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RSNA History – Part 7

We continue to discuss the history of the RSNA. In this section, we are about to highlight the difficulties the society had overcome during the Great Depression, which took place in the United States throughout the 1930s.

While the Depression was taking place, it was noted that the attendance of the was decreasing. Facing this challenge, Donald S. Childs, MD, the RSNA’s secretary-treasurer, and other members thought that the annual meetings should be more inviting to RSNA members. Therefore, they decided to hold a major annual lecture, took place in Memphis at the 1934 , the lecture aimed to highlight the contribution of radiology in medical practice. Moreover, the lecture was named after Russell D. Carman, MD, the former 1923 RSNA president who led the legal battle for journal Radiology against its publishing company. The Carman lecture was conducted by Byrl R. Kirklin, MD, who also succeeded Dr. Carman at the Mayo Clinic.

When 1937 came, RSNA had actually experienced nearly 8 years of economic obstacles. While reviewing the society’s status, RSNA President John D. Camp, MD, and other members understood that without stronger financial base, the society is to face much harder conditions. They also noted that RSNA budget was used to fund projects that were also receiving funds from other radiology organizations such as the American Roentgen Ray Society () and the American College of Radiology (), while the two organizations were also facing the same financial difficulties. Realizing this fact, a meeting of intersociety committee was held to discuss how to handle such situation.

Committee members included Edward Chamberlain, MD, Arthur C. Christie, MD, Lowell S. Goin, MD, Eugene P. Pendergrass, MD, and Edward H. Skinner, MD; they had a meeting in Atlantic City and decided that each of the three organizations, RSNA, ARRS and ACR, is to be responsible for a certain role for the next 50 years. The ARRS was to focus its efforts on projects promoting clinical research. Moreover, an extended ACR Board of Chancellors included representatives from the ARRS and the RSNA, in addition to American Radium Society. Furthermore, the ACR was to expand its limited membership, only 100 members back then, to allow the organization to handle the socioeconomic and political issues concerning radiology. The RSNA, on the other hand, was assigned to carry on with holding major educational meetings for 1 week annually, in addition to encouraging and enhancing continuing education from its Syracuse headquarters.

In this section, we discussed how RSNA, in addition to other radiology societies, were able to face the major financial obstacles during the Great Depression. We also mentioned that cooperation between radiology organizations such as RSNA, ARRS and ACR, was taking place as a step taken towards limiting costs in addition to assigning each organization a certain role to play, which significantly helped all of them to survive the adverse economic conditions.

To be continued…

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