10 Questions with Paul H. Ellenbogen, MD, FACR

September 22, 2014

For this “10 Questions” series, we spoke with Paul H. Ellenbogen, MD, FACR about his work and the future of radiology.

Our “10 Questions” series asks the same questions to a diverse group of professionals in the medical imaging community.

Here, we profiled Eliot Siegel, MD, FACR, FSIIM.

- See more at: http://www.diagnosticimaging.com/practice-management/10-questions-eliot-siegel-md-facr-fsiim#sthash.igZZB52U.dpuf

Our “10 Questions” series asks the same questions to a diverse group of professionals in the medical imaging community.

Here, we profiled Eliot Siegel, MD, FACR, FSIIM.

- See more at: http://www.diagnosticimaging.com/practice-management/10-questions-eliot-siegel-md-facr-fsiim#sthash.igZZB52U.dpuf

Our "10 Questions" series asks the same questions to a diverse group of professionals in the medical imaging community.

 Here, we profiled Paul H. Ellenbogen MD, FACR, ACR president. 

1. Please state your name, title and the organization you work for. 

Paul H. Ellenbogen, MD, FACR, president, the American College of Radiology. 

2. How did you get where you are today?

As a resident and fellow in radiology at UCSD, I was energized by attending meetings of the San Diego Radiology Society. Faculty members, trainees, and private practitioners got together monthly for dinner, adult beverages, and talks and education. Part of the evening included “unknown cases” shown to the faculty by residents and other faculty. A kind of “stump the stars” like the RSNA film panel.

When I moved to Dallas to begin private practice I immediately joined the DFW Radiology Society and within a few years joined their leadership track. I also served on several of the committees of the AIUM. Then I got involved with the Texas Radiological Society. That led to my serving in several offices including President of the TRS. That led to my being chosen to serve as an alternate councilor to the ACR. Over time, I became a councilor, an elected member of the CSC, then vice speaker and speaker of the council. Additional offices and years of service on the BOC led to my election as vice chair, then chairman of the board and most recently president.

I believe that I was lucky to be in the right place at the right time, and I had the willingness to devote the time, effort, and enthusiasm that it takes to serve in large national organizations.

3. Why did you choose your profession?[[{"type":"media","view_mode":"media_crop","fid":"27889","attributes":{"alt":"","class":"media-image media-image-right","id":"media_crop_4125733869150","media_crop_h":"0","media_crop_image_style":"-1","media_crop_instance":"2778","media_crop_rotate":"0","media_crop_scale_h":"0","media_crop_scale_w":"0","media_crop_w":"0","media_crop_x":"0","media_crop_y":"0","style":"line-height: 1.538em; height: 221px; width: 166px; border-width: 0px; border-style: solid; margin: 1px; float: right;","title":"Paul H. Ellenbogen, MD, FACR, president of the American College of Radiology","typeof":"foaf:Image"}}]]

As a child I loved science and photography. My father was a civil engineer and he taught me to think and draw in three dimensions. Radiology was an obvious choice.

4. What is your biggest day-to-day challenge? 

Staying current – I have been in practice for 37 years and there has been an explosion in information and new techniques and modalities. It is a full-time job just trying to read, digest, and incorporate all that is new. However, with the dramatic changes in health care of late, we need to stay informed. 

5. What worries, if any, do you have about the future of radiology? If none, where do you think the field is going?

I worry that radiology will have difficulty attracting the best and the brightest minds. For at least the past two decades, radiology was highly competitive for admission and advancement. As all of medicine and especially radiology suffers reimbursement cuts, we may have slightly less brilliant minds joining our specialty. Funding for GME is broken. Funding for research is being slashed.

6. What one thing would make your job better?

Starting a little later in the day! But, seriously, I love what I do. I would not trade it for anything in the world.

7. What is your favorite thing about radiology?

Radiology is at the center of the medical universe. Working with sophisticated people and   equipment to help diagnose wellness or disease, and then playing a role in treatment or surveillance is an honor and a privilege.

8. What is your least favorite thing about radiology?

The constant pressure that changes in reimbursement, with increasing patient load, put on providers to work more quickly. I think that working faster and faster is detrimental to the patient and ultimately to the physician.

9. What is the field’s biggest obstacle?

Changing the mindset of current and future radiologists. As written and said over and over in Imaging 3.0 and elsewhere – we must be more involved in consultation with the patient and with ordering physicians and other providers.  Thinking and striving for value over volume is essential.

10. If you could give the radiology industry one piece of advice, what would it be?

Always remember that radiology is a profession with a business component – not a business that happens to be involved in healthcare.

 

Is there someone in the imaging community that you want to hear from? E-mail us the name and we'll ask them 10 questions!

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