Imaging managers prepare for the AHRA meeting
July 05, 2022
by Gus Iversen
, Editor in Chief
The Association for Medical Imaging Management (AHRA) will be having its 50th annual meeting in Phoenix over July 10-13. HealthCare Business News spoke with AHRA president Kimlyn Queen-Weis, about what the meeting will hold and about her own professional background.
HCB News: Who or what inspired you to follow a career in healthcare?
Kimlyn Queen-Weis: 33 years ago, if you had asked me if I saw myself having a career in healthcare, I would have said no. I have to give my mom all the credit for getting me started in what has become an incredible and rewarding career as an imaging professional and radiology administrator.
As a senior in high school, I was still undecided about what I wanted to do after graduation and my parents could not afford to send me to college, so in late winter/early spring of 1989 I was trying to figure out if I could afford college or what I would be doing come June 1989.
Then one day my Mom came to me with a copy of the classified ads from our local newspaper, and asked me if I knew anything about radiology or what the Marion General Hospital School of Radiology was, and if I thought it was something I would be interested in checking out.
So I called the number in the classified ad to get more information, scheduled a day to go to the hospital to observe in the radiology department, asked for an application to the 2-year hospital-based radiology school certificate program, and here we are today. Call it destiny, call it fate, call it a happy accident; either way, I am forever grateful that my mother found that classified ad in our local newspaper that day.
HCB News: How did you first become involved with the AHRA?
KQW: I first became involved in the AHRA in 2003, when a peer suggested I explore obtaining my certified radiology administrator’s (CRA) certification. Before then, I had no idea the AHRA existed and I definitely did not know anything about the CRA. I began researching the AHRA and the CRA, started studying for the exam and joined the AHRA in 2004 when I sat for my CRA certification exam. That was a very pivotal moment in my personal and professional life and one that I encourage all Imaging Leaders to embrace.
HCB News: What was that journey like, from joining AHRA to becoming president?
KQW: It has been an amazing, rewarding, and humbling journey. From the moment I joined the AHRA I have been given countless opportunities to not only grow and develop as a person, a radiology administrator and healthcare leader, but to also help support the growth and development of future radiology administrators and healthcare leaders.
The AHRA is not like any other professional organization I have ever been a part of. When you are a member of the AHRA you instantly feel like you are part of a family. From the moment I attended my first AHRA Annual meeting in 2004 I was instantly surrounded by genuine, compassionate, and supportive colleagues (who I am now blessed to call friends) who were genuinely interested in helping me grow and develop in my new role as an imaging manager and CRA. I have been paying it forward ever since.
HCB News: How has the pandemic impacted your presidency?
KQW: The pandemic did create a few roadblocks; however, our innovative and determined AHRA staff and spring meeting design team rose to the challenge and developed our amazing virtual event, the Conference for Leaders in Imaging Management and Business (CLIMB) to replace our in-person spring conference that was originally scheduled for Savannah. CLIMB was a tremendous success. I feel like we all rose to the occasion to support each other, where we were, with the tools we had. Adapting was key. In fact, we are planning to have an in-person CLIMB event at the stunning Mission Bay Resort in San Diego, February 24-26, 2023.
HCB News: What are some of the biggest initiatives that you have championed at the AHRA?
KQW: Some of the biggest initiatives that I have had an opportunity to lead or help support for the AHRA and our members include:
1) Being a participating member of the task force to identify our new consulting partners for the development/revision of our 3 – 5 year strategic plan, 2) participating in 2015 and again in 2022 in the development/revision of our 3 – 5 year strategic plan, 3) Being a contributing author and editor for our AHRA textbook series over the years, 4) Being a member of our initial products and services review task force, 5) Leading the task force for the development of our revised Organizational Liaison program and 6) Leading a task force that explored opportunities to develop future educational programs to help support and bring additional value to our members who manage cardiovascular departments.
HCB News: For imaging stakeholders who may not be familiar, why should they consider joining the AHRA?
KQW: I believe becoming a member of the AHRA is truly an investment in yourself, and I’m reminded of a great quote from the writer, Robin Sharma. "Investing in yourself is the best investment you will ever make. It will not only improve your life, it will improve the lives of all those around you."
The AHRA is committed to meeting the needs of our members by delivering products, services, and programs that 1) support career growth and development, 2) provide tools and resources to help leaders be more efficient and effective, 3) provide real-time industry and technology updates and 4) support connecting imaging leaders to best practice resources associated with finance, quality, patient satisfaction, communication, patient care and so much more.
The AHRA also offers members the opportunity to not only collaborate with industry experts and to grow their external network from our 5,000+ members, it provides the chance to become part of a community that offers real-time support via the AHRA Forum, the online community, and a chance to make lifelong friends.
HCB News: Can you tell us more about what attendees can expect at the 50th annual AHRA meeting in Phoenix?
KQW: I don’t want to give away too much, but I will say that being our 50th annual meeting, members can expect a little magic throughout the week along with an amazing meeting filled with exceptional keynote speakers (Dr. Natalie Stavas, Risha Grant, and Kenyon Salo, excellent educational sessions, leadership development workshops (like our CRA Workshop, 2022 Executive Business Leadership Workshop, and Read (Hidden) Emotions: The Science Behind a New Skill; and of course our AHRA family reunion, where time is spent connecting, networking and enjoying time with friends.
HCB News: Are there any sessions or presentations that you're particularly excited about?
KQW: I am extremely excited this year about our new year-long transformative business program designed to prepare senior imaging professions to be next-level leaders.
This new program is the AHRA Leaders of Choice Program, sponsored by United Imaging, and presented by David Waldron, BSC, ACIB, CDipAF, CEO of Traction Business Development. This collaboration has been developed by industry change-makers, and it shows. Creating fearless leaders is incredibly important right now, so this is the time for it.
HCB News: What are some of the hot topics you expect attendees to be talking about at this year's meeting?
KQW: Staffing challenges, workflow changes, and efficiencies will be a big focus, as will resilience and well-being, the integration of artificial intelligence into radiologist and technologist workflows, and MR safety.
Last, but not least, I’m proud that this event was planned with forethought to reflect our commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion. You can see it reflected in the keynotes, speakers, and in details throughout the event. We’ll be explaining and encouraging volunteerism at this meeting, and to that end, encouraging a broad range of thought, backgrounds, knowledge and life experiences to help make AHRA feel like home for anyone who wishes to call it that, and thereby strengthening the association by doing so.