Our “10 Questions” series asks the same questions to a diverse group of professionals in the medical imaging community.
Here, we profiled Lawrence Muroff, MD, FACR.
1. Please state your name, title and the organization you work for.
My name is Lawrence R. Muroff, MD, FACR. I am the CEO and President of Imaging Consultants, Inc. I am also a clinical professor of radiology at the University of Florida and the University of South Florida Colleges of Medicine.
2. How did you get where you are today?
I was fortunate to have several mentors who took an interest in me early in my career. That, combined with a diligent work ethic and a determination to fulfill the assignments given to me by our national societies, enabled me to ascend to major leadership roles in both imaging and specialty (nuclear medicine and MRI) societies. Mentoring and a lot of productive work seem to go together. When you are willing to work, people seem more willing to help you with your career development.
3. Why did you choose your profession?
My profession chose me. I was determined to be a pelvic cancer surgeon. It was the Vietnam war era, so I volunteered for the Berry Plan (residency deferment) in all three armed services. It was a lottery, and my number was not chosen by any of the services. During my senior year of medical school, I had taken an elective with Dr. Judah Folkman (the father of angiogenesis). Several national laboratories invited me to spend my two years of service obligation at their facilities replicating the work that I had started at Harvard. The best fit was the National Center for Radiologic Health, which morphed into the Bureau for Radiological Health. Once I got to the lab, I became exposed to radiology and nuclear medicine. Just before I was to return to my surgical training program, I switched specialties and opted for a radiology residency. That turned out to be the best professional decision that I could ever have made.
4. What is your biggest day-to-day challenge?
My biggest challenge is to help radiologists see the need to change. The attitudes of radiologists need to change, and the culture of the specialty needs to change, as well. Change is difficult for anyone, but is particularly difficult for radiologists because we have had a great professional “run” for a long period of time.
5. What worries, if any, do you have about the future of radiology? If none, where do you think the field is going?
I see denial mixed with a pervasive sense of entitlement. Both are barriers to needed change. We have to understand that we are in a difficult environment. Reimbursement is declining, non-traditional competition is intensifying and turf wars will be increasing. Radiologists will have to make a difference or they will be irrelevant. Others will gladly take what we believe is ours.
I ask attendees at ACR and other leadership meetings, “What is the role of radiology on House (and other popular medical TV shows)?” The audience quickly says that there is no role. Nothing could be further from the truth. Radiology plays a central role on any TV show depicting modern medicine. The problem is that radiologists are nowhere to be seen. This is a parable for modern medicine. The future for radiology is bright; the future for radiologists is far less certain.