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  • Part 25: Into the New Millennium

  • In 1997, Anthony V. Proto, M.D., assumed his new position as editor-designate of Radiology. Dr. Proto worked with outgoing editor Stanley S. Siegelman, M.D., during a transition period. Plans were made to move the Radiology editorial office from Baltimore to Richmond, Va. Dr. Proto's first issue as editor of Radiology was published in January 1998.

    By 1998, construction of a new RSNA headquarters building was nearly complete. Located on 5.3 acres of vacant land in Oak Brook, Ill., the four-story, 101,000-square-foot contemporary glass structure was financed through bonds issued by the Illinois Development Finance Authority. RSNA staff filled the second- and third-floors and part of the first floor. The remaining space was leased.

    Integrating the Healthcare Enterprise  

    In a further attempt to integrate medical imaging technology with information systems technology, the RSNA Electronic Communications Committee began working with corporate representatives to place radiology in the pivotal position of health information management. With the cooperation of the Chicago-based Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society, the Integrating the Healthcare Enterprise (IHE) initiative was launched to help standardize systems so that they would interface, make healthcare workflow easier and faster, and ultimately lead to better patient care.

    More Support for Education 

    RSNA leaders made several major announcements during the 1998 annual meeting. Because the Board of Directors wanted to ensure continued support for radiologic education, RSNA President David B. Fraser, M.D., announced that $10 million would be donated to the Research & Education Fund to establish educational grants. He also said the Fund would be called the RSNA Research & Education Foundation to better reflect its philanthropic mission.

    The Board announced two new positions—RSNA Science Editor and RSNA Education Editor—to help improve the coordination of educational and scientific publishing activities. Dr. Proto was named RSNA Science Editor.

    RadioGraphics Editor William W. Olmsted, M.D., was named RSNA Education Editor. Dr. Olmsted planned to expand educational opportunities for Society members and radiologists worldwide by using the latest electronic tools. The Learning Center was reorganized as the RSNA Education Center, and the RadioGraphics Editorial Board became the Education Center Editorial Board, directed by Dr. Olmsted.

    The Board also announced a three-year sponsorship of a public-education exhibit at Walt Disney's Epcot® Center in Orlando. The 3,000-square-foot display showed how radiologists, using advanced radiologic technologies, would continue to improve patient care in the next century.

    Turn of the Century  

    By early 2000, the RSNA Scientific Program was organized so that similar activities and events would take place during the same time at the annual meeting. In addition, the scientific exhibits were renamed education exhibits, and scientific posters were introduced as a new means of communication between investigators and their colleagues.

    Early 2000 was also a time of great sadness for the Society. On March 1, 2000, Executive Director Delmar J. Stauffer died suddenly of a heart attack. Twelve days later, 1995 RSNA President Helen C. Redman, M.D., lost her battle with metastatic breast cancer.

    As a search was conducted for a new executive director, RSNA was managed by its four assistant executive directors. They continued to guide the RSNA staff toward the 2000 meeting. During that time, RSNA Link (www.rsna.org) was revamped, as was the patient education Web site RadiologyInfo.org. The Society also began to offer education courses on the Internet through InteractED.

    While the 2000 Scientific Assembly had some somber moments as Gold Medals were posthumously bestowed upon Stauffer and Dr. Redman, C. Douglas Maynard, M.D., gave an upbeat message during his President's Address, confidently predicting that radiologists would successfully meet the challenges of the new century.

    New Executive Director 

    In early 2001, Dave Fellers, C.A.E., became the Society's fifth executive director. He had three decades of experience in association management with organizations including the American Association of Neurological Surgeons and the American Society of Plastic Surgeons.

    A New Type of War 

    The world changed suddenly on September 11, 2001, when the United States was attacked by terrorists who destroyed the World Trade Center in New York and damaged the Pentagon in suburban Washington, D.C.

    Almost immediately afterward, Society President Jerry P. Petasnick, M.D., and the RSNA Board of Directors received calls from exhibitors and RSNA members wondering if the 2001 Scientific Assembly would be cancelled. Some feared that a medical meeting with nearly 60,000 people in one large convention center was an inviting target for terrorists. The Board ultimately decided not to cancel the meeting.

    Attendance at RSNA 2001 was down about 6,000 from the previous year, but attendance levels rebounded in 2002.

    Into the Digital Age 

    2002 was a key year in the Society's digital transformation. Members could use the Internet to renew their membership, manage their member profile or make a donation to the RSNA Research & Education Foundation. All scientific abstracts for the scientific assembly were submitted online. Annual meeting and course registration were also available online.

    Radiology began accepting electronic manuscripts through a Web-based manuscript submission and peer-review system called Radiology Manuscript Central. In addition, while RSNA active, associate and corresponding members had had complimentary online access to Radiology and RadioGraphics since 1999, in July 2002, all resident members received free access to the online journals.

    The theme of RSNA 2002 was "Leading Medicine's Digital Transformation." Recognizing digital technology as a driving force in the dramatic growth of the radiological sciences, RSNA President R. Nick Bryan, M.D., Ph.D., encouraged health professionals to "vigorously and enthusiastically accept this digital revolution in our practices."

    A glimpse into the future of medical practice could be found in the infoRAD area through live demonstrations of Internet2 and its role in the future of medical practice and education. infoRAD also featured presentations on how wireless and handheld device technologies are used in medical imaging.

    Conclusion 

    In less than 90 years, RSNA faced a multitude of economic and political challenges to evolve from a regional organization to an international society. During that period, the Society remained true to its mission to promote the highest standards of radiology and related sciences through education and research. As Michael S. Sullivan, M.D., concluded during his 1997 President's Address: "Education and research are at the core of radiology. Without them, nothing else will matter in the field."1 

    Reference 

    1. Sullivan MA. RSNA, radiology, and the last days of the century: through red-colored goggles. Radiology 1998; 207:281-287.
    RSNA staff moved to this contemporary glass building in Oak Brook, Ill., in 1998. RSNA staff occupies the second, third and a portion of the first floor. RSNA leases the remaining space.
    1998 RSNA President David B. Fraser, M.D., meets with Chicago Mayor Richard M. Daley during the annual meeting at McCormick Place.
    Dave Fellers, C.A.E.