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In March, RP announced the launch of the Office of the Chief Medical Officer (CMO), naming 13 radiologists to senior executive leadership roles. One newly named Associate CMO is Dr. Eric Rohren, Associate CMO for Clinical Research and Education.

Dr. Rohren is a body imaging and nuclear radiologist, serves as Professor and Chair of Radiology at Baylor College of Medicine (BCM) in Houston, Texas, leads the academic division of the Baylor Radiologists group in the Texas Medical Center and is a member of the local practice board. Additionally, Dr. Rohren leads the RP Research Institute (RPRI), serves as a member of RP’s Culture and Leadership Board and chairs the Education Committee. Prior to joining BCM, he was Chief of PET/CT at the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston. He has served on numerous boards and committees in the Nuclear Medicine field, including the SNMMI’s PET Center of Excellence and the Board of Directors of the American Board of Nuclear Medicine. Dr. Rohren earned his medical degree from Mayo Medical School and his doctorate degree in Immunology from Mayo Graduate School in Rochester, Minnesota. He completed his residency in Diagnostic Radiology and fellowship training in Nuclear Medicine and PET at Duke University in Durham, North Carolina. He joined RP in 2015.

As ACMO for Clinical Research and Education, Dr. Rohren will drive efforts to partner with academic centers to produce publishable research through RPRI and will advise and support the educational programs within RP.

We sat down with Dr. Rohren to learn more about his aspirations for RP’s Office of the CMO and his role as Associate CMO for Clinical Research and Education.

Tell us about your tenure/history with RP.

I began working with RP in 2015 shortly after arriving at Baylor. In working with Rich Whitney, Anthony Gabriel and the leadership of the Singleton Radiology Group, including Dr. Daniel Fang, a novel framework was created in order to blend the strong academic culture of BCM with the outstanding care delivery and service excellence culture of RP. Baylor Radiologists is now a large network of academic and community radiologists, serving doctors and patients in the Houston metro region and beyond.

Since then, I have become very involved with the RP Research Institute (RPRI), and I lead RP’s Education Committee that was formed from RPRI. Additionally, I have been a member of the Culture and Leadership Board from its inception and love working with that group. The culture of RP is one of our strengths.

What attracted you to RP?

When I first met with Rich Whitney and Anthony Gabriel, they expressed a strong vision for the future of radiology and the ways in which a large physician-led organization could transform the way radiology brings value to patients and physicians. We quickly realized the degree to which the mission and values of RP aligned with those of academic medical centers, and that by working together to leverage the strengths of both organizations, we could truly lead the specialty. In the five years I have been working with RP, I have seen the passion and commitment of our physicians and support team members to this transformational vision. We have accomplished great things, and more is yet to come!

How has your experience prepared you for your role as Associate CMO of Clinical Research and Education?

Arising from the early discussions between RP and BCM was the idea of creating a research home within RP, both to leverage opportunities within BCM and to attract other partners from the academic and educational arenas. The RPRI quickly grew to national scope under the leadership of Dr. Jay Bronner and myself, fostering collaboration and funding research activities with many world-class medical centers. We formed an Education Committee comprised of the program directors and thought leaders for our residency programs within RP, and I also lead that committee.

What do you want to accomplish in this role?

There is an unparalleled opportunity to leverage the strengths of RP toward achievements in research and education, building off of our teams of excellent physicians and support team members, our commitment to data science and our partnerships with organizations from academia and industry. My primary goal is to elevate the recognition of RP as a national leader in transformational radiology through engagement in meaningful research, creation of high impact publications, delivery of presentations at national conferences and promotion of educational activities to support our practicing radiologists and the learners who are the next generation of care providers. These activities will span the breadth of RP’s reach, from local practice engagement and research mentorship to national engagement with the societies and other organizational partners. Ultimately, I envision RP as the paradigm for a radiology-specific learning health system, that is, a system that processes information real-time, generating new knowledge and instituting iterative changes to the practice based on that knowledge and sharing the results with the healthcare community nationally and internationally.

What does the future of radiology look like in 5 years? 10 years? How will RP contribute to that?

Radiology is a very technology-driven specialty, and I believe the greatest changes will come from the harnessing of our technology in ways that improve and expand our ability to see into the anatomy and physiology of the human body. Medicine in general is being driven by molecular understanding (genomics, proteomics, metabolomics), and our imaging technologies provide a window into these processes in a non-invasive or minimally-invasive way. RP’s deep commitment to AI and other novel approaches positions us very well to lead the field in this area. In parallel, there is need to provide greater value in what we do as radiologists. The organization that promotes value and service delivery as core tenets will be the one that succeeds. RP is driven by a strong desire to achieve that value through efficiency, workplace satisfaction, performance assessment and ongoing quality improvement. Taken together, I firmly believe that RP will be the model for radiology of the future.

Dr. Eric Rohren is the Associate Chief Medical Officer for Clinical Research and Education at Radiology Partners, the largest physician-led and physician-owned radiology practice in the U.S. Follow him on Twitter at @DrEMRohren. For the latest news from RP, follow along on our website and on Twitter, LinkedIn and Instagram.