Recently I went to the ACR Education Center in Reston, Va., to take a course on Breast MR. I wanted to enhance my skills in Breast MR and satisfy my curiosity about the ACR Education Center. I also wanted to participate in a course described on the brochure as “the best course I have ever attended in my entire professional career.”
The list of courses at the Education Center includes broad-specialty courses covering neuroradiology, PET/CT, coronary CTA, body and pelvic MR, and so on. The faculty teachers for the courses are leaders in their respective fields. The Education Center provides a computer workstation for each participant in the course.
I embarked on my journey after work on Monday evening and flew to Washington Reagan airport, rented a car and drove to the hotel near the Education Center. I grew up in Northern Virginia and I enjoy returning to the area. It was a pleasure to take the George Washington Parkway late at night, and then drive through McLean, Va., to the entrance to the Dulles Access Road, heading to Reston.
The course started Tuesday morning with registration and breakfast. I got my name tag and workstation assignment, joining the other course participants in a room filled with computer screens. The course had five lectures spread across two days. The majority of the time was used to review 100 cases and report the findings on the ACR Case Engine. Feedback came from the Case Engine as I worked through the case list. Representatives of the three Breast MR CAD vendors were available to help with CAD questions. Four faculty members answered questions about the case material.
The two days went rapidly while the number of cases reviewed increased. I reached 100 at about 3 p.m. on the second day. Then I could relax and ask questions. The CAD representative for the software I use in my practice spent time showing me the nuances of the program, which I immediately put to use when I returned to work on Thursday. My colleague created her hanging protocol for Breast MR using the information I learned from the CAD representative. We also checked our protocols against the protocols for Breast MR provided at the course. I fine tuned my Breast MR reports by comparing my report to the samples provided. I feel more comfortable reading Breast MR than I did prior to the course.
I had to laugh though. I felt like I was working. The room was dark, each radiologist had a workstation, and we went to work. This course is designed to maximize the benefit and minimize the amount of time needed to obtain the benefits. An evening social the first day lightened the sensation somewhat. It provided fuel for another hour of case review before I returned to my hotel.
I am glad I finally went to the Education Center. I looked at the course offerings for several years, thinking they were interesting, but did not enroll. My interest in Breast MR and my schedule coincided with the Breast MR course in August. The time was right.