Serving Radiology Field Was Opportunity of a Lifetime
by Valerie P. Jackson, MD, ABR Executive Director
This July, I will close a huge chapter in my life – my professional career. I am often asked how I got where I am today, and I know it has been through good luck, great mentors, and an open mind. When I was in college, I had 11 different majors and a lot of uncertainty about what I should do with my life. I decided on medicine and ultimately diagnostic radiology. I have never regretted my decision! This was absolutely the right thing for me.
Like many radiologists of my era, I didn’t plan to become a breast radiologist. It was assigned to me, a bit against my will. However, it turned out to be a great opportunity. I loved the patient interaction, the ability to do research in a relatively young field, and the chance to pass on my knowledge to many residents and fellows during my 32 years on the faculty at Indiana University.
Another big part of my life has been volunteering. Over the years, some of my friends have wondered why I would give so much of my time for no pay. The reward isn’t monetary; better than money for me was the sense of giving back, the ability to work with wonderful people who are now long-term friends, and having an impact on many facets of our profession.
I first volunteered for the ABR in 1990, as an examiner for the first breast imaging category of the diagnostic radiology oral board exams. I joined the Board of Trustees in 2001, when the executive director (ED) was Dr. Paul Capp. At that time, I decided that being the ABR ED would be my dream job. I was fortunate to work with the next two EDs – Drs. Bob Hattery and Gary Becker – and I remember repeatedly telling them that if an ABR staff position ever opened, I would be very interested. In 2014, my dream came true. I moved to Tucson and have had the good fortune to work with amazing and dedicated groups of staff and volunteers. I made the right choices – to go into medicine, to go into radiology, to volunteer for the ABR, and now to be the ED.
As I reflect on the last six years, I am proud of the ABR’s many accomplishments. For initial certification, we have reduced the burden of paperwork for program directors and program coordinators. The ABR’s Maintenance of Certification (MOC) process has been revamped to make it more relevant and streamlined, based on feedback from our many stakeholders.
Thank you – to the ABR Board, the staff, our many volunteers, our candidates and diplomates – for giving me the opportunity of a lifetime.