Improving Health Through Medical Physics


John D. Hazle, PhD | Houston, TX and Mahadevappa Mahesh, PhD | Baltimore, MD

AAPM Newsletter — Volume 44 No. 4 — July | August 2019

Picture of John D. Hazle John D. Hazle
Picture of Mahadevappa Mahesh Mahadevappa Mahesh
Contact Author
Print Article

Report on Medical Imaging Technology Showcase coordinated by the Academy of Radiology and Biomedical Imaging Research (Academy)

The Academy of Radiology and Biomedical Imaging Research (the Academy) coordinated its Medical Imaging Technology Showcase (Med Tech Day) on Capitol Hill April 28–30, 2019. This event has 2 main components, a day for the Council of Early Career Investigators in Imaging (CECI2) to meet with leaders and members of the National Institutes of Health and to attend a networking reception hosted by the Coalition for Imaging and Bioengineering Research (CIBR), followed by a day on Capitol Hill advocating for medical imaging research with elected officials and their staff with members of the Academy leadership. The CECI2 members included 32 early-stage investigators (those deemed to have high research potential, but who not obtained their own R01 type grant yet) nominated by member institutions of the Academy and representing several member organizations, including the AAPM. The AAPM Science Council funded two early-stage investigators, Drs. Emily Marshall from the University of Chicago and Brian Taylor from Virginia Commonwealth University. A third AAPM member, Dr. Christiane Sarah Burton from Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, was nominated by her chair and selected by the Academy to participate in the events. Drs. John D. Hazle and Mahadevappa Mahesh, along with Angela Keyser and Shayna Knazik, represented AAPM at the events.

The Day on the Hill was exciting for all of us (John, Mahesh, Angela and Shayna), as well as our CECI2 members! The teams were developed based on their home institution district. The day was capped off with a showcase for legislators and their staff. Congresswoman Anna Eshoo (D-CA) and Senator Richard Burr (R-NC) attended the event and spoke about the impact of and need for increased funding for biomedical research. The CECI2 representatives all had iPad/laptop presentations of their work at high-tops that the approximately 200 staffers in attendance seemed to really enjoy.

It was an outstanding event and learning experience for all. We hope that this advocacy promotes increased visibility for and funding of biomedical imaging research! As senior members of AAPM, Mahesh and I feel proud of AAPM supporting our young members. In fact, we should continue and even increase our support for such young investigators who are the future of our profession. Now, the stories of the AAPM young investigators who participated in these events.

Emily Marshall:
This fall I became interested in the intersection of science and public policy. It was in this mindset that I learned of the AAPM's pilot program seeking to send two early career investigators as participants in the Academy for Radiology and Biomedical Imaging Research. The Academy offers a two-pronged approach towards increasing scientist engagement at the national policy level.

Our first day was spent at the NIH focusing on the first prong of the Academy's approach. The morning was reserved for program director meetings within an institute of our choosing and the afternoon was spent learning more about grant writing at the NIBIB. During my one-on-one meeting with NCI's Dr. Robert Nordstrom, we discussed mechanisms for young investigators to begin engagement with the NIH process. He recommended a variety of tasks to increase exposure, such as grant reviewing and connecting with program officers. In the afternoon we met with a team at NIBIB. We discussed what it means to be a young investigator, and how this classification can help our grant writing endeavors. The second prong focuses on bringing scientists and policymakers together. We spent the next day discussing the importance of funding the NIH and the NIBIB with members of Congress and their staff. We ended the day with the 10th annual MedTech event, where we presented our current research studies to policymakers in the Senate building.

This experience was positive and helpful. I spent three days surrounded by some of the countries most motivated minds in radiology research. This time spent together, learning about one another's research, offers a unique space to connect with like-minded individuals. I now have a strong network of people I may reach out to, to connect my colleagues and fellow AAPM members with. I strongly support the AAPM continuing this commitment and relationship with the Academy. So, thank you to our AAPM members for sponsoring an important and informative trip to our nation's capital.

Brian Taylor:
I'm thankful to AAPM for sponsoring us to join the Council of Early Career Investigators in Imaging (CECI) as part of the Academy for Radiology and Biomedical Imaging Research. We joined a group of over 30 CECIs from all over the country to visit the National Institutes of Health and advocate for NIH funding during the day at Capitol Hill. At NIH, I was able to meet with leaders in imaging including the Chief of Radiology at the NIH clinical center, Dr. Brad Wood. I was also able to meet with program officers and officials to learn more on the NIH grant application process and funding opportunities. We also had the opportunity to spend a day at Capitol Hill with leaders in the imaging field. Together, we talked with congressional members and their staff on the importance of funding NIH to advance medical research discoveries at many of our institutions and how imaging greatly contributes to that mission. This cumulated to an open event where we were able to present our own research in a showcase with congressional members and staff. Overall, this was a great experience to learn more on NIH opportunities and to learn how to communicate your research to a diverse group who makes important decisions that can impact research productivity for years to come.

Christiane Sarah Burton:
I moved to the United States 2 years and 7 months ago from Canada and I have found opportunity around every corner. Being part of Council for Early Career in Imaging (CECI) was one of my favorite opportunities. I'm grateful to have been selected through the Academy for Radiology & Biomedical Imaging Research, and I would like to thank Dr. Jonathan B. Kruskal, the chairman of Radiology at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, for my nomination. It was nice to be part of a group of people with a common goal of having their own research grant and who spoke so passionately about their research. It seemed like most people were keen on getting an R01 grant or some type of NIH funding in the future. I found the 2 full days in Washington DC was very well organized. There were three main highlights: my time at the National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering (NIBIB), my time on Capitol Hill and listening to stories from people who have ultimately benefited from imaging in medicine.

I think my time spent at the NIBIB was productive and I felt that the organizers assigned me with the correct person which I appreciated! I met with the director there who was keen to learn specifically what my research was about and offered to help write an R01 grant. I walked away feeling motivated to get started writing my specific aims section and I have kept in touch with him.

My day on Capitol Hill was a lot fun. I got to meet Representative Joseph Kennedy III in person, and I met with legislators who work for other representatives and senators within the state of Massachusetts, where I currently reside. We actually have a follow up meeting with Representative Ayanna Pressley herself who wants to come tour the major hospitals in the greater Boston area.

Lastly, I felt the stories I heard from patients who have ultimately benefited from imaging in medicine were impactful. One story involved a small child who had suffered from stage 5 cancer in her right kidney and the physicians were able to get a 3D print of her right kidney to better navigate the treatment. The child was there physically holding up said 3D print of her kidney. The physicians weren't able to save her right kidney, however she still has her left kidney and she ultimately survived the treatment. I have used 3D in the past and it is useful for creating realistic anthropomorphic phantoms so that realistic studies can be done on phantoms before attempting it on patients. At the University of Wisconsin-Madison, I used 3D printing to construct a 3D model of a pulmonary artery and fill it with iodine so that we could simulate catheter tracking using dual-energy imaging. The good news is that with the current US-China trade deal, the added tariffs are boosting the 3D printing industry in the United States because Americans can use 3D printing as an alternative to manufacturing products in China. We have really come a long way in medical imaging and I'm proud to be part of this movement.

I find it useful and necessary to keep up with politics, science and the human element of healthcare, and the Academy delivered all of that on the 2 days I was there. And I am grateful to have been part of such a wonderful and devoted group of people!

Login with your AAPM account to comment.