Radiology to lose AI champion Natalia Vukolova

2020 09 01 22 31 8712 2020 09 02 Vukolova Natalia 20200901224234

Natalia Vukolova is to leave her post as CEO of the Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Radiologists (RANZCR). She was a regular visitor to ECR and a high-profile radiology administrator with a keen interest in artificial intelligence (AI).

After more than seven years in the CEO role, Vukolova has resigned to start a family, according to a statement issued by RANZCR on 31 August. Her departure is effective from 25 September. The college's head of policy and advocacy, Mark Nevin, will serve as interim CEO for the next 12 months while the RANZCR board searches for a permanent replacement.

It was widely anticipated in radiology circles that Vukolova would return to the job after maternity leave, so this development has caused surprise.

Natalia Vukolova is a well-known figure in Europe. Image courtesy of RANZCR.Natalia Vukolova is a well-known figure in Europe. Image courtesy of RANZCR.

"An enormous thank you to College staff, members, clinical leaders & partners for many years of exciting, exhausting and rewarding work. Time for new beginnings," she posted in her personal Twitter account. In her account profile, she describes herself as "an amateur polymath with a love for all things complex and beautiful."

Prof. Enrico Coiera, PhD, director of the Centre for Health Informatics, Australian Institute of Health Innovation, Macquarie University, Sydney, has expressed his gratitude to Vukolova.

"Thank you for being an AI champion not just in radiology but across healthcare. You and the College have been a national and indeed global leader in that space. Enjoy the next beginning!" he wrote on Twitter.

In reply, she wrote: "It's been a privilege to learn from you on AI and thinking through what it means for healthcare."

Her work at RANZCR

Vukolova joined RANZCR in 2009 as director of the Faculty of Radiation Oncology, before becoming the college's first female CEO, following the retirement of Don Swinbourne in 2013. She is an associate fellow of the Australian College of Health Service Management and a graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors, and she has a strong background of management experience across public sector, health, charity, and member-based not-for-profit organizations, according to her biography on the RANZCR website.

"Natalia's vision for the college is as an agile expert-based organisation which works in partnership with consumers," it stated.

In the 31 August press release, RANZCR President Dr. Lance Lawler said that Vukolova has served the college with distinction, reorganizing its management systems, strengthening engagement with government and the membership, and helping to build its international reputation as a leading medical college.

He acknowledged her role in initiating RANZCR's training and assessment reforms in 2014, "embodying potentially the most significant revision to the College's role in specialist medical education since its inception."

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