Few sun-drenched days greeted the Atlanta region this winter! In fact…the Snowman, who visited our campus this year hung around for a little too long. Now, with the holiday season complete for weeks now,we will seek inspiration from other sources. During my presidential year, one goal is to find out what sparks the imagination of those who serve the society. This sense of shared commitment to our field needs to energize us in these unsettled times.

We continue to partner with the ACR, ABR, RSNA, AMA and others in organized medicine to build a unified voice in the U.S. debate on shaping health care reform. To that end a major Executive Committee Retreat will be held later this month on “Planning for our future in a changing healthcare environment,” at which three top speakers will set the stage: Joanne Conroy, Association of American Medical Colleges’ Chief Health Care Officer, Susan Dentzer, Editor-in-Chief of Health Affairs, and Greg Pawlson of the National Committee for Quality Assurance (NCQA). These luminaries will elucidate viewpoints of this debate from the economic systems, policy making, and patient’s perspectives. This, along with the ASNR Strategic Plan, will enable the Society’s leaders to gauge success thus far and plan for the next major effort in 2011. Please take time to review the IMPLEMENTATION REPORT generated from the Nov 28, 2010 Executive Committee meeting.

A few year-end wrap-ups include the stellar work by Gordon Sze, who led the Conflict of Interest Task Force and established clearer guidelines for our Society in managing relationships with industry partners. Yet other projects are just beginning…such as the Task Force on Website Enhancement, chaired by Doug Phillips who is due to report initially at the January 28/29 Executive Committee retreat. David Hackney is in the thick of planning for the 2011 Annual Meeting in Seattle, June 4-9. He has promised innovative translational programming, expanded sessions for young physicians and fellows, and so much more.

Among our forward-looking efforts, is embarking on a major fund-raising campaign for the Foundation of ASNR. I have called on Howard Rowley to mobilize building a development operation sufficient to sustain both an endowment campaign and ongoing support for our research and education activities. We seek to increase the consistency and frequency of annual direct mail appeals. Watch for a major shift towards a more personalized, major gift approach to fundraising, and outreach to corporation and large foundations that fund medical research. The NERF acronym will be discontinued in favor of reinstating original designation of THE FOUNDATION OF THE ASNR.

I am pleased to announce some of the ASNR & FOUNDATION AWARDS for 2011: Mitch Berger (UCSF)- Honorary Member, Burt Drayer -Gold Medal, and Tommy Naidich – Foundation’s Outstanding Contribution in Research Award. These awards will be presented at the 49th Annual Meeting in Seattle, Washington. The Research Committee, chaired by Pratik Murkherji and Pina Sanelli, is pleased to announce that 2011 Foundation awards are in process for the award year beginning July 1, 2011.These include:

Foundation Scholar Award in Neuroradiology Research ($40,000)
Foundation Award in Basic Science Research ($40,000)
Foundation Comparative Effectiveness Research Award ($40,000)
Foundation Research Scientist Award in Neuroradiology ($40,000.)

As some of your know, one of my priorities is to work effectively with the ACR Commission on Neuroradiology through our Clinical Practice Committee headed by Pat Turski (recently joined by Bob Barr as co-chair). He continues to meet jointly with the ACR Commission on Neuroradiology during the ASNR annual meeting, while Jackie Bello oversees the Guidelines & Standards subcommittee reviewing evidence-based guidelines on CT-Head and Neck, CT-Spine, Vertebroplasty, and Cervicocerebral Catheter Angiography. She has gathered Max Wintermark, Pina Sanelli, Dave Seidenwurm, and Pam Schaeffer to assist with developing a “white paper” on imaging guidelines for acute stroke imaging. Dave Seidenwurm oversees the performance measure project with the AAN/ACR/AMA-PCPI/NCQA Stroke and Stroke Rehabilitation measures set. Bob Barr continually provides his expertise on the AMA’s RUC Relativity Assessment Workgroup (RAW). The RUC recently surveyed the never-previously-surveyed CT spine codes (cervical without contrast, thoracic without contrast, and lumbar without contrast) with no loss in value. Beginning in February 2011, the RUC will survey codes for vascular injections, CT-Brain, and functional MRI. After three years of data had been collected, the RUC assessed new technology or new service codes. The ASNR, ACR, and AUR successfully petitioned to remove these codes due to low utilization volume and no substantive technologic or procedural changes.

Char Branstetter begins the NEUROGRAPHICS project in 2011 also. This revitalized educational publication will reward authors with academic currency for their contributions, provide our membership immediately with innovative and interactive clinically pertinent information. This further helps the AJNR by freeing the page space for primary research and reducing the case report backlog. It could eventually become an additional source of CME or SAMs for ASNR members. The Subspecialty Societies will likely find this a convenient forum for highlighting the best of the annual meeting.

Suresh Murkherji leads the Fellowship Directors’ Committee with great skill. Among the committee’s projects is to update the ASNR core curriculum and to work effectively with the ACGME in doing so. We are also considering a blog for program directors to share their perspectives and best practices on fellowship training and training-related issues. In addition we have selected two talented trainees to send to the June 2011 AMA meeting in Chicago as ASNR representatives on the Resident and Fellow Section.

To further align our work, I have designated both an officer and a staff liaison to each of the various committees to create a ‘better integration and understanding’ of the ongoing projects, plans, and processes of efforts across the society. I believe this degree of communication will aid in all phases of implementation of the strategic plan. More to follow as we turn the corner and escape winter!

Stay warm!

Carolyn Meltzer, ASNR President 2010-11

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