JACR®: A Necessary, Valuable Resource for Residents and Fellows
By C. Matthew Hawkins, MD
Intern year. Residency. Fellowship. Maybe a second fellowship? It is at least six years of training for most of us. It is a long time — or so it seems, at least. There is a tremendous amount of material diagnostic radiology trainees must absorb during this time. (And the amount of information is growing exponentially). It begins with learning how to dictate, navigating a PACS, finding where you can get a cup of coffee and figuring out how to find the pager number of the surgery intern on call. Of course, residency quickly evolves into learning the physics that generate images, as well as those that create artifacts. Training concludes with a keen eye, a firm grasp of the differential diagnosis for most imaging findings, and, in many cases, an independent capability to perform many minimally invasive, image-guided interventions. The evolution of learners in radiology is impressive.
However, underlying the core clinical curriculum embraced by all training programs is a vast and often bewildering body of knowledge about vitally important, nonclinical topics that affect radiology practices and our profession. Health policy, economics, practice management, quality and leadership are fields that are constantly driving change in radiology. To be considered competent, it is undoubtedly necessary for trainees to learn the differential diagnoses for anterior, middle and posterior mediastinal masses. However, concurrently developing an understanding of the nonclinical aspects of our profession is also becoming a necessity for graduating trainees who want to be value-added members of radiology departments.
Most radiology residency curricula do not include formal education about these topics. And even if they do, it often leaves trainees wanting more. Although there is an overwhelming number of books, meetings and online resources available to learn about clinical radiology, there is a striking scarcity of resources for trainees seeking to learn about nonclinical radiology. This is where the Journal of the American College of Radiology (JACR®) shines. The blue journal has become a valuable, authoritative resource for trainees wanting to broaden their understanding of health policy, practice management, leadership and issues influencing how radiology residents are trained.