07 February 2024

Interview with new RANZCR President Professor John Slavotinek

Q: How does it feel to be elected RANZCR President for the next two years?

JS: I’m honoured and feel a deep sense of responsibility. I have a great desire to do the best I can for our members and trainees in an increasingly complex environment. There is a lot of work to be done and I’m keen to get started. 


Q: Can you tell us about your RANZCR journey as a member?

JS: When I was a junior consultant, my department head suggested I get involved with the College. I started as secretary of the local branch, then treasurer, then branch chair and I eventually moved onto more national roles including BEO, Chief Censor, Dean, a board member and now President.


Q: What are your personal priorities for RANZCR as new President?

JS: My priorities will include education, advocacy, technology such as AI and positioning RANZCR and its members for the future.  I want to improve our educational offer to members and trainees partly by engaging with and accessing resources from overseas Colleges. Of course, it is incredibly important to influence government and I want to work hard on advocacy with various stakeholders.

As past chair of the AI committee I have an interest in AI and want to ensure we continue to position ourselves as national and international leaders defining standards and regulatory principles relating to this exciting new technology. This is just one component of positioning the College and its members to successfully navigate increasingly rapid changes in technology and more broadly, within society. I’m also keen to continue to improve engagement with our special interest groups and others.


Q: How does being a member of RANZCR help those wishing to further their professional development and learning opportunities?

JS: RANZCR members have access to various courses including the very popular courses from the American College of Radiology (ACR) run here in Australia. More recently, a very successful course from the ACR Institute for Radiologic Pathology has been offered to trainees and members. We want to expand these offers and are working closely with the European Society of Radiology to access new premium content.


Q: How have you balanced your professional commitments with active participation as a RANZCR member and volunteer?

JS: I have been fortunate to combine activities that serve the profession with opportunities to learn and develop in areas that interest me. The benefits of volunteering, include the opportunity to meet other inspiring radiologists and radiation oncologists from Australia, New Zealand and overseas, develop new knowledge, skills and understanding, exchange ideas and also enjoy social contact with like-minded colleagues.

All of this is true of recent activity where RANZCR introduced a proposal that resulted in the major international bodies in radiology producing a consensus and guidance document about AI development, AI implementation and monitoring of AI tools. For those starting their careers I suggest, like myself, they find an area of interest where the College is active and start by making whatever contribution you can, however small.


Q: Can you tell us about AI and how it will affect the medical imaging sector in the future?

JS: RANZCR has contributed to several working groups and papers, both domestically and internationally, and its contributions are widely respected by other stakeholders. Over the time, AI will change the face of our sector and will influence most if not all components of the care we provide. At first it will play an important role as an assistant and facilitator and radiation oncologists and radiologists who become skilled at using AI and integrating AI into practice will be in an ideal position.


Q: How important is collaboration for RANZCR internationally?

JS: This is very important. Good relations with sister colleges are pivotal as we have common issues and problems, we can discuss approaches to these and in the right circumstances, assist each other. For example, the multi-society consensus document around safe AI implementation will assist advocacy in a variety of settings. We already liaise on several other important issues, including training, sharing educational resources and CPD.


Q: What is on the horizon for RANZCR and its members in 2024?

JS: Aside from topics I’ve already mentioned, improving services to members, and continuing to improve user friendliness of the CPD system and are essential. The federal government is investing significantly in digital health. It is important that we collaborate on this initiative and exert influence, both with politicians in Canberra and other stakeholders to ensure we can deliver effective services as the digital environment continues to evolve.