: Most radiologists are now aware of the importance of patient-centered practice. However, the sincere desire to be patient-centered doesn’t mitigate the pressure of high caseloads and short turnaround times. In addition, we may encounter referring physicians who may not see the value in partnering with us in patient interactions.

The key to navigating these obstacles is to adjust our own perspective. If something is truly important to us, we find the time and make the effort. Instead of focusing on the challenges, we need to focus on the benefits of patient interaction, such as a greater sense of trust and a reduction in miscommunication and errors. In the same vein, if we build value-based relationships with referring physicians, we can improve efficiency, establish our value as part of the health care team and provide better care to our patients. Everyone wins.

Q: You are an expert in the field of breast imaging. Can you share your thoughts about some of the latest advances and the future of breast imaging?

Jackson: In the last few years, tomosynthesis has established itself as a valuable screening option; we’ve seen an expansion in genetic testing; and breast density – and its associated risk – has entered the national dialogue. One of the things we’re seeing more of in the research phase is the use of AI and deep learning to aid in the detection of early-stage cancers and assessment of breast cancer risk.

Q: Can you share the latest regarding RSNA’s continued efforts as a convener for artificial intelligence, machine learning and deep learning?

Jackson: This has been a very productive area for RSNA. Just in the past year, there have been workshops, webinars, international and North American spotlight courses, research roadmaps and a new journal dedicated to this exciting field. And, of course, RSNA 2019 will have a host of AI technologies and learning opportunities for our attendees. The AI Showcase has a new, expanded location, featuring daily presentations in the AI Showcase Theater, the RSNA Deep Learning Classroom, a hands-on classroom, and a special RSNA exhibit on emerging data technologies.

Q: Technological advances seem to come faster and faster in every aspect of health care. What have been some of the most amazing technological advances you have seen in radiology since earning your medical degree?

Jackson: Where to begin? Radiology continues to grow by leaps and bounds. When I earned my medical degree, MRI was in its infancy. Since that time we’ve seen an explosion of new technologies from hybrid modalities like PET/CT to interventional radiology, and even the shift from film-screen to digital. Now, of course, we have advanced visualization, 3-D printing and artificial intelligence, and biomarkers and genetic breakthroughs that fuel precision medicine.

Q: What advice would you offer radiologists who are entering the field?

Jackson: Work with your colleagues to create a culture of patient interaction. Take every opportunity to engage with your patients. Of course, I encourage you to become an RSNA member and volunteer – in little or big ways – to build your leadership skills and play a role in strengthening our specialty.

Q: Thank you for your time. Is there anything else you would like to share with our readers?

Jackson: Join us at the Radiological Society of North America Scientific Assembly and Annual Meeting, December 1-6, in Chicago. With an innovative, inspiring program and a massive exhibition showcasing the latest in imaging technology, RSNA 2019 offers a wealth of education and networking opportunities to keep imaging professionals at the top of their game. I hope to see you there!

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