Spotlight on SNMMI Outreach (Because Not All Heroes Wear Capes)

August 19, 2019

SNMMI members are real-life heroes who wear lab coats, suits, and scrubs rather than capes. Every day, they work to find new solutions to diagnose and treat disease, and they support patients and their physicians as they face often life-altering decisions about their healthcare.

Because nuclear medicine’s work is largely done behind the scenes—resembling mild-mannered Clark Kent more than flashy Superman—it often suffers from a lack of understanding and appreciation among lawmakers, patients, the general public, and even the wider medical community.

SNMMI’s Outreach Domain, through the efforts of the Outreach Committee and its working groups, is helping to change that.

Educating and Engaging Patients


SNMMI’s Patient Advocacy Advisory Board organized the 2019 Patient Education Day. Left to right: Ramon Llamas (Men’s Health Network), Anita McGlothlin (Lung Cancer Alliance), Jeri Francouer (Susan G. Komen), Celina Gorre (WomenHeart), Josh Mailman (NorCal CarciNET Community), Joel Amromin (ThyCa), Rosemary Ciotti (FORCE), Stephen Schwartz (Lymphoma Research Foundation), and Dorothy McGrath (Colon Cancer Alliance). Not pictured: Matt Marks (ZERO Cancer), April Ross (Alzheimer’s Association) and Theresa Whickerham (ThyCa).

Through its Patient Advocacy Advisory Board (PAAB), the SNMMI educates patients on the role of nuclear medicine in diagnosing and treating disease and engages them in advocating for improved access to nuclear medicine procedures.

2019 Patient Education Day

Each year, the PAAB holds a Patient Education Day in conjunction with the SNMMI’s Annual Meeting, sharing with patients from the local area the latest developments in nuclear medicine, radiation safety, clinical trials, and disease-specific diagnosis and treatment. The 2019 event was a great success, drawing 80 attendees and eliciting exceptional evaluation scores (31 evaluations):

Average Rating for Overall Experience – 9.5/10.

Average Rating for Educational Value – 9.4/10.

How likely are you to recommend this event? – 100 percent “Very Likely”

In addition, the PAAB asked the attendees to share how safe they feel nuclear medicine procedures are. On a scale of 1-5, this received an average rating of 4.57. In the past, this question has been asked both pre- and post-event, with the rating typically increasing from a 3.X to a 4.X score.

The PAAB, with extensive support from the Outreach Committee and its working groups, offers a patient portal at to provide patients and caregivers with a wide range of resources, including videos and factsheets on nuclear medicine and molecular imaging procedures.

Patient Advocacy

The PAAB works with both SNMMI’s Outreach and Advocacy Domains to inform and support the Society’s efforts to advocate for improved patient access and care. Most recently, the PAAB has provided support in two key areas:


What Can You Do?

While educating and engaging patients and referring physicians is the goal of SNMMI’s Outreach Domain, all SNMMI members have opportunities to advance these efforts within their own institutions and communities. What can you do to help?

SNMMI’s Outreach Department is available to support your efforts. For more information, contact Outreach Director Linda Budzinski at

Having an outreach event in your community? Let us know! SNMMI would like to track member outreach efforts. Please email


Six member groups from the PAAB have signed onto a letter of support for R. 3772, the Medicare Diagnostic Radiopharmaceutical Payment Equity Act of 2019, and several have participated in visits to Congressional representatives on Capitol Hill to share the patient perspective on this proposed legislation. In addition, PAAB member Josh Mailman shared his story and the stories of numerous other patients with neuroendocrine tumors as part of the SNMMI’s July 17 Capitol Hill briefing, and PAAB members are being invited to participate in a letter writing campaign to their senators and representatives.

The PAAB shared the patient perspective with the SNMMI Committee on Government Relations as the Society formulated its comments to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission on authorized user training and experience. In addition, one PAAB-member organization (NorCal CarciNET Community) submitted its own comments to the NRC, reinforcing the message that current requirements ensure patient safety while allowing sufficient access to nuclear medicine procedures.

Informing and Collaborating with Referring Physicians

A key target audience for SNMMI’s Outreach efforts are healthcare providers. The Society offers a number of educational programs and collaborates with many relevant medical societies and the medical media to accomplish its goals for outreach to this community.

Inter-societal Initiatives

The following are recent examples of SNMMI’s partnerships with other medical societies.

The SNMMI has had panel presentations at the 2018 and 2019 North American Neuroendocrine Tumor Society (NANETS) Annual Meetings and hosted a session by NANETS at its 2019 Annual Meeting in Anaheim. Plans are underway to continue this partnership in 2020. In addition, through the work of SNMMI’s Education Department, the Society and NANETS will hold a Joint Webinar on PRRT indications guidelines on September 19. Further, through the Quality of Practice Domain, the SNMMI worked with NANETS to develop appropriate use criteria for Somatostatin Receptor PET Imaging in NETs, and NANETS is distributing SNMMI’s factsheet on those AUCs to its members at its regional and national meetings.

The SNNMI has held joints session with the American Thyroid Association at both organizations’ Annual Meetings for the past several years. In addition, through the Society’s Quality of Practice Domain, SNMMI, ATA, the European Nuclear Medicine Association and the European Thyroid Association have collaborated to find areas of agreement on the use of I-131 for treatment of differentiated thyroid cancer, developing a consensus paper known as the Martinique Principles.

The SNMMI holds representation on the American College of Surgeon’s Commission on Cancer and is participating in that organization’s Quality Integration Committee, which directs the Commission’s activities related to the National Cancer Database.

The SNMMI in 2019 held two ancillary educational programs at the American Society of Clinical Oncology Annual Meeting, addressing the topics of NETs and prostate cancer.

In 2020, the SNMMI will present a session on thyroid cancer at the Society of Surgical Oncology Annual Cancer Symposium.

  UroToday video: Advancements in PSMA PET/CT Imaging, presented by Phil Koo and Jeremie Calais. Click picture to view.
Outreach Videos

The Outreach Prostate Cancer Working Group this year has been developing a series of eight videos for the UroToday website. When complete, the series will include an introductory video as well as videos discussing fluciclovine, C11-choline, PSMA diagnosis, PSMA treatment, bombesin PET, bone scan, and Radium 223. In addition, the group has provided UroToday with relevant videos from previous SNMMI Annual Meetings, and those videos—20 sessions on a variety of prostate-related topics—to date have received more than 80,000 views.

Outreach Roadshows

SNMMI conducts a variety of “roadshow” events on nuclear medicine topics. Staged as dinner symposia, these complimentary events offer referring physicians CME credit in addition to dinner and networking opportunities. In 2019, the Society is offering roadshows in 11 cities on the topics of NETs and lymphoscintigraphy/sentinel lymph node mapping. Most recently, the Society has begun planning for a new series on the topic of SPECT brain imaging.

Educating Hospital Administrators and Executives

  SNMMI’s Outreach Committee held a session on outreach to hospital administrators at the 2019 Annual Meeting. Left to right: Nancy McDonald, Northwestern Memorial Hospital; Sheryl Bluestein, Emory Healthcare; Nancy Swanston, MD Anderson; Chad Wright, MD, Ohio State University; and Mehdi Djekidel, MD, Sidra Medicine (Co-Chair of the SNMMI Outreach Committee)

New in 2019, the SNMMI Outreach Domain has begun conducting outreach to hospital administrators and executives, with the goal of helping them understand the challenges and opportunities nuclear medicine advancements pose for their institutions and practices.

Hospital Administrators Survey

In spring 2019, in collaboration with the Ohio State University, SNMMI conducted a survey to learn about the current perceptions and challenges facing hospital administrators. Seventy-nine administrators responded to the survey. Results have been analyzed and are being submitted to the Society’s journal for consideration for publication.

Hospital Administrators Session at Annual Meeting

As a follow-up to the survey, SNMMI Outreach held a CME session at the Annual Meeting sharing highlights from the survey results and providing presentations from three hospital administrators, who gave firsthand accounts of their experiences and perceptions.

Proposed Session at the American College of Healthcare Executives (ACHE) Annual Meeting

The SNMMI has proposed a session on nuclear medicine challenges and opportunities at the ACHE 2020 Congress. The session is currently under consideration by the ACHE Program Committee.

Outreach Through SNMMI Chapters

Last but certainly not least, many of the SNMMI chapters conduct outreach activities, either on their own or with support from national headquarters.  Most chapters have appointed “Outreach Champions” who are working to engage patients and referring physicians at the regional level.

One example is the Central Chapter, which in September will host a visiting speaker who will address a prostate cancer patient support group as well as a urology ground rounds at the Ohio State University. Other chapters have initiated efforts such as inviting referring physicians to speak at their annual meetings, participating in regional patient conferences, and producing podcasts on nuclear medicine topics.