January 2019

President’s Viewbox

Dear Colleagues and Friends,

The annual meeting of the WSRS on November 3rd at the Embassy Suites in Pioneer Square saw the biannual change of the executive committee. Our thanks to Dr. Pooja Voria for her skillful leadership over the past two years. As your new President, I hope to replicate my predecessors’ success in advancing the interests and initiatives of the society. Other changes in the leadership include the elevation of Dr. Sammy Chu to Vice-President, Dr. Puneet Bhargava to Treasurer and Dr. Jenny Favinger to the dual role of Secretary and Chair of the Recruitment/Membership committee. 

On behalf of the WSRS I would like to thank Dr. Bhargava for organizing a stimulating and informative program for the meeting which included guest speakers from the ACR, Dr. Frank Lexa and Dr. Bibb Allen. Dr. Jeff Robinson will take over as program chair for 2019.

In the recent election, Dr. Kim Schrier was elected to Congress to represent Washington’s 8th Congressional district. On behalf of the society I would like to congratulate Dr. Schrier on her success. It is gratifying to see a fellow physician elevated to the halls of power.

The executive committee intends to reach out to as many state and federal level lawmakers as possible to increase our visibility. I would like to encourage all members to invite their local House or Senate representative to tour their practice. Representatives often enjoy learning about our specialty and connecting with voting constituents including your techs, clerical staff and nurses. Such interactions can help us communicate our legislative priorities when the need arises.

All the best for the festive season and New Year.

Dr. Ruben Krishnananthan, MBBS. MPH
President, WSRS, 2018-2020

Dr. Pooja Voria (left), passing the gavel to her successor, incoming WSRS President, Dr. Ruben Krishnananthan.

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Congratulations to our Board Leadership

The following executive committee members were elected at the annual meeting on November 3, 2018 and will serve until the annual meeting in the fall of 2020:

Ruben Krishnananthan, MD, MPH
Pooja Voria, MD, MBA
Immediate Past President
Sammy Chu, MD
Vice President
Puneet Bhargava, MD
Jennifer Favinger, MD

ACR Councilors: (the following are serving staggered three-year terms):
Puneet Bhargava, MD; Sammy Chu, MD; Ed Kim, MD; 
Phil Lund, MD, FACR; Jonathan Medverd, MD, FACR; Gail Morgan, MD, FACR; Jeff Robinson, MD, FACR; Eric Stern, MD, FACR.

ACR Alternate Councilors (the following have been elected to serve one-year terms which run June 1, 2018 through May 31, 2019):
Leila Bender, MD; Peter Eby, MD, FACR; Rachel Gerson, MD; Michael N. Hoff, PhD; Ben Johnson, DO; Erik Kilgore, MD; Somnath Prabhu, MD and Justin Siegal, MD.

Young Physician Representative to ACR:
Baiju Shah, MD

Residents and Fellows Section leaders (RFS):
President: Derek Khorsand, MD
Vice President: Preethi Raghu, MD

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Day of Advocacy in Olympia- January 23rd - time to sign up!

This annual event brings members of WSRS from around the state to Olympia to advocate for policy that assures healthcare access and safety for members of the public. It’s an exciting introduction to how ordinary healthcare providers can promote good sense public policy by making themselves available to explain issues, challenges and innovations to lawmakers and members of their staff. Don’t miss it! Register on this page of our website as soon as possible so we can schedule you for an appointment with your own state legislators. This event is free to our members. It includes roundtrip transportation from Seattle and a delicious boxed lunch and snacks. We also provide coaching for all of the participants on talking points and best ways to build positive relationships with policymakers.

WSRS members and members-in-training pausing for a photo at the state capitol last year. 

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Inaugural WSRS President’s Dinner Recap

Pooja Voria, MD, MBA, Immediate Past President

On October 25th, leaders from the radiology and medical community gathered for an evening of networking at the Columbia Tower Club. High above downtown Seattle overlooking one of the most spectacular views of the city, participants at this inaugural WSRS President’s Dinner were able to build relationships and discuss ways to improve our specialty’s visibility within the house of medicine. Distinguished guests included presidents of radiology groups, leaders of state specialty societies and state medical associations, and past presidents of the WSRS. It was a memorable evening with robust networking, and I also had the opportunity to share a brief overview of the WSRS’ objectives, activities, and impact in the community.

WSRS leaders, former leaders and colleagues from Washington's 'house of medicine'  networking at the Presidents' Dinner held in October 2018. 

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Breast Imaging Task Force Report

Peter Eby, MD, Task Force Chair

The Breast Imaging Task Force was highly active this autumn. We have built and are now working on fine tuning a new website designed and maintained by the WSRS: www.WA-densebreastanswers.org The website will provide education, guidance and answers to patients and providers with questions about breast density which will no doubt be prompted once Washington State’s new density notification law goes into effect January 1, 2019. We encourage radiology practices to include the website address in the letters with mammography and density results so patients can immediately access answers to their questions.

The BITF is also actively advocating for patients in Washington to receive the insurance coverage for digital breast tomosynthesis (DBT) that was mandated by law in 2018. The law took effect in June 2018 and stipulated coverage for DBT to be identical to coverage for 2D mammography. Patients are reporting some denials and we have notified Senator Christine Rolfes, lead author on the bill, and Representative Eileen Cody, Chair of the Health Care Committee, and the Office of the Insurance Commissioner (OIC). We encourage patients to report denials to the OIC using this website.

New research was published in early November that attempted to answer the following question: “If a woman chooses to participate in regular mammography screening, then how much will this choice improve her chances of avoiding a death from breast cancer compared with women who choose not to participate?” The retrospective study compared women 40-69 years old who did or did not participate in screening from 1977-2015 in a single county in Sweden. All patients received stage-specific therapy according to the latest national guidelines. Registries included data on screening, disease-specific cause of death and breast cancer incidence.

The average population of 40-69 year old women in the county was 52,438. 85.1% participated in screening. 5,794 women were diagnosed with breast cancer during the study period. 1,274 died from breast cancer. The results indicate that women who participate in screening have a 60% lower chance of death from breast cancer in the first 10 years after diagnosis and 47% lower chance of death 11-20 years after diagnosis compared with non-participants.

The authors concluded that “although all patients with breast cancer stand to benefit from advances in breast cancer therapy, the current results demonstrate that women who have participated in mammography screening obtain a significantly greater benefit from the therapy available at the time of diagnosis than do those who have not participated.” In other words, treatment is incredibly important for all women. And advances in treatment have made a difference. But even when all women get appropriate treatment, screening mammograms still cut the risk of dying from breast cancer by 47-60%. Click here to read the ACR statement. 

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Young Professionals’ Section

Diana Lam, MD & Baiju Shah, MD, Co-Chairs

WSRS’ new YPS group wrapped up this year’s activities with a family-friendly event on Saturday, December 15th. The event was held mid-day at Flatstick Pub’s new location in the trendy South Lake Union district.  Along with a competive game of mini-golf, the group enjoyed food and beverages and got to know their colleagues and spouses in a relaxed, casual atmosphere.

The group is working on plans for 2019 events. If you’d like to get involved, please contact the WSRS office and we’ll put you in touch with the co-chairs:  kim@wsrs.org

Young and early career WSRS members from around the Puget Sound area enjoying a fun afternoon of food, mini-golf and socializing in mid-December. 

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Transitions for WSRS

Our executive director, Debra Alderman, will be transitioning to her new role as the executive director of the American College of Radiation Oncology as of February 1st.  We’ll miss her dedication and energy!  But we wish her the best of luck and hope to keep in contact with Debra as she embarks on this new direction in her career.  We also welcome our new executive director, Kim Conn, who brings a wealth of experience to our organization. She is already on board and is working on our Day in Olympia plans.  Please feel free to reach out to Kim if you have any questions. She can be reached at: kim@wsrs.org  and her direct phone number is 206-956-3652.

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Save the Dates

WSRS Day of Advocacy in Olympia, January 23, 2019
Visit this page of our website for more details and to register: 

ACR Annual Meeting, May 18-22, 2019
Please let the WSRS office know if you plan to attend so we can invite you to our group dinner on the evening of Monday, May 21st and also help schedule visits for all of the Washington State radiologists for meetings with their representatives and senators on Hill Day. wsrs@wsrs.org More information on the meeting and registration is on this page of the ACR website.

WSRS Annual Meeting 2019
WSRS is planning to team up with WSMA for our 2019 annual meeting, October 11-12, 2019 at the Hilton Seattle Airport and Conference Center near Seatac. Watch for more information in spring/summer 2019.

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