New Handbook Better Serves Our Volunteers
By M. Elizabeth Oates, MD, ABR Trustee, and Paul E. Wallner, DO, ABR Associate Executive Director for Radiation Oncology
Volunteers are the lifeblood of the ABR and represent an incredibly motivated and committed group of professionals in the Board’s specialty and subspecialty disciplines as well as radiation and cancer biology. All members of the Board’s senior leadership – the Board of Governors and Board of Trustees – are volunteers, as are all exam and Online Longitudinal Assessment (OLA) item writers and clinical case material submitters, oral examiners, self-assessment module reviewers, and advisory committee members. In recognition of the critical role these dedicated professionals play in carrying out the mission of the Board and to support their activities and recognize their efforts, ABR bylaws include a standing Volunteerism Committee.
The charge to the committee includes developing cross-disciplinary policies and procedures for recruitment, retention, terms, conflict of interest resolution, and recognition of service determination. For many years, a volunteer manual had been available online to interested individuals. The committee determined that the manual was cumbersome and did not provide an ideal user experience. We have created a new edition, renamed the Volunteer Handbook, that is shorter and has a general, cross-discipline section followed by individualized sections for each of the four primary certification disciplines (diagnostic radiology, interventional radiology/diagnostic radiology, medical physics, and radiation oncology). Available volunteer opportunities, qualifications for those opportunities, terms, and expectations are provided, as well as links to appropriate policies, the application for volunteer service, and the conflict of interest policy and disclosure form.
The committee, Board leadership, and leadership of each of the individual disciplines recognize that there are many colleagues interested in volunteer opportunities. As senior volunteers rotate off committees, new members are appointed, but there are often more volunteers than available openings. Regrettably, approved volunteers often face delays in appointment to a committee. However, they may be assigned to other opportunities such as review of self-assessment modules and advisory committee service. The Volunteerism Committee is looking into ways to facilitate communication with interested potential volunteers.