LEE B. TALNER, MD
APDR PRESIDENT – 1994-1995
In 1994 I published a manuscript called "The Association of Program Directors in Radiology: A Beginning", in Investigative Radiology, vol 29, p 372-275. This contains some of the early history that overlaps some of Dr. Arndt's text.
As you know, I was president of APDR in its second year. There was a palpable sense that this organization had formed at the right time and had quickly gained tremendous momentum and energy. Time proved us right. It's become a key resource for both new and experienced program directors. For many years the former had been 'reinventing the wheel' every time they encountered a new problem. APDR gave them the advantage of tapping into country-wide memory and insights.
During my tenure as president, I focused on what I and others considered to be a major problem for radiology training programs; namely, that all of the written and oral American Board of Radiology exams were given in the fourth year of training, resulting in the majority of senior residents, the ones most experienced, being essentially removed from call and considerable clinical responsibility in order to study for these anxiety provoking exams. Working through our liaison committee with ABR, we convinced ABR to take action that would decrease the pressure on senior residents. This took the form of moving the physics part of the written exam to earlier in training, a change that was greeted enthusiastically by both program directors and residents, a true 'win-win'. It didn't completely solve the problem, but it was a start in the right direction. No surprise that in 2003, the same issue continued to frustrate program directors (APRD Resolution on Board Frenzy, From: Subcommittee on "Board frenzy" [Boarditis] May 8, 2003) and still does.
Also during my tenure, APDR solidified its relationship with A3CR2 by inviting their chief resident and faculty leaders to present a summary of their deliberations and concerns to the entire APDR during the latter stages of the APDR meeting. This reaching out gave notice to residents that APDR was seriously interested in hearing about their major issues and was prepared to address those that fell under the purview of APDR.
One of the most gratifying aspects of early APDR was the way the organization embraced and attracted directors of non-university affiliated training programs. Previously, these program directors had no forum for airing their concerns and frustrations or benefiting from the experience of other program directors. The bylaws of APDR, by mandating that every third president would be from a non-university based program, guaranteed that their voices would be heard and that they would have a major stake in the organization. Indeed, the APDR presidents from non-university based programs have been superb contributors to the vitality of the organization, beginning of course with Dr. Arndt whose vision and energy led to the birth of APDR.
It was a privilege for me to play a role in the leadership during the early years of APDR. Working closely with Drs Arndt, Thompson, Peterson and those that followed has been a joy.