Funding the Future

Rebecca Ludwig, Ph.D., R.T.(R)(QM), FAEIRS, FASRT
Jan. 4, 2016

Rebecca LudwigWhile celebrating National Radiologic Technology Week recently, I found myself reflecting on how things have changed — not only in my career, but also in the medical imaging and radiation therapy profession. Many of the changes have come about because of research by technologists like you and me.

Research is very important to me. My first doctoral research project, funded in part by the ASRT Foundation, led to exciting career opportunities. The aim of my project was to understand more about what technologists were doing in actual practice, compared to the scope of practice. I found that seasoned technologists were engaging in advanced skills they learned on the job without formal academic preparation, recognition or compensation.

The project validated my intuition and helped me develop a research agenda, and it led to professional opportunities on state and national boards, committees and councils. My career has been enlightening, challenging and rich. I’ve been able to interact with amazing colleagues across the country whom I otherwise would not have met. I want those who come after me to have the same opportunities.

Reliable funding for research by medical imaging technologists and radiation therapists is not easy to find. Outside of the ASRT Foundation research grants, I don’t know of any funding that is specifically awarded to studies in the radiologic sciences, and traditional resources to underwrite research are disappearing.

This lack of financing deters many R.T.s from completing research projects that could change the profession and improve patient care.

It is vital that we continue to search for best practices and ways to move the radiologic sciences forward. That is why I have established the Emerging Researcher Award, or ERA, a member-funded research grant fund. I invite you to join me in helping ensure it continues to be funded.

Contributing to the body of knowledge is necessary for continued recognition as a professional scientific discipline. It lets the world know our profession and our careers are important and our role is essential to high-quality health care. And it seeds the future of our profession.

We need a research award to be available in perpetuity. You can help make a difference by being a part of this new ERA.

This article was originally published in ASRT Scanner, Vol. 48, No. 2, Page 21. Rebecca Ludwig, the article’s author, is the dean of the Department of Health Sciences at St. Petersburg College and has been a member of ASRT since 1989. She is a member of the Radiography and Quality Management chapters, Radiologic Technology Editorial Review Board and Grass-roots Network.