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  • Part 23: New Beginnings

  • In 1989, RSNA was 75 years old. That year's scientific assembly was to be a celebration of the Society's endurance and radiology's growth.

    RSNA's Fourth Executive Director 

    Earlier that year, the Board of Directors had selected Delmar J. Stauffer to be the fourth executive director for the Society. Stauffer was an Illinois native with a master's degree in health education from the University of Illinois, Champaign-Urbana. He was a science teacher before beginning a career in association management. He worked with the American Medical Association, the American Dental Association and the Chicago Dental Society.1 Stauffer enthusiastically accepted the challenge of managing RSNA and once compared his becoming the Society's executive director to jumping onto a speeding train.2 In addition, Merle Hedland was named the Society's new director of scientific meetings, replacing the retiring George Schuyler.

    At that same time, William J. Tuddenham, M.D., announced his retirement as editor of RadioGraphics—a journal he had created. William W. Olmsted, M.D., from the George Washington University Medical Center in Washington, D.C., was selected to be the new RadioGraphics editor.

    A Move Down the Street 

    RSNA had embarked on so many new endeavors over the past decade that the number of staff members had increased and the Society headquarters had to be moved to more spacious facilities a few blocks away in Oak Brook, Ill.

    Meanwhile, the scientific assembly had become so large that the 1989 meeting occupied a portion of the newly constructed North Building at McCormick Place as well as the original Lakeside Center. The two buildings were connected by a walkway dubbed the "spine" by RSNA staff. The walkway went over half of Lake Shore Drive and under the other half. This design resulted in a series of short escalators that would create bottlenecks for the next 10 meetings as it slowed attendees moving from one building to another to view exhibits or to hear lectures.

    Many RSNA members began voicing concerns that the scientific assembly had become too large and that they were overwhelmed by the extensive scientific program.

    RSNA Program Committee Chairman Derek C. Harwood-Nash, M.B., Ch.B., recognized that the scientific assembly had to display innovations in radiology while also being accessible and valuable to the practicing radiologist, radiation oncologist and medical physicist worldwide. Through his leadership, RSNA produced Walk through the Week brochures that outlined a customized scientific assembly based on subspecialty topics. The first brochure was unveiled at the 1989 meeting and focused on interventional radiology. Plans were made to expand the idea to include neuroradiology, musculoskeletal radiology, gastrointestinal radiology and magnetic resonance imaging for subsequent annual meetings.3 

    The expanding scientific assembly was detailed by Robert E. Campbell, M.D., during his 1989 presidential address. Dr. Campbell noted that in 1974, during the last meeting held at the Palmer House hotel, technical exhibits occupied 43,000 square feet. In 1989, they occupied 305,000 square feet. The largest technical exhibitor took up 640 square feet in 1974; in 1989, the largest exhibitor occupied 15,000 square feet. He also noted that the scientific exhibits had increased from 80 in 50 small rooms at the Palmer House to 400 in 60,000 square feet at McCormick Place. Refresher courses had more than doubled from 72 to 185 and the number of scientific papers had increased substantially from 83 to 1,422.

    "The future of your Society is bright. The horizons for growth and progress appear unlimited," said Dr. Campbell.4 

    Introducing infoRAD 

    Dr. Campbell's words seemed especially prescient in 1990. By that year, the RSNA Scientific Assembly was the largest annual medical meeting in the world. The centerpiece of the meeting was the introduction of a concept and demonstration area for the display and hands-on use of computer-based education, research and practice-management programs and databases. This new area was initially envisioned by RSNA Electronic Communications Committee Chairman Edward V. Staab, M.D., and was called infoRAD for "informatics in radiology."

    The 1990 meeting was also notable because it featured an "Introduction to Research" course for second-year residents. The brainchild of RSNA Refresher Course Committee Chairman C. Douglas Maynard, M.D., the course was co-sponsored by RSNA, the American Roentgen Ray Society and the Association of University Radiologists. The course dealt with topics such as basic principles of clinical research, rules and regulations governing animal and human research, the state of imaging technology and chemistry research, and how to write a grant proposal. In addition, the RSNA Research and Education Fund began a Research Resident Program, which was designed to provide second- and third-year residents an opportunity to explore research careers in academic radiology by offering them $25,000 to spend a year of their training in research.

    RSNA also began publishing a meeting newspaper called the Daily Bulletin, which informed attendees of important events and was distributed in major hotels, on the buses and on newsstands in McCormick Place.

    During his 1990 presidential address, E. Robert Heitzman, M.D., acknowledged emerging challenges for the medical field. Healthcare practices, such as radiology, were being affected by increasingly stringent reimbursement policies and greater government intervention. Dr. Heitzman reminded physicians that "medicine is caring for patients and their needs. [It] remains the most fulfilling and ennobling of all professions." He added, "RSNA must influence change in an era of monumental evolution. Radiology, due to its dependence on technology, is clearly being placed in the forefront of this evolution."5 

    More Staff Changes 

    Once settled in their new Oak Brook headquarters, RSNA employees and volunteers handled more projects in 1991. As well as assisting the Society of Cardiovascular and Interventional Radiology with the publishing of its Journal of Vascular and Interventional Radiology, RSNA helped the Society for Magnetic Resonance Imaging launch its new Journal of Magnetic Resonance Imaging. 

    Also in 1991, Donald A. Stewart left RSNA to serve as managing editor of the American Journal of Neuroradiology. Manager of RSNA publications, Roberta E. Arnold, M.A., M.H.P.E., replaced him as the Society's director of publications.

    Later that year, RSNA started another publication—a quarterly newsletter called RSNA News, which was to inform Society members of RSNA business and plans. RSNA had never had a regular publication devoted solely to communicating with its members about the Society. "It is hoped that RSNA News will not only better identify and explain the workings of the Society, but also provide a forum for member comment and reflect the spirit of volunteerism that is essential to the success of all RSNA activities," RSNA President Carl J. Zylak, M.D., wrote in the inaugural issue.6 

    Robert E. Campbell, M.D. 1989 RSNA President
    E. Robert Heitzman, M.D. 1990 RSNA President
    Carl J. Zylak, M.D. 1991 RSNA President

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