Society of Nuclear Medicine President, Dominique Delbeke, M.D., Ph.D.
SNM convenes annual meeting as challenges persist
When the 2010 SNM meeting convenes on June 5 in Salt Lake City, current SNM president Michael Graham, M.D., Ph.D. will hand over presidential duties to Dominique Delbeke, M.D., Ph.D., director of nuclear medicine and PET in the department of radiology and radiological sciences at Vanderbilt University in Nashville, TN.
Delbeke has served in several different capacities since joining Vanderbilt University Medical Center in 1986, where she has held the position of professor and director of nuclear medicine and PET since 2002.
She also has served on the board of directors of the SNM Cardiovascular Council and served a three-year term on the board of directors of the Education and Research Foundation. She is also a member of SNM's Education, Finance, Health Care Practice, Ethics, and Procedure and Practice Guidelines Committees.
Delbeke concurs with Graham that the "shortage of isotopes is certainly a major problem," as is falling imaging reimbursement and the consequences of the loss of dollars for the job market for nuclear medicine professionals.
Whether reimbursement cuts are restored will depend, in part, on nuclear medicine's ability to convince regulators of the specialty's value. Hence, Delbeke plans to promote collaborative multidisciplinary practice guidelines and comparative clinical and cost-effectiveness studies, two areas in which she has been involved over the past several years.
"Imaging tests can help with the cost of healthcare, if done appropriately. [They] can guide to more appropriate treatment and decrease the cost of treatment when the treatment doesn't work," she said. "Even if, as a whole, the cost of imaging has increased disproportionately compared to the cost of treatment, it may be because we haven't been very good at proving in the literature that imaging tests will help select the patient for appropriate treatment."