Margaret Perry 10th President of the SWCSNM-Technologist Section (term ending in 1982).

Margaret Perry
10th President of the SWCSNM-Technologist Section (term ending in 1982).

February 11, 2005

MR. METZGER: Margaret, did you read Art Hall's interview transcript-- 

MS. PERRY: His book? Yes.

MS. PERRY: Never known for being limited in speech. Super guy. Super guy, and I read Shirley's and Martha’s too.

MR. METZGER: As I conduct interviews and processed transcripts, I find that Art Hall is very highly regarded and referred to as instrumental in people's involvement with the Chapter. So I find it quite significant that he says that you were instrumental in getting him involved in Chapter leadership, and he indicated that it required some nagging. Do you remember it quite like that? 

MS. PERRY: Well, I would describe it as using my strong suit of being able to identify people with special talents that would contribute well to the Society, and then asking them to get involved. How's that? That's better than "nagging," isn't it? 

MR. METZGER: Now, tell me, what was his reluctance?  Or do you remember what you had to overcome?

MS. PERRY: Not specifically. Just pretty much like everybody else—“Oh, that takes effort,” or, “No, I just don't have the resources. You really want someone else.” But, of course, Art did have what it took, and he was excellent. 

MR. METZGER: And it is just so interesting. I think you had a huge impact on his life because as I read his interview, several times he says—in effect—“If you're in the profession, you've got to be involved in the Society.”

MS. PERRY: And I got that from the physicist that was over our school, our nuclear medicine school. Jack Morgan encouraged us as students to go to the meetings, and the best way to do that, he said, was to participate on your own or you might be volunteered for a position. That was his philosophy: to participate in your profession. You've chosen it. You need to invest in it and reinvest.

The nuclear medicine school was at what is now called Moncrief Radiation Center, in Forth Worth, Texas. There was a school there once, but it doesn't exist anymore. Dr. Bond had the foresight to put radiation therapy and nuclear medicine together in a free-standing center, probably one of the first ones, if not the only one that had nuclear medicine. Jack Morgan was the physicist, and he worked with Vern Ficken and all those doctors that Art talked about, Dr. Harvey, Dr. Bonte. Those guys were really supportive of the technologists and trying to establish a good continuing education base for us and helping us organize and identify our own arm of that organization, which was very supportive and beneficial.

I think that I was involved in leadership during more of a transitional time. The Shirley Ledbetters continued on, but the Vern Fickens and those guys, they established the groundwork. I was just one of those transitional people, like I say, that could identify people that could plug in to places and really go ahead like Art did and Chuck Lazarre and a bunch of those guys that were so good.

MR. METZGER: All right. Well, you've mentioned pretty much the how you got involved in Chapter leadership, but is there anything else you'd like to add? 

MS. PERRY: As far as the leadership, Shirley helped me. She’s another one of those people that can smile at you and get you to understand what your role is in life. She is certainly was a good mentor and and very supportive. Tom Kay mentored me as well. And I’d like to mention a little bit more about Vern Ficken. He was certainly someone to look up to because he did so much work at the beginning and continued on with quality—insisting that everybody do it right.

MR. METZGER: What are the highlights of your time with the Chapter? What makes you most proud? 

MS. PERRY: Just working with all those wonderful people was what I enjoyed the most. I wouldn't say that I accomplished a lot other than identifying people that could accomplish a lot. So I continued the momentum that had started earlier, and I attempted to increase it with these other really great individuals who took over leadership.

However, at the time that I was there, we were working on some pretty hot issues. The government relations committee was just established, so they were working on licensure, trying to get one registry, which is the sad part that we don't have it yet, and continuing education, personnel shortages were all the hot issues at that time. And, you know, those kind of things can't be addressed in one or two years. They were addressed through the years.

MR. METZGER: You’ve already done some of this, but who are some of the most memorable people you've come in contact with, and can you describe or relate a story? 

MS. PERRY: I don’t remember a specific story, but during the time of my involvement with leadership, it was characteristic of doctors to care about technologists as individuals. And we strove together as a group to make the practice of nuclear medicine better. Though, I can't think of a specific story. Shirley was always at the meetings just up and encouraging and telling everybody what was great about the Society, and why they needed to participate, and that kind of of dynamic is very inspiring, you know. 

Have I mentioned Ann Thorne? She did not run for President, but she did serve as Secretary, and she was involved in the local section, of course, but also on the Chapter level. She is a dear friend of both Art and me, and very encouraging too. I think probably she did some of that "nagging" on the other ear of Art, you know, so he didn't have a chance.

MR. METZGER: What do you think is special or unique about the Southwestern Chapter? 

MS. PERRY: I think that the camaraderie, the commitment to each other, not only on the technologist level, but physician to technologist is very important. We couldn't have made it without them. They couldn't have made it without us.

MR. METZGER: Irrespective of Chapter involvement, what are some highlights of your own practice of nuclear medicine? 

MS. PERRY: You know, that I still love it. I was just talking to a mother this morning. Right now I'm in pediatrics. I was at the radiation center for 20-something years, and then I went to Cook Children's Hospital, and the flavor is the same, the commitment to quality and caring; so it's been kind of neat to reflect on the fact that after all those years, you can still love this profession and take pride in it, in how far it's progressed and what it can do for each patient.

MR. METZGER: What have you experienced as benefits of being involved in Chapter leadership? 

MS. PERRY: Certainly you're going to grow with that experience. You know, I started as a student in some sort of committee because we volunteered or we were going to be volunteered. I’m sure I grew from that experience, and as I went from one office or one position to another, I grew more, met more people, and expanded my horizons. 

I would never have met a Mike Ciance or a Sue Weiss if I hadn't done those things. I would never have developed the leadership qualities that you develop from that process. It just wouldn't have been there, and I brought stuff back to my workplace—things like what you learn about the field itself, about what other people are doing salary-wise, and what other people are doing to recruit. 

I think if you just are in your own little job, that’s too much of an isolationist perspective, and you can't grow. You can't see what else there is. You can't think out of the box as easily if you're just doing your own job in your four walls. I think I would have just moved far away and gone out of  the field. By getting involved, you become a better person. How can you not, you know? Meeting all those great people, participating with them.

MR. METZGER: What do you think is the future direction of nuclear medicine? 

MS. PERRY: And the obvious PET molecular imaging. You know, even assets from the Mars expedition that's coming up. We might be involved with tracers and nanobots. Who knows? Because that last space mission to the moon did a lot for technology and therefore nuclear  medicine; I think this will too. That's just, you know, thinking out of the box again.