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History of the Association of Program Coordinators in Radiology

Dianna Otterstad
University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas
Past President, Association of Program Coordinators in Radiology

The Association of Program Coordinators in Radiology was conceived in the spring of 1998 during a conversation between Jerry Arndt, MD, former program director at Baylor University Medical Center, Dallas, and George Curry, MD, program director at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas. Following the 1998 annual meeting, Dr. Arndt, founder of the Association of Program Directors in Radiology, told Dr. Curry he was considering new projects for the APDR, and Dr. Curry suggested an association for program coordinators.

Dr. Curry and Dr. Arndt then approached Dianna Otterstad, program coordinator at UT Southwestern, about the feasibility of such an organization. During the following year Dr. Arndt and Dianna had several discussions about the best way to start an organization of program coordinators, and Dr. Arndt began to make inquiries to the APDR officers and directors to get their reaction to such a project.

Immediately following the 1999 APDR meeting, Dr. Arndt recommended contacting as many coordinators as possible to determine if there was sufficient interest in a coordinators’ organization to pursue the matter further. The newly-installed president of the APDR, Dr. Murray Janower, and several other APDR leaders supported such an organization, and Dr. Arndt felt this would be a favorable year for organization. Dr. Arndt and Dianna developed a survey and emailed it to approximately 50 coordinators. The response was overwhelmingly positive. Dianna then wrote to Dr. Janower, president of the APDR, regarding the possibility of a coordinators’ organization, and in July 1999 Dr. Janower invited the program coordinators to attend the next annual meeting scheduled for April 2000 in Orlando, Florida.

About this time Sherry Bucholz of Sacred Heart Medical Center in Spokane, Washington, volunteered to assist with organizing the meeting, a most welcome offer. Since we did not have a mailing list at that time, the meeting announcements were addressed to “Residency Program Coordinator” and sent to all radiology programs listed in the green book. Sherry and Dianna wrote an invitation letter that was included in the coordinators’ registration packets.

Thirty-five coordinators attended the inaugural meeting of the Association of Program Coordinators in Radiology in Orlando. We held two organizational meetings and decided on an official name for our organization. The membership of the APDR approved the concept of a program coordinators’ organization at its Orlando business meeting.

Following the Orlando meeting, we went to work in earnest. The Membership Committee conducted a survey of all radiology program coordinators and compiled a complete database with names and contact information for all coordinators. We conducted our first membership campaign and began planning for the 2001 meeting in Toronto, Canada. We submitted an official letter of request and the APCR Rules of Operation to the APDR Board of Directors, which they officially approved at their December 2000 meeting. The last remaining step would be approval by the APDR membership in Toronto.

The Toronto meeting was a great success, with 59 coordinators attending. Dr. Coralie Shaw, who succeeded Dr. Janower as APDR president, announced that the APDR had officially approved affiliation of the APCR with the APDR. APCR members are designated as Coordinating Members of the Association of Program Directors in Radiology and receive all mailings of the APDR except the journal. Membership dues for the first year were fixed at $50. Thus, the long road to official recognition and acceptance was completed, and the Association of Program Coordinators in Radiology looked forward to a productive and mutually beneficial relationship with the APDR.