This piece was originally published in the Winter 2015-2016 issue of USNC Current.
By Cassandra Ricci, Manager of Government Relations, Medical Imaging & Technology Alliance
As a recent college graduate and newcomer to the healthcare industry, I find that I view the medical imaging industry from a more health-conscious perspective compared to my more senior colleagues. I spent my undergraduate career immersed in the biological sciences, specifically seeking coursework and opportunities for research in cancer biology and infectious diseases. In my current role as the manager of government relations at the Medical Imaging & Technology Alliance (MITA), I interact with members of Congress, stakeholder companies, standards professionals, lobbyists, and others in the nation’s capital. My responsibilities range from monitoring state legislation and contributing to federal lobbying efforts to managing the website and serving as the U.S. Technical Advisory Group (TAG) Secretary for IEC Technical Committee (TC) 62, Subcommittees (SC) 62B and 62C.
Although each item in my portfolio involves different challenges, processes, and outcomes, I find that my background in science helps me keep one objective at the forefront: patient health and safety.
In the government relations arena, political discourse and partisan rhetoric can often distract from the creation of policies promoting innovation and patient access to life-saving diagnostic imaging equipment. I can easily cite the heterogeneous nature of tumors and the need for personalized medicine when arguing for the coverage of and agency recommendations for nuclear medicines and therapies. I can inform others that appropriate and regular mammography screenings could save the lives of many women who suffer from BRCA 1 and 2 gene mutations and those who are predisposed to developing breast cancer. These scientific connections that I have learned through my undergraduate education and personal interest are especially helpful in explaining the value of imaging to politicians and lawmakers.
In the standards and conformity assessment field, I have noticed that professionals see the need to update standards and policies in concert with advancements in technology and new safety concerns. From issuing recalls for outdated medical equipment to lowering the radiation dosage on scanners and devices, I can see that the ultimate goal is to avoid harmful risks and promote patient health. As my career in medical imaging progresses, I look forward to seeing how standards evolve from ideas on a page to valuable enhancements on lifesaving technologies.
My goal in my current position at MITA and involvement with the government, USNC, and other organizations is to leverage my knowledge of the biological sciences to provide a unique perspective in key conversations and interactions. The medical imaging industry lies at the intersection of patient health and complex technology, developing and employing diagnostic and preventative measures to save lives.