As the Director of Public Policy for the Alliance for Aging Research, my attendance at the RSNA 2011 conference was a truly eye-opening experience. Visiting CIBR industry member displays was a fantastic and rare opportunity to get the kind of hands-on feel for imaging technology that patients are rarely afforded. The experience enabled me to more effectively educate policymakers about the benefits of current imaging technologies, as well as future research in the pipeline.
The Alliance for Aging Research has been a member of CIBR since 2006 because we believe that CIBR plays an important role in advocating for biomedical imaging research and promoting the translation of that research in a way that improves human health. Membership in CIBR enables the Alliance and more than 65 other patient advocacy groups to collaborate with one another, as well as with industry representatives, academic researchers, and imaging societies. These collaborations help to facilitate open dialogue among all stakeholders of the imaging community.
Visiting the booths of CIBR industry members at RSNA allowed me to learn more about the important role that biomedical imaging plays in diagnosing and treating diseases that affect older Americans, like cancer, cardiovascular disease, and dementia. I am committed to using this information in my work at the Alliance and to sharing it with other patient advocacy groups who concentrate on aging issues. As the Baby Boom generation grows older and their health challenges further strain our health care delivery system, the work of these groups will become ever more necessary. I am grateful that CIBR recognizes the importance of advocating for research that will have a direct impact on this growing population and their caregivers.
Attending the CIBR Steering Committee Meeting during RSNA was also informative. The discussion centered around CIBR’s advocacy on important issues like clinical decision support, the Physician Payment Sunshine Act, and funding for the National Institutes of Health (NIH). I was also able to offer suggestions about CIBR’s events, especially about the value of the coalition’s annual medical technology showcase on Capitol Hill. I look forward to working with CIBR on this and other initiatives.
Thank you again to the CIBR staff and industry members who made my visit to RSNA such a wonderful experience. I hope that other advocates will be able to attend the conference and learn about the increasingly important role imaging technology plays in the lives of patients that they represent.
About Cynthia Bens: Cynthia is the Director of Public Policy at the not-for-profit Alliance for Aging Research. Founded in 1986, the Alliance is the nation’s leading citizen advocacy organization for promoting a broad agenda of medical and scientific research to improve the health and independence of older Americans. For the past eleven years Cynthia has worked to inform federal policymakers and educate the public on a variety of issues. For more than half of that time her efforts have centered on the formulation of policies to expedite the development of interventions to treat and prevent many debilitating age-related diseases; to remove barriers to access for needed treatments and therapies; and to improve the coordination and quality of care seniors receive.