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Q&A with AHRA president Chris Tomlinson

by Sean Ruck, Contributing Editor | July 10, 2020
From the July 2020 issue of HealthCare Business News magazine


HCB News: Can you describe your journey from AHRA member to president?
CT: When I joined, I was just getting into imaging. I had, from my consulting experience, some particular skillsets in imaging informatics that I brought with me into the imaging management sector. Through that, I became somewhat of a subject expert within that space in the AHRA and started to do a lot of talks and webinars, even training courses in our Aspiring Leaders track, which is for newer leaders learning about different components of radiology imaging management. In the children’s hospital circuit there’s the Children’s Hospital Association, and I was very active in that as well. So as I was giving a lot of talks and educating, writing some articles for the AHRA and also doing work with the CHA, I ran for a board seat in 2013. I got on the AHRA board, was elected to the executive committee, became finance director, president elect and now here I am, almost eight years later, as president. I just enjoy giving back to the association, sharing my expertise, and growing the network of folks I get to meet and help develop their careers and skill sets. There is something about being in an association — it’s rewarding to be able to give back. It’s also rewarding for the contacts, the friends, the colleagues you make and those you’re able to help along the way.

HCB News: What initiatives have you championed as president?

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CT: Prior to COVID-19, there were a couple of things. One, I think my coming from a little bit of a different background than most of the presidents — most of the presidents have been technologists — I focused on some different things. I recognize that the membership consists of great people and wonderful volunteers who believe in the association, but I wanted to broaden the diversity of membership. When I say diversity, I mean that in a number of ways. Diversity in terms of generational diversity, geographic diversity, the traditional meaning of it around race and ethnicity, also urban and rural hospital members. I really believe in the richness of experience and the more diverse our experience is, the more diverse our active and engaged members are, the better the product, the better a resource we will be. So I put together a diversity task force to look at where we could become more inclusive. That diversity and inclusion task force has been up and running for nearly a year, surveying members, making recommendations, and will present a report out at our annual meeting. That report will inform our strategic planning process to help us to be aware of our blind spots, to make sure we’re encouraging diversity in all the forms.

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