Pay it forward
BY CHARLES E. RAY JR., MD, PhD, FSIR WINTER 2017
As you pack your bags for theSIR 2017 Annual Scientific Meeting in Washington this coming March, are you also preparing for what you’ll bring back from the meeting?
Professional development is just that—the opportunity to discover and grow.If you only attend the cutting-edge programming, listen, ask questions, and take notes, then simply return to your practice and follow the same approaches you always had before, you’ve greatly diminished the return on the investment you made in attending the meeting.
Whether it’s a new clinical pearl, new devices or services discovered in the Expo, or new contacts made at the various events and receptions, SIR 2017 will provide you with many tools to improve what you do at home and to strengthen your practice. And if you share what you’ve experienced and learned with your partners and colleagues, the return on investment can increase exponentially. The same can be said for any of the educational offerings from SIR—from stand-alone meetings like LEARN and Y-90, to the frequent webinars, to the myriad of online educational opportunities. By discussing the lessons you’ve learned with others—either in person or on SIR Connect—and applying what you’ve learned to clinical practice, you’ll contribute to the continuum of knowledge base shared across the IR community for the sake of high-quality patient care.
It is vital to be active rather than passive about what you receive from your society membership, which applies to countless areas beyond education:
- Every two weeks, you receive SIR | Guidewire, an excellent way to stay abreast of what is on the horizon for the specialty. First, I encourage you to take the time to read it—at least skim through the headlines so you’re familiar with all the regulatory developments, society and foundation resources, and more that are communicated in each issue. Second, spread those messages to your colleagues to help make sure that they get the word—that way both nonmembers and members can better understand how well-informed our members are.
- Watch for Member Alerts and other calls to action, and act on them. Whether it’s a petition that needs your signature, or a meeting in your area where the Society needs representation, or award or position nominations, taking the time to act helps the society complete its mission on the membership’s behalf.
- Share the IRQ Coding Q&A column with your office coding staff. These updates and clarifications won’t help ensure proper reimbursement if your staff doesn’t see them.
- If you are active on social media, consider following and forwarding Tweets and Facebook posts from the society by retweeting or posting SIR announcements on your own professional or personal page.
- We all understand the tremendous value the research presented in the Journal of Vascular and Interventional Radiology brings to our field. Plan to contribute your own research to the IR community by submitting your manuscript first to JVIR.
- Share IR Quarterly articles with your colleagues, whether it is a column reporting MOC updates, a feature describing a novel way to improve your clinical practice, or other information that enhances your practice.
- Other opportunities to spread the word about the wonders of IR are available outside of the direct societal purview. Local meetings such as angio clubs can provide a great platform from which to provide information about SIR and SIR Foundation to individuals who might otherwise be unaware of how both organizations are promoting our field.
Additionally, it is important for all of us, as members of SIR, to understand the importance of our research arm (SIR Foundation) and our political advocacy arm (SIRPAC). Both organizations are required by tax law to have a degree of separation from the society; contributions to both organizations are very tightly controlled by external sources, and the only funds that flow from the society to either organization are in the form of administrative and personnel costs. What this means for us as members is that none of our societal dues go towards these very important organizations and that the only way for both to survive is through contributions specifically earmarked for their missions. For this reason, it is critical that we as members own and understand the importance of making such contributions.
Finally, although the home office staff do an incredible job of running the day-to-day activities of both our Society and Foundation, the mission of each cannot be met by staff work alone. For this reason, both are highly dependent on contributions of labor and time by all of us in membership. Although no volunteer position is a paid position in the Society and Foundation, the return on the investment of your time is extraordinary—both for the organizations and for yourself. We have always had a highly motivated membership in terms of getting involved in volunteerism, and this vital resource is essential for moving our missions forward.
As we enter the new year, ask yourself: what are you doing with your member benefits? Are you taking full advantage of the education, information and other opportunities that come your way every day from SIR? Are you capitalizing on what you receive to improve the lives of your staff, your colleagues and—most importantly—your patients? If these answers to these are not immediately obvious to each of us, I would challenge us to evaluate our own dedication to our society, our foundation, our political action committee, and our field.