When I was a teen I recall having a discussion with my mother. At the time, I had often described my heritage as being "half Jewish and half Italian," since my father hailed from Italian descent while my East European heritage from my mother's side was religiously Jewish. So, correctly, Mom pointed out that I was "all Jewish." I replied, "Ok, well I feel all Italian AND all Jewish."
My goal was not to denigrate or ignore Mom's side of the family. It was to point out that I felt that much of my personality came from having those two strong aspects at play.
Similarly, I am ALL interventional radiology and ALL diagnostic radiology. From day to day, my practice has me performing numerous interventional radiology procedures and, in between those procedures, I contribute meaningfully to the daily imaging workload.
I am happy in this hybrid world of radiology. I enjoy imaging interpretation while I also relish the chance to make a direct difference in people's lives by helping to fix what ails them.
So you can imagine why there has been much discussion about a recent decision by the American Board of Radiology to convert all relevant existing Diagnostic Radiology and Interventional Radiology board certificates to a single "IR/DR" designation.
Why has there been such discussion? Simply because a valiant effort based on a good idea arrived at what many feel is the wrong conclusion. Namely, our existing diagnostic radiology board certification status has been revoked, albeit "temporarily," in favor of the issuance of a new certificate designated "IR/DR."
I am neither half IR nor half DR. I am ALL interventional radiology and ALL diagnostic radiology. I studied and trained and won, after great effort, my diagnostic radiology board certification. And subsequently, I did the same for my interventional radiology subspecialty certificate. There are many dual board certifications that exist. The two entities or not mutually exclusive, although there has been some commentary made to the contrary.
So the conclusion to issue a combined certificate essentially suggests that those of us intended recipients are half of one and half of the other. But what does that say about the 100% effort I put forth to achieve both certificates?
I remain, therefore, 100% interventional radiologist as well as 100% diagnostic radiologist, facile in both disciplines and utilizing all of my knowledge and skills with every patient encounter and every imaging study interpretation.
For reference, below is the most recent letter that was sent to many of us by the ABR:
" September 1, 2017
Dear Paul J. Dorio MD:
We recently sent you an email concerning the status of your Diagnostic Radiology (DR) lifetime certificate and your Vascular and Interventional Radiology (VIR) subspecialty certificate, which you are maintaining through your participation in MOC. In summary, on October 15, 2017, the ABR will convert your two certificates to one new specialty certificate in Interventional Radiology/Diagnostic Radiology (IR/DR). Your new IR/DR certificate will be maintained by continuing to participate in MOC just as you do today.
Since there has been concern expressed in the IR diplomate community, the purpose of this letter is to inform you that if you opt to convert to an IR/DR certificate, you are not relinquishing any of your rights to regain your lifetime DR certificate at any time in the future.
If you should decide to discontinue your interventional radiology practice and practice diagnostic radiology, simply let us know and we’ll reissue your lifetime certification.
If you practice interventional radiology until you retire, let us know when you retire that you no longer want to maintain your IR/DR certificate and we’ll reissue your lifetime DR certification.
If for medical or other reasons you cannot maintain your IR/DR certificate, let us know and we’ll reissue your lifetime DR certification.
If you change your mind at any point in the future, let us know and we’ll reissue your lifetime DR certification.
The new IR/DR specialty certificate is the result of 15 years of work by the Society for Interventional Radiology (SIR) and the ABR to ensure the strength of the specialty and included a protracted effort for recognition by other medical specialties of the nature of our field. This was a big win for interventional radiologists.