Erin Simon Schwartz MD Reflects on the Future of Applied Radiology and the Field It Serves


Applied Radiology Publisher Kieran Anderson recently spoke with Editor-in-Chief Erin Simon Schwartz, MD, FACR, the new Chief of the Division of Neuroradiology at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP), and an Associate Professor of Radiology at the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania. This article is based on their conversation.


Erin Simon Schwartz, MD, FACR, looks at her role as Editor-in-Chief of Applied Radiology as a “labor of love” that energizes her to take the 50-year-old journal to the next level of excellence. “I love Applied Radiology. I recently heard someone say, ‘When you add something to your plate that energizes you, it doesn't feel like additional work.’ That's what it feels like for me with Applied Radiology,” said Dr. Schwartz, who recently completed her first full year as the journal’s third Editor-in-Chief.

Advancing radiology during the COVID-19 pandemic

Dr Schwartz says she’s especially proud of the Applied Radiology team’s ability to develop timely, relevant content for radiologists and other professionals in medical imaging. She cites in particular the journal’s effort to deliver content related to the COVID-19 pandemic’s impact on radiology. Early in the outbreak, the need for information about the disease motivated Dr Schwartz and the AR Editorial Board to swiftly provide radiologists with the content they needed to recognize the imaging manifestations of COVID-19 and to make timely diagnoses.

“Our focus is on the practical imaging and management components, so we wanted to get that word out there … because people have had all these new challenges,” said Dr Schwartz.  Early in the pandemic, many radiology practices experienced low patient volumes, with cancellation of “elective” imaging and procedures. But as they reopened for outpatient procedures, radiologists were challenged with safely managing patient and procedure workflows. Dr Schwartz and the AR team helped to establish a series of webinars designed to help radiologists keep themselves, their staff and patients, and even their families safe from COVID-19.

“Across the board, our team and staff have done an amazing job of getting out the content that radiology imaging professionals need in an impressively timely fashion,” she said. “Our authors who submit manuscripts did an incredible job of writing really terrific submissions in a short period of time, so we could get them in press right away.”

RSNA 2020 a Virtual Success Amid COVID-19

Despite the range of challenges COVID-19 imposed on radiology, Dr Schwartz believes the Radiological Society of North America’s (RSNA) Annual Scientific Meeting and Exhibition barely missed a beat, thanks to technology’s ability to take virtually the entire meeting online. She and other members of the Applied Radiology team were still able to conduct interviews with industry thought leaders, innovative vendors, and other experts to discuss the future of radiology.

“Fortunately, technology allows folks to have these interactions and discussions. You can still have a vibrant question-and-answer discussion after a presentation. Or you can go to a virtual booth and have a great conversation with a vendor about a new product,” she said.  “There’s value to having a virtual component in a hybrid-type meeting. There are so many advantages to being together, but there are also advantages to people being able to do it from home,” she added, citing travel-related cost savings and opportunities for virtual learning and networking.  Dr Schwartz said she appreciated the on-demand sessions, which gave physicians like herself, as well as technologists, the opportunity to earn continuing education credits at both the RSNA and Applied Radiology websites. “That's certainly where Applied Radiology can help, because we have so many on-demand CMEs and SA-CMEs on our website,” she said.

The 2019 RSNA meeting – her first as editor-in-chief – helped her realize Applied Radiology’s meaning to the medical imaging field. “So many people tell me that of all the periodicals that wind up in their physical or digital mailbox, Applied Radiology is the one they turn to time and time again for useable content that’s really practical, that could help them do their jobs better,” she said.

As for the future of Applied Radiology, which celebrates its 50th year of publication this year, Dr Schwartz is expanding the journal’s global outreach as well as outreach to radiology administrators and technologists. “We can look at radiology together and improve it all. Because that rising tide is going to lift all our boats, and make all of us do our jobs better. Which is better for all of our patients and that’s our ultimate goal,” said Dr Schwartz, who added that the journal and its website will soon be debuting a new look and design for the next 50 years while also expanding its offerings and continuing to feature radiological case reports.

“We’re still one of the few publications that gratefully accepts interesting cases. We’re always looking for new cases, be it on a clinical topic, workflow, communication, or quality improvement, where we can help each other. So stay tuned for that during our 50th year and beyond.”

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Erin Simon Schwartz MD Reflects on the Future of Applied Radiology and the Field It Serves.  Appl Radiol. 

By McKenna Bryant| January 21, 2021

About the Author

McKenna Bryant

McKenna Bryant

McKenna Bryant is a freelance healthcare writer based in Nashotah, WI.

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