ACR, ARRS linkup joinseducation, political goals

April 1, 2009

Societies hope to eliminate redundant operationsand sharpen educational program's focus

The American College of Radiology and American Roentgen Ray Society have reached a decision to work together more closely through a strategic agreement that would refine the missions of the two Virginia-based professional societies.

The strategic integration would slow the ACR's swift expansion beyond its core focus on political advocacy in recent years. The opening of the $5 million ACR Education Center was an eye-opener, according to Dr. James Thrall, chair of the ACR board of chancellors. Organizers of its first round of seminars found that they were in competition with the ARRS for faculty members that organization was recruiting for its own set of seminars.

“The ARRS is the premier organization for radiologist education,” Thrall said in an interview. “The situation reminded us that both organizations should concentrate on what they do best.”

The strategic integration, announced Feb. 6, initially means the ACR will retain title to the education center, but the 20,000-member ARRS in Leesburg, VA, will increasingly provide continuing educational programs at the facility.

The ACR's political lobbying, public outreach, practice management, and imaging research initiatives will not be affected. It has 32,000 members and is based in Reston, VA.

The names, identities, and governing bodies of the two organizations will remain intact, but they will look for more opportunities to reduce redundancy and increase joint operational efficiencies by working together, Thrall said.

“We believe this plan adds to the strengths of both organizations,” said ARRS president Dr. John K. Crowe said in an interview. “In the future, it will be better to be interdependent, rather than independent.”

Governance of the two organizations will overlap with the creation of five seats on the ACR board of chancellors that will be filled by ARRS leaders and two new seats on the ARRS executive council to be filled by ACR leaders, Thrall said. Both organizations will continue to maintain separate membership rolls.

ARRS members will vote April 29, during the business meeting of the society's annual meeting in Boston, on bylaw changes required to authorize the alliance. At its 2008 annual meeting, the ACR approved necessary changes to its bylaws in anticipation of the plan. A few housekeeping issues still require attention on the ACR side, Thrall said.

“This is all about maximizing value. We think we will be able to create more value for the members of both organizations,” he said. “We are going to do some marvelous things together.”