The new SMRT
President, Maureen “Mo” Hood responds to Signals.
Signals: Please describe
your early MR imaging experience.
My first taste of nuclear magnetic resonance came in
1982 during organic chemistry class. The University
of Puget Sound, Washington, USA, had received
significant donations to purchase numerous high end
pieces of science equipment, one of which was a
nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) machine for doing
magnetic resonance spectroscopy. At the time, I
could not figure out for the life of me why my
organic chemistry professor was so enamored with NMR
– it was very temperamental and I struggled with
calculating chemical shift adjustments on the
spectra to figure out what was in that clear vial of
fluid. I really thought I’d never use NMR again.
Well, wrong! After earning a BS in biology I worked
as a marine biologist out in the Bering Sea for a
year. While at sea, I decided to go back to school
as I discovered that working on a small fishing boat
in the middle of the ocean was not my idea of a good
career. I decided to pick up a quick radiologic
technology degree which would ensure I could find a
job while I pursued a PhD in some sort of science.
While studying radiologic technology in 1987, our
class was notified about a job opening for a
part-time receptionist at a new MRI clinic – one of
the first MRI scanners in the State of Washington.
No one else in my class had ever heard of magnetic
resonance anything. I quickly applied and was
selected for the job at Tacoma Magnetic Imaging. I
couldn’t believe how much more interesting magnetic
resonance was when it created images from people.
Compared to x-ray, MRI was simply amazing. After a
few months, I was able to arrange for an independent
study class through Tacoma Community College with
Terry Duggan-Jahns, and started training into MRI.
The early days of MRI were very exciting. We worked
hard, but had fun.
Signals: How long have
you been involved with the SMRT?
In 1992, the SMRT held a Regional in Seattle,
Washington. The meeting was awesome! It was by far
the best healthcare seminar I had been to that
actually focused on MR education. All the other
societies were still mainly focused on diagnostic
x-ray and CT. At that time, the specialty of MRI for
these imaging societies was still the “other” box. I
joined the SMRT the very next year.
Signals: Why did you decide to
run for Policy Board?
Getting involved with the SMRT just seemed like the
logical thing to do to as a professional in the
field. I started by serving on committees. In 1996,
I took a position as a full-time research
technologist and moved to Maryland. I hosted an SMRT
Regional Meeting in Bethesda, Maryland in 1998. The
SMRT members who encouraged me the most to become
active in the SMRT were Anne Sawyer and Karol
Handrahan. Being involved has its merits as I was
elected to the Policy Board the year I organized the
Bethesda Regional. 1998 was a busy year. It was also
the year I attended my first SMRT Annual Meeting,
which was in Sydney, Australia. That was nerve
wracking as it was my first international talk,
during my first international trip, plus I had to
deliver the President’s Award proffered paper. Talk
about shaking in your boots! I got through it with
the help and support of the SMRT policy board
members, fellow attendees and Jennifer Olson, the
SMRT liaison from the ISMRM Central office. After my
term on the Policy Board, I went on to serve a three
year term on the Executive Board as the External
Liaison before taking a break to go back to school
and pick up a few degrees and play some soccer.
Signals: What made you agree
to run for President?
While in graduate school, I soon realized that the
unique experiences I encountered while working in
MRI and serving on the various committees and
positions for the SMRT gave me many advantages
academically. The complexity of the field of MRI and
the professional networking with other health care
societies helped me to excel in graduate school.
Being able to travel all over the world to attend
MRI meetings also instilled a better understanding
for different cultures. The diversity that I’ve been
able to encounter reminds me to be more open to
alternative methods to accomplish projects and
manage people. So when I finished my PhD and had
time to unwind a bit, I felt it was finally time to
quit turning down nominations for SMRT President so
I could give back a bit of what the SMRT has done
for me. Jennifer Olson, Maureen Ainslie, Julie Peay,
Anne Sawyer, Cindy Comeau, Julie Lowe, among many
others, had been talking to me for years to run for
President. When Charles Stanley called me in 2012, I
finally said yes. I’m glad I did as Jennifer Olson
got to see me take office as President before she
retired from the ISMRM central office. For people
who don’t know her, Jennifer has really been the
glue holding the SMRT together and helping us grow
all these years. Kerry Crockett is our new ISMRM
central office liaison, our “new glue” so to speak.
I’m confident the SMRT will flourish and move
forward with fresh ideas. I’m looking forward to
trying new things to help the SMRT’s primary mission
of promoting MR education around the world.
Signals: As President what do
you see as the most important goal for this next
I actually have several important goals, but one of
my main interests is in getting the SMRT more
well-known through better electronic information and
better marketing of our educational materials. I am
happy to see that the SMRT has truly become an
international organization, but the majority of MRI
technologists, radiographers and nurses do not know
we exist. We have put out a bylaws change to the
SMRT membership to change the Publications Committee
to become the Publications and Communications
Committee in order to enhance the electronic portion
of our communication with our members and to
increase the communication among all of our people
working with educational materials. The use of
electronic media greatly increases our ability to
reach people. The ideas we get from new members
around the world are how we are able to grow and
deliver quality MR education. The MR Technologist
Listserve is going through some technological
challenges this year. It is still a great way to
change ideas and ask questions of your peers, but
the SMRT is also trying to expand the use of
Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn for MRI
available through the SMRT webpage has been a hit
this past year and is growing. The SMRT volunteers
are working hard on new material that can be
accessed on-line with fast, on-line certificates for
continuing education (CE). The SMRT is also applying
for CE track and transfer capability to the ARRT in
the United States. Simplifying the CE compliance
process will be a great membership benefit that we
hope will eventually spread to other countries.
We are also
becoming more integrated in ISMRM activities such as
global outreach, committees and study groups. We
have sent technologists to Columbia, Turkey, and
Mexico. Dr. John Totman, a former policy board
member, who recently moved to China, has organized a
couple of meetings in Singapore that the SMRT is
helping to support. We are also looking at helping
technologists with education in more countries. We
are hoping to start SMRT chapters in all countries
where we have ISMRM Chapters. Technologists from
Brazil and Germany have also expressed interest in
having the SMRT help them with seminars and
We currently have
an official relationship with the MRI Safety Study
Group. We have been working hard to organize a joint
3-day safety workshop 5-7 September in Washington,
DC. This workshop brings together vendors,
regulators, clinicians, and researchers to present
and discuss safety issues in MRI. The SMRT has been
instrumental in getting this workshop off the
ground. The ISMRM and SMRT leadership are exploring
other MR study groups to see where it is mutually
beneficial for MR technologists to be more involved.
I love these ideas because it will give SMRT members
more opportunities to be actively involved.
Signals: What else would you
like to share about you or your goals?
One unusual goal I have is to get through serving on
the SMRT Executive Board without breaking any body
parts. This may sound funny, but for people who know
me well, this is a great goal. I’ve attended several
meetings with torn tendons or right after having
surgery. My last orthopedic surgery was in April of
2013 – three weeks before becoming President-elect.
I attended the 2011 meeting in Montreal with a torn
supraspinatus tendon while waiting for surgery. I
attended the 2008 SMRT/ISMRM Meeting in Toronto on
crutches just three weeks after surgery for severely
breaking my right ankle in a soccer game and in the
middle of my doctoral studies. I finished the PhD.
And yes, I still play soccer. And yes, I’m a bit
crazy. My point for sharing this is that you should
never let setbacks get in the way of your success
and pursuit of happiness. I often wear a flying pig
on my jacket and have flying pigs in my office to
remind me that since pigs can fly, anything is
possible. If you want to get involved in SMRT, do
it. Join a committee, run for policy board.
Sometimes you may have to run for the board more
than once. Don’t let a failed attempt stop you from
reaching your goals. Remember - pigs can fly!