Key members of the Society of Interventional Radiology (SIR) have praised a new dual certificate for diagnostic radiology and interventional radiology, saying it recognises interventional radiology as a “a new form of medicine”.
Past SIR presidents Brian Stainken, (Interventional Radiology, Roger Williams, Medical Center, Providence, USA) and John Kaufman, (Dotter Interventional Institute, Portland, USA) and current SIR president Marshall Hicks, (MD Anderson Cancer Center, Houston, Texas), spoke to Interventional News at CIRSE (Cardiovascular and Interventional Radiology Society of Europe; 15–19 September 2012, Lisbon, Portugal) about why the decision of the American Board of Medical Specialties (ABMS) to recognise a new dual certificate in diagnostic radiology and interventional radiology was so important. The new certificate means that interventional
radiology will be a primary specialty, alongside diagnostic radiology, rather than a sub-specialty of diagnostic radiology. Furthermore, it identifies interventional radiologists as being more than just technicians—it establishes them as clinicians who are able to care for patients.
Kaufman, who chaired the joint SIR and American Board of Radiology (ABR) task force that developed the joint certificate, explained that a prior application for a single certificate in interventional radiology was rejected by the ABMS in 2009. After the failure of this application, he explained, the decision was made to apply for a dual certificate in a diagnostic radiology and interventional radiology because they “did not want to inadvertently downplay the importance of imaging.” Kaufman added that, with the new certificate, interventional radiology education would be able to “keep up” with the changing developments in interventional radiology and commented: “It [the new certificate] will open up opportunities for interventional radiology fellowships in cancer, women’s health, peripheral artery disease, musculoskeletal and paediatrics.”
Stainken, who is also editor-in-chief of Interventional News, said that the new certificate was “recognition and acknowledgement” that interventional radiology was a new form of medicine. He added that he believed the certificate represented a “monumental point” for interventional radiologists–and not just those practising in America but for interventional radiologists worldwide. He explained: “It is recognition that interventional radiology is a clinical skill set and it is an important skill set.”
According to Marshall Hicks, the new certificate is a “continued evolution” of the discipline of interventional radiology and said it was recognition of how the discipline had evolved and become “an integral part of medicine.” He added that it should be emphasised that the ABR played a “critical role” in getting the new certificate approved. He said: “This [certificate] would not have happened if they had not taken the lead. We [SIR] needed them to represent radiology at the ABMS. They had to be behind this and be supportive and enthusiastic.” He added that, in particular, Gary Becker (executive director of the ABR), deserved credit for ensuring the new certificate was approved.
In a press statement, Becker said: “Since the early 20th century, board certification—a form of professional self-regulation—has assured the public of the qualifications of medical professionals. Only rarely does the house of medicine acknowledge the importance of a new primary specialty certificate in fulfilling these responsibilities. ABR supported the creation of this primary certificate based on the need to ensure that future trainees acquire the requisite combination of clinical, procedural and interpretive skills necessary for the safe and competent practice of interventional radiology. The interventional radiology and diagnostic radiology certificate ensures that board-certified interventional radiologists are trained and qualified to deliver the highest level of care available today, and it demands that this same quality be made available to all future patients.”