AJR: Role of radiology chair in rapid evolution
Departmental income and faculty management were identified as critical to more departments’ success than resident training and clinical service interaction, a study surveying 69 radiology chairs in the American Journal of Roentgenology (AJR) found.
The study emphasized the increasing importance of managerial experience and business acumen for radiology chairpersons, as resident training ranked fourth behind faculty recruitment, faculty retention and departmental income for achieving departmental success, according to Stephen R. Baker, MD, department of radiology, University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey, and colleagues.

The researchers mailed all 108 members of the Society of Chairmen in Academic Radiology (SCARD) a two-question survey asking them to rank 21 common departmental objectives as “critical,” “helpful” or “peripheral” to their departments’ success. The survey then asked chairpersons to indicate whether they were directly, partly or uninvolved in the same 21 categories.

Of the 69 interpretable responses received, 89 percent of chairpersons responded that training residents was critical to their department’s success. On the other hand, 36 percent of chairs said that training medical students and 33 percent said that training fellows were critical departmental goals.

The most commonly cited “critical” objective of chairpersons was faculty recruitment, with 91 percent of chairpersons responding affirmatively. Clinical service interaction was deemed critical by only 75 percent of chairpersons, while 41 percent of chairs indicated that clinical research was a critical concern and 20 and 1 percent responding that their own clinical work and research, respectively, were critical concerns.

Fifty-seven percent of chairmen said they were not involved in training their departments’ residents.

The study also found that program size was highly indicative of a department’s concern for training residents, with 100 percent of small departments with fewer than 23 medical trainees identifying resident training as critical. The authors also found that as the number of fellows in a department increased, departments became more concerned with training fellows while residents received decreasing importance, though fellow training did not garner more importance than resident training in any group.
The authors suggested that the disparate results showed that “the assignment of the criticality of education in radiology is occurring in the absence of written guidelines or consensus about how to organize and assess the teaching of students, residents, and fellows.” 

“The chairman’s role in academic radiology, as in other academic specialties, is undergoing a rapid evolution,” concluded Baker. “Whereas once the department leader was called on to guide faculty trainees and students … experience and managerial acumen have become additional criteria on which candidates are considered and occupants of the job are measured.”