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Q&A with SNMMI incoming president Alan Packard

by Sean Ruck, Contributing Editor | June 16, 2020
Molecular Imaging
From the May 2020 issue of HealthCare Business News magazine

AP: I think my path was similar to that of most people who become engaged in leadership in the society. I got involved in the Radiopharmaceutical Sciences Council. I was originally on the Program Committee and helping to organize CE sessions for the annual meeting. Then I was asked to run for the board of directors of the Radiopharmaceuticals Sciences Council and then, subsequently, for RPSC president. About that same time, I was asked to serve on the Scientific Program Committee for the Society as the associate chair for categorical seminars, and then asked to serve as the general program chair, which carries with it a position on the board of directors. I saw this as an opportunity to address several challenges that are facing the Society, so I decided to run, and was fortunate enough to be elected.

HCB News: Something that struck me as unique for the Society is the mix of Ph.D. and M.D. professionals on the executive committee. Can you talk about that a little?
AP: It sort of follows your earlier question. That’s one of the reasons I became involved. The Society welcomes scientists, and not all medical societies are so engaged with basic scientists. SNMMI has a long history of being engaged with the science and scientists who drive our field. And what drives our field are new innovations in radiopharmaceuticals. The physicians who are the ultimate beneficiaries of this, who use those radiopharmaceuticals in clinical applications, recognize the contributions of the scientists who develop them. Technologists are also strongly represented. We have about 15,000 members, and about two-thirds are technologists. Of the remaining 5,000, about two-thirds are physicians and one-third basic scientists — chemists, physicists, and radiopharmacists. Together, we make a great team.

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HCB News: What are the key initiatives you’re focusing on as president?
AP: The thing I wanted to focus on when I ran was enhancing the value of membership and helping people realize what the Society can do for them. The big things, of course, are the annual meeting and CE for physicians, physicists, and radiopharmacists. I also want to increase the visibility and value of the Journal of Nuclear Medicine. It’s the premiere journal in nuclear medicine and we want to keep it there. Johannes Czernin, the editor-in-chief, has done a terrific job with the journal.

Another problem that the Society is helping with is reimbursement. We’ve dealt with some of those issues already. For example, there was a problem last year with inadequate reimbursement for myocardial perfusion imaging studies, which the society worked with CMS to address. We’re working now with CMS to allow reimbursement for infection and inflammation imaging with FDG.

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