Q&A with RSNA president Dr. Sarah S. Donaldson

by Loren Bonner, DOTmed News Online Editor | November 21, 2013
From the November 2013 issue of HealthCare Business News magazine

The 99th annual RSNA show and conference will take place December 1-6, returning to its usual home at McCormick Place in Chicago. In advance of the show, DOTmed Business News had the chance to catch up with association president Dr. Sarah S. Donaldson to learn more about her goals for the RSNA.

DMBN: What inspired you to pursue a career in health care?
SD: My introduction into health care came first from being a nurse (BS, RN). Following nursing school and training, I worked for a surgical oncologist as a research assistant, an opportunity that introduced me to the world of scientific investigation and clinical trials in cancer. My surgical oncology mentor encouraged me to go to medical school, after which it was natural to extend my experiences and interests by studying the biology, physics, and clinical investigation of malignant disease, and translate this to patient care.

DMBN: How did you first become involved in the RSNA?
SD: Early in my career, I was invited by a radiologist to join an RSNA committee, and I joined the RSNA. Volunteer service in the RSNA gave me the opportunity to attend the annual meeting, meet and work with many RSNA members, and learn much more about radiology than my rather narrow perspective had, to date, showed me.

DMBN: What inspired you to reach the highest level in the association?
SD: Nearly 20 years of significant experiences on RSNA and R&E Foundation Committees gave me incredible opportunities to work with impressive role models and RSNA leaders. I had the good fortune to be encouraged, by prior RSNA board members and officers, to participate in RSNA service and ultimately to join the board of directors. Doing so was one of the wisest decisions I have made during my professional career.

DMBN: During your time as president, what initiatives did you champion?
SD: I am most proud of the BOOST program (Bolstering Oncodiagnostic and Oncotherapeutic Skills for Tomorrow), a program which integrates diagnostic imaging, medical physics, and radiation oncology into our daily practice of oncologic imaging and therapy. This program began my first year on the RSNA board, now eight years ago. It has been tremendously successful and is a program I hope will continue. The BOOST program is a wonderful example of the theme of the RSNA 2013 meeting “The Power of Partnerships,” as it demonstrates the effectiveness of team radiology, where many subspecialists work together to foster the best in a cancer patient’s care.

DMBN: What is your most memorable moment from your time as president?

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