Alan H. Matsumoto, MD, FSIR, FACR, FAHA, professor and chair of the department of radiology and medical imaging the University of Virginia (UVA) in Charlottesville, will be installed as 2015–16 SIR president at Tuesday’s Members Business Meeting, 12–1 p.m. in Room 302. Dr. Matsumoto has pioneered with colleagues many novel and innovative, minimally invasive, image-guided procedures during his 24 years at UVA, many of which have become incorporated into practice worldwide. He has published 275 articles and book chapters and has trained more than 200 residents and 100 fellows. And he almost did not go into interventional radiology.
“I had thought about becoming a cardiologist, having completed my residency and boards in internal medicine,” he said. “However, I found the rapid advancements in imaging technology that were occurring in the late 70s and 80s more intriguing. The ability to make an accurate diagnosis noninvasively opened a new world of image-guided therapies.”
At the time he made the decision to change his career path, Dr. Matsumoto said that the term “interventional radiology” did not yet exist—what he, his mentors and colleagues were doing was referred to simply as “angiography” or even more simply “special procedures.”
“During that time, we were the ‘MacGyvers’ of Medicine, creating devices and procedures to treat patients who would otherwise have no other therapeutic options,” he said. “Technology development flourished because of our dynamic, interactive and innovative specialty. Ultimately, it was very gratifying to know that what we did may have saved a patient’s life and all they had to show for it was an adhesive bandage on the groin or a tube protruding from the skin.”
Dr. Matsumoto has been witness to, and part of, a lot of change since then. The one thing that hasn’t changed, he noted, is the pioneering spirit of innovation and patient care that attracted him then and continues to inspire him today. He assumes the SIR presidency at a time when “change” remains a dominant theme, not only within the specialty, but across the entire health care landscape. He admits the challenges that accompany some of these changes are daunting, but believes that interventional radiologists are well positioned for success.
“Interventional radiologists have the opportunity to demonstrate the vision to heal by partnering within health systems to provide comprehensive clinical care,” Dr. Matsumoto said. “Interventional radiologists are so important for the delivery of quality health care; however, the importance of our specialty, in many ways, remains underappreciated and misvalued. Health system administrators, legislators, payers and patients need to know about the significant value and role interventional radiology brings to so many different levels of the health care arena.”
Developing and funding registries to generate meaningful quality and outcomes data, he said, is key to advancing the understanding of the value of interventional radiology and the specialty’s positive impact on patient care and health care services.
“Interventional radiologists apply the very best of today’s medicine, improve patient outcomes, help to keep patients out of the hospital with improved quality of life and contribute to a decrease in patient lengths of stay,” Dr. Matsumoto said. “The registries developed by SIR Foundation, many in collaboration with other specialty societies, will be very important in generating critical data to demonstrate these benefits and the tremendous potential of image-guided therapies.”
In the wake of recognition by the American Board of Medical Specialties (ABMS) of interventional radiology as the 37th primary specialty, Dr. Matsumoto said another top priority for the society in 2015 will be developing the foundation for the implementation of the new IR Residency, which will start in 2016.
“The training paradigm for the specialty in the United States is undergoing an exciting change, which will lead to primary specialty certification in interventional radiology and diagnostic radiology,” Dr. Matsumoto said. “SIR is committed to strengthening the specialty and supporting the new IR Residency, which will benefit patients, practices and the future of the specialty.”
While the future holds great opportunities for the specialty, Dr. Matsumoto cautions that interventional radiologists cannot underestimate the obstacles that may have to be addressed and overcome. “We can’t let the challenges of shrinking health care finances, reduced support for graduate medical education, turf wars, politics, egos or individual agendas divide and, ultimately, erode our specialty,” he said.
The specialty of interventional radiology was built on a foundation of innovation, commitment and unity, which Dr. Matsumoto believes are precisely the traits that will ensure a meaningful and successful future for interventional radiologists.
“The common ideals among interventional radiologists, the passion to pioneer, the vision to change medical practice and improve the standard of care for patients were, and continue to be, nothing less than inspiring to me,” Dr. Matsumoto said.
“I am honored to serve as SIR president and I encourage all members to volunteer with the society. Together, we can continue to strengthen and enhance our efforts to ensure the growth of the specialty.”