Radiation Therapy Conference Keynote Shows Small Gestures Make Lifelong Impacts

The ASRT Radiation Therapy Conference in San Diego last fall began with an interactive, conference-wide icebreaker presented by Dear World. During the session, attendees were encouraged to reflect on their unique story, which they then crafted into a personal message, or brain tattoo. Participants shared important moments in their lives, such as rebuilding a car, seeing a son or daughter get married and losing a parent. After the session, attendees had the opportunity to write something with a personal meaning on their bodies and share it through a portrait photography session. Gina Gifford, R.T.(T), of Connecticut, participated in the event. She said it encouraged sharing and was “a meaningful icebreaker reaffirming our sense of community.”

A Radiation Therapy Conference participant shares her story during the Dear World icebreaker.

Melissa B. Pergola, Ed.D., R.T.(R)(M), FASRT, ASRT CEO and executive director, shared her own personal story of how small gestures make a big impact. She discussed how her career began sitting in a dorm room reflecting on how she wanted to be anywhere except where she was. Having to attend a small radiologic technology program at the rural campus of Wilkes General Hospital in North Carolina instead of attending the larger university with her friends was disappointing. It was a phone call that pulled her from herdorm room that made all the difference. The phone call was to assist a patient with a medical imaging examination, alongside her senior student mentor. She remembers bringing the patient a blanket and talking to them, which made the patient more comfortable.

Dr. Pergola shared her personal story with ASRT Radiation Therapy Conference attendees last fall.

Today Dr. Pergola knows that it is these small gestures that make the biggest difference in the lives of others. “Every interaction you have, everything you say and do, is like a pebble in the water. Even though you don’t always see it, like circles that ripple below the surface, your actions make a difference,” said Dr. Pergola.

Through Dear World, radiation therapy and medical imaging professionals who attended RTC shared stories that showed how their actions, no matter how big or small, reverberate far and wide. “I encourage you to share your stories…whether it is at a social gathering or on social media, and let the world know about our vital role on the health care team,” added Dr. Pergola.


ASRT Supports Members During Natural Disasters

The American Society of Radiologic Technologists supported members affected by natural disasters in 2023. Last summer the wildfire in Lahaina, Hawaii, was reported as the deadliest U.S. fire in 100 years. ASRT donated $10,000 to the American Red Cross and provided its more than 300 members living in Hawaii’s Maui County and Hawaii Countya 90-day extension paid membership renewal.

In addition, the hundreds of members and their families affected by the tornadoes in Tennessee on Dec. 9, were given anautomatic 90-day extension on their membership.

“Many of our own members and their families may have been affected by these devastating events. We are also mindful that many R.T.s may be tasked with providing patients with care during this challenging time while trying to manage their own lives as residents of the area,” said ASRT CEO and Executive Director Melissa B. Pergola, Ed.D., R.T.(R)(M), FASRT. “As a result, we want to provide as much support as possible.”

ASRT 2023 Survey Shows Slight Increases in Radiography Education Program Enrollment

The ASRT Research Department recently surveyed 1,209 radiography education program directors about the number of students entering education programs. Directors reported that the number of enrolled students increased slightly in radiography, radiation therapy and nuclear medicine technology programs in 2023 as compared to 2022. However, enrollment in sonography and magnetic resonance programs decreased slightly according to the American Society of Radiologic Technologists Enrollment Snapshot 2023.

Conducted annually, the ASRT enrollment survey highlights entering class enrollments, student capacity and program data that measures past trends, attrition and viability rates. By the close of the survey in late October, 301 responses had been received, yielding an overall response rate of 28.5%.

“The American Society of Radiologic Technologists reviews longitudinal enrollment survey results, along with feedback from educator and student members, to ensure that we create and maintain forward-thinking, valuable benefits that support educational programs in medical imaging and radiation therapy,” said Melissa Culp, M.Ed., R.T.(R)(MR), ASRT executive vice president of member engagement.

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