Earlier this year, a small group of Radiology Partners radiologists, technologists and leaders organized an international service trip to Zanzibar in Tanzania.
Inspired by the work of Dr. Arlene Richardson, a radiologist at RP Chicago and the director of Tanzania’s RAD-AID International program, the group representing RP One traveled to offer support and education to local radiologists and a healthcare organization there.
While RP One began as an internal teammate assistance fund, the 501(c)(3) has expanded its reach, and each group member raised funds specifically to support the international service trip. “Arlene’s work inspired us to take the leap, expand our notion of service beyond our borders and offer a helping hand to a community that is in desperate need of assistance,” said Rich Whitney, RP chairman and CEO.
On the trip, RP radiologists focused on offering guidance and serving as supportive resources. Dr. Nina Kottler, ACMO for clinical AI and teleradiologist at RP Matrix, presented to physicians at a grand rounds session, offering best practices on imaging patients while pregnant. Dr. Byron Christie, ACMO for integration and radiologist at RP Eagle, spent time in the reading room and helping local radiologists review cases. “They have excellent training, but they’re not subspecialty trained, so when it comes to complex cross-sectional imaging, we helped with that,” Dr. Christie said. “It was a great mixture of two sets of experiences, learning about them as radiologists and developing a bond and a trust.”
The other teammates in attendance offered their operations, management and technical expertise. Renee Eskierka, imaging facility manager for Desert Radiology, shared ways to enhance operational excellence, leading toward an improved patient experience. “We’ve been working on shortening scan times, building protocols and positioning of the patients,” she explained.
Blake Graves, senior vice president of revenue cycle management, had the opportunity to work with Health Improvement Project Zanzibar (HIPZ), an organization created to help Zanzibar citizens access safe healthcare. “They are doing great work around critical health programs, mental health, cardiology, women’s health and children’s health,” he said. “Being able to work with that team gave us insight into the challenges they have from a data-gathering perspective for health outcomes.”
In fact, the team donated $15,000 from RP One to HIPZ. The funding will support the infrastructure of a PACS system for sharing radiology diagnostics between the hospital and a separate referral facility, and it will provide clinical training focused on radiology quality improvement.
Dr. Richardson shared how valuable it was to bring clinical and non-clinical teammates to serve together. “Some teammates were with the radiologists and technologists, and others were out in the community working with the HIPZ organization,” she said. “This all provided value and broadened the scope of what the Tanzania team can do. I see a lot of ways we can scale now that I didn’t think about before.” Kristin Kinkead, regional vice president of operations, said the trip was eye-opening for her. “It helped refocus my outlook on healthcare. It was incredibly valuable for us to experience that together.”
Dr. Kottler is excited about a continued relationship with the Zanzibar radiology team. “The effect we could have is astounding,” she said. “I think of our cohort, the first 10, as that first drop in the pond, and that ripple will continue to expand. We need to keep the momentum going.”
The team is grateful to the many sponsors who made the first RP service trip a reality. Thanks to Alliant, Barclays, Creative Planning Services, Eizo, Gallagher, Imagine Software and Mintz for their valuable support.
The team of radiologists, technologists and leaders who traveled on RP’s first international service trip include Jen Beaumont, senior vice president for IT implementations and regional services; Kristen Beaupre, CT technologist; Dr. Byron Christie, ACMO for integration and radiologist at RP Eagle; Renee Eskierka, imaging facility manager for Desert Radiology; Blake Graves, senior vice president of revenue cycle management; Kristin Kinkead, regional vice president of operations; Dr. Nina Kottler, ACMO for clinical AI and teleradiologist at RP Matrix; Ari Reger, head of People Services; Dr. Arlene Richardson, radiologist at RP Chicago and director of Tanzania’s RAD-AID International program; and Rich Whitney, chairman and CEO.
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