January 2005 Interview of Terri Boyce by Art Hall
ART HALL: Well, good morning to you.
TERRI BOYCE: Good morning, Art.
ART HALL: How did you first become involved with leadership in the Southwestern Chapter?
TERRI BOYCE: Prior to moving to the Houston area (in 1986), I was secretary of the Ohio Valley local chapter, and so I was interested in becoming active in the Houston area. I went to work at Methodist hospital in Houston, Mario Verani, and I got involved through Jo Carol Smith who worked with Syncor at the time. Jo connected me to the local leadership, which happened to include Brad Pounds at the time. So I started out with the Houston Section; and became program chairman of the Houston Section in '87, and President in 1988. We were really a pretty active little group down there. I think a lot of that had to do with Brad Pounds and my predecessors who developed in the area.
Getting involved in the Southwestern Chapter was just kind of a natural transition over time. I went from program chairman in '88, and then became President in '89 and '90.
We brought a large group of people together through the Houston Section and then the Southwestern Chapter.
ART HALL: Now then, we're going to the next question which involves the time that you were President: What were some highlights of your time with the Chapter particularly as President and maybe afterwards, and what makes you most proud of being President of the Southwestern Chapter or a member of the Southwestern Chapter?
TERRI BOYCE: We had a really great meeting. Debbie Merten was my Scientific and Teaching Chairperson and she put together an excellent, excellent meeting. We were very proud of that. It was nice to have a national office presence there - Virginia Pappas. What I’m most proud of was being a leader and inspiring others to get involved and keep the momentum going with the scientific program.
ART HALL: And I think that's fabulous too. The mentoring of new leaders was certainly evident there for a number of years. And you were a big part of that process.
TERRI BOYCE: Yes, but no doubt about it, Art: You have been a big part. You brought in many people. I have a picture here of you at the Southwestern Chapter meeting when I was inaugurated, and it must be a party afterwards. I'm assuming so because I can't imagine you wearing a gold bow on top of your head for any other reason.
That was really a good meeting and a great turnout at the time. We were boasting about it at the meeting that it was one of the best turnouts for that time. And, you know, I think that's the important thing—the sense of camaraderie and working together and unified goals to achieve the continued education effort as well as just a good strong network. I mean, we've got quite a niche in nuclear medicine - it's so widespread - the only way for us to really interact is to have such connections through leadership and through these meetings to get people together. There are many of us out there. We’re just scattered, and to bring us together and unify us, I think, is really important.
ART HALL: Absolutely essential. Who is the most memorable person that you've come in contact with in Chapter leadership? And then second to that is, can you describe or relate a story about that individual?
TERRI BOYCE: Well, don't blush, Art, but it's you, and I don't know if it's your one-man band capability that impressed me most when I first met you, or your effectiveness as a presenter. Everyone who meets Art Hall should stop and ask him to play his one-man band!
ART HALL: My tuner is going out, but my daughter has the talent.
TERRI BOYCE: The other thing that impressed me about you has been your ability to mentor others, and, you know, that goes all the way back to me—getting me involved. I would have never thought of going into leadership—especially National leadership—without all the encouragement that I had from you. I just didn't feel confident in that scenario of leadership. So, you just helped me along the way by really encouraging me to get involved. You know, that was great. Brad Pounds had a role in that too.
ART HALL: I appreciate that, and I strongly believe that people need to be involved in their professional organizations. If you're employed in nuclear medicine, you need to be involved in the nuclear medicine community because you, in a sense, dictate what rules and regulations are coming out of the community. And when I look at different people around, I think these people are the future of nuclear medicine. Certainly, at that time, you were the future of nuclear medicine, and you did a wonderful job from being President of the Southwestern Chapter all the way to the National level.
TERRI BOYCE: Well, thanks, Art. I know it helped me a great deal to have your encouragement and to step into it slowly, by getting involved in committees. You encouraged me to attend the committee meetings beforehand, and I started out on the National level with committee membership and then committee chairmanship. I chaired the Scientific and Teaching Chair first, and slowly but surely felt stronger about that level, and all along the way you and Brad were there just rooting for me.
ART HALL: What's special or unique about the Southwestern Chapter?
TERRI BOYCE: At the time that I was involved (and—I apologize—I’m not involved anymore because I am in Utah), my participation gave me a strong sense of belonging. And I had a stronger connection, I believe, to my professional community because of that, and I miss it.
ART HALL: But, you know, the Southwestern Chapter certainly stays in contact with people, and we can thank Charles for that, and certainly this 50th anniversary celebration here is bringing a lot of different people together. Charles is much more aware of that than—than you or I, but that's what makes the Southwestern Chapter very unique, and I'm proud to be a member of it, and I guess we'll move to question six: Irrespective of Chapter involvement, what are some highlights of your own practice of nuclear medicine, say, from your training into your work in Ohio, I assume, and also into Methodist and then on to work for Syncor?
TERRI BOYCE: Well, my career in nuclear medicine has placed me on a really good evolutionary path, so to speak. I feel like it's headed the right direction. I got a bachelor of science in nuclear medicine at the University of Oklahoma, and from there worked in a cardiology lab in Oklahoma. Then, due to my husband's work, we moved to Ohio, and I worked in Ohio for a couple of years while he finished his education in Ohio. Then we moved to Houston, and that's where I got my job at Methodist Hospital as supervisor of the nuclear cardiology area. It was a big step up after just a few years' experience in nuclear cardiology to take over such a large laboratory. I grew into those shoes eventually, but it was a growing process.
ART HALL: I think you did a fabulous job. And I can't personally say that I experienced the trip to NASA, but I believe that you and your husband arranged for the Southwestern Chapter to have a tour of the Space Center in Houston at one meeting. From my wife's perspective, that was a very memorable event, getting to meet an astronaut. Actually she got to dance with an astronaut, but I think you need to make mention of that because I think everyone in the Chapter enjoyed that event.
TERRI BOYCE: My husband worked on the health maintenance facility for the space station as a physician for NASA. He really gave a personalized tour of the space station, the space shuttle, and what the plans were. Looking back, I can see how incredible it was. It was fun having the Max Q – the Astronaut Band too. Now, they're not the Beatles or the best band in the world, but they were all very active astronauts at the time. They wrote a song for our Chapter. It was some Beatles song that they changed the words to. They incorporated, you know, some silly phrases about the kind of work we do.
ART HALL: How did working for a commercial company and being President nationally work for you? And why did it work? It was very unique in the history of the Southwestern Chapter and the Society from that standpoint.
TERRI BOYCE: Oh, yes, it really was. I worked in the commercial industry in continuing education, and I had a fear going into commercial industry that I would lose credibility. It seems strange to me now looking back on it, but at the time, my fear was that folks would not regard me as well, and that it would have implications with my leadership goals at the time.
And I was assured once again by you and Brad to just go for it anyway. It frightened me a bit because I thought this role would make an impact on future commercial employees to become leaders. I was amazed that I still was able win the election in spite of a lot of interesting comments that were made along the way, I'm sure many of which I didn't hear.
ART HALL: Don't worry. Your fan club was behind you.
TERRI BOYCE: Thank you, but, you know, it was a challenge. The technologists seemed to accept this role much easier, to be honest with you, than the physicians. The physicians seemed to have some concerns with that interaction, especially when we get involved in some of our more controversial topics of discussion. I just made sure that everyone knew what my affiliation was in these meetings.
I tried very, very hard to make sure that my commercial affiliation had no influence on my professional interaction at the Society level, and I think I achieved that.
ART HALL: I know you achieved that. You're the model now as a result of that.
TERRI BOYCE: Again, I had a lot of help including Virginia Pappas who guided me along the way to make sure that we didn't have any hiccups, and I think for the most part we managed that.
ART HALL: One of the things that I remember most about you as President was the big, big notebook of slides and literature regarding Understanding the Changing Health Care Environment, and I think that that was something that came out of your work at Methodist, in the Southwestern Chapter and your work at Syncor. And I just was wondering if you wouldn't kind of shed a little light on that because it's a significant part of the history of nuclear medicine and essentially the Southwestern Chapter.
TERRI BOYCE: We have to once again go back in time and think about what was happening at the moment politically, and, you know, no doubt the health care environment has changed significantly in different periods throughout the years, but this was a critical point in time. It was a huge, huge undertaking with the U.S. President coming in at the time. We anticipated that this change was going to affect the way we practiced nuclear medicine.
“Understanding the Changing Health Care Environment: The Key to Survival” was the name of the slideshow, and it’s goal was to educate folks on what the change was—exactly what was happening and how it would affect the payers and reimbursement, etc. And the other part of that was to understand how nuclear medicine can survive the impact of this. It seemed at the time that the nuclear medicine entity would evolve more and more and become a part of others, and that being multi-skilled was important—to get licensure in other areas as well.
ART HALL: I was very pleased that you were very active in doing that, and it's part of our work within leadership of the Society of Nuclear Medicine and the Southwestern Chapter to maintain nuclear medicine so it still enjoys a nice status in the medical community.
TERRI BOYCE: Yes. I think so too, and I think this was just the beginning of education for our technologists nationwide - and all of health care - to help understand that medicine had to become a business. One of the objectives of this program was to teach technologists some basic business skills and to treat your patients as your customers, and—at the time—that was kind of an unusual perception to have.
ART HALL: What do you believe the future direction of nuclear medicine is going to be?
TERRI BOYCE: I’m still involved in nuclear medicine, but only part-time. I work about 20 hours a week on a professional level with Cardinal Health writing educational programs and clinical protocols. Through my research in the process, I do maintain some attachment to it.
I feel like nuclear medicine has a great future, a solid future, but oncology is probably the facet of nuclear medicine that will grow strongest. I think Henry Wagner made the comment that you can always tell where the future of nuclear medicine is by where the research is being performed, and—no doubt about it—the research is largely in oncology arena, PET, and molecular imaging. Molecular imaging within nuclear
ardiology is going to be very, very impactful and especially as they move on and they cure heart disease, which I think is going to happen. Nuclear medicine is still going to have a strong role because somebody is going to have to be there to monitor that cure rate, so I see a great future for all of nuclear medicine.
MR. METZGER: I have another question for the both of you to respond to, and that is, What would you say to someone new in the field? What would be your advice to that person?
TERRI BOYCE: One of the first things that they should do is to get involved in their local section leadership, not only for the continuing education which they must have in order to maintain their certification, but also to realize that it's a force of volunteers that brings us together and makes the meetings what they are, and what better way to contribute to your professional field than to participate in this organization? What better way to have some say in what happens in these meetings than to be a part of that leadership? And, I'm a strong believer that people shouldn’t be complaining on the sidelines if they are not willing to actively participate in making the changes they would like to see. They need to get involved, because that's how they get their words of wisdom to make an impact.
ART HALL: I always tell them: You can either do or be done to. It's your choice.
TERRI BOYCE: Art definitely has captured the essence of involvement in a few short words. You're absolutely right, and too many folks, I'm afraid, stand on the sidelines and mumble and complain when they should really be involved if they really want to see changes occur. Their involvement may deal with the policies of the organization. It could be centered on their professional licensure and what's happening with continuing education. Whatever it is that they are concerned about, the way to make a difference - the way to make a change - is to get involved.
ART HALL: Get involved and you have to stay involved because, in a sense, it's your career. It's your profession, and as I also used to tell them, the most boring topic on the speaking agenda was socioeconomic issues, but I always told them that the socioeconomic issues are going to be the ones that dictate your salary, the future direction of your profession, and what's going to be happening. And whether you like politics or not, you're going to have to get involved to some degree within your profession and the political aspect on it.
And part of the mentoring process is how to get involved politically and survive because—and I'm sure you would agree with this, Terri—that the actual scientific and education components of membership are fabulous. It's the political issues that really tend to get under your skin and cause you unusual duress.
TERRI BOYCE: Yes. Yes. No doubt about it. But this course that I took, the course of political leadership within the Southwestern Chapter and the National Society actually led me down this path to where I am now professionally—that is, I'm able to contract part-time professionally with nuclear medicine, and I can spend my remaining time to support of global understanding through foreign exchange.
And we have some issues in foreign exchange—especially in Utah and also nationally—changes that need to be made in the way things are handled. And I feel like my preparation for this came from this evolution, this background of leadership that gives me the strength now to say, “Wait a minute. This needs to be changed,” and to go in there and make the changes.
My leadership experience within the SNM is now helping me to make a difference in the foreign exchange program. The U.S. State Department has invested major interest in the foreign exchange program because these students will have an impact on our future generations and their ability to get along and understand each other.
Because of the leadership experience that you inspired in me, Art, I am now able not only to feel strongly about something, but also to get up and say something about it and make a difference. My SNM leadership experience has affected my life long term in ways that no one can fathom. It took that evolution in my nuclear medicine profession to get there. If you knew me in college and high school and imagined that I'd be up giving testimony to the state legislature and interacting with U.S. Congressmen about these issues, I would have said, “No, no. That's a different person. That's not me.”