Volunteerism Committee Has Thrived Under Dr. Oates’ Leadership
By Pamela Propeck, MD, ABR Trustee
If you’re involved with the ABR, you’ll recognize the name Elizabeth (“Liz”) Oates, MD. Chair of the department of radiology at the University of Kentucky, Liz has been a longtime ABR volunteer, starting as an oral board examiner for diagnostic radiology in 1995. She has also served as chair of the Subspecialty Nuclear Medicine Committee and as a member of numerous other ABR committees. She is currently an ABR trustee.
In addition to various other accomplishments, Liz has led the ABR Volunteerism Committee since 2020, and she spearheaded a major revision of the ABR Volunteer Handbook, which helps orient volunteers in each of the disciplines we certify: medical physics, interventional radiology, diagnostic radiology, and radiation oncology. The handbook provides extensive details about volunteer opportunities and requirements and is a wonderful resource for anyone considering volunteering with the ABR.
The ABR thrives due to the work of its many volunteers. The ABR seeks individuals from academic and private practice to ensure that a variety of voices are heard. Opportunities for volunteers include creating exam question banks, compiling and curating oral and written exams, and serving on committees related to radiology. Liz has answered the call in many of these areas.
When Liz began her tenure as chair of the Volunteerism Committee, the world was just entering the era of COVID-19. Despite many challenges, Liz succeeded in advancing the work of the committee. Between 2019 and 2022, the ABR volunteer pool increased from 1,291 to 1,450. Meanwhile the number of participants served by the ABR increased from 39,278 to 44,889. Estimated hours donated by ABR volunteers clocked in at 73,970 in 2022.
Liz is thoughtful and meticulous in all aspects of her service. She has spent hours reworking sections of the Volunteer Handbook to make sure the wording is precise and digestible. She understands that volunteers are vital to the ABR mission and does her best to make the experience valuable to our volunteers while creating impactful changes. Acutely aware that our volunteers have jobs and competing commitments, she is cognizant and respectful of people’s time and effort, making her a wonderful leader.
A recent interaction at the ABR trustee meeting sums up Liz’s personality. A group discussion arose regarding a volunteer who had changed to a different ABR committee. The committee chair said we needed to find a replacement for Volunteer X. Liz spoke up and said, “No, that is incorrect.” Silence filled the room. Liz then continued, “We need to find someone else to fill this position, but X is not replaceable.” That is how I feel about Liz. She goes above and beyond in all aspects of her career and leadership roles and has been a crucial player in shaping the ABR and ABR Volunteerism Committee.