Indian radiology meeting scores a hit with first-time attendee: ‘a small-scale RSNA’

February 3, 2010

Despite obtaining my basic radiology residency training in New Delhi, I had never attended any of the Indian radiology meetings. When I was invited as a speaker, I was keen on using this opportunity to experience radiology in the Indian setting.

The Indian Radiology and Imaging Association (IRIA) annual meeting this year was held in Ahmedabad, Jan. 23-26, 2010.

Despite obtaining my basic radiology residency training in New Delhi, I had never attended any of the Indian radiology meetings. When I was invited as a speaker, I was keen on using this opportunity to experience radiology in the Indian setting.

Right from the pick up at the airport, there was commendable coordination between the organizers and the management team. My overall impression was that there were excellent hospitality arrangements for both national and international speakers.

The conference venue itself was huge and adequate seating arrangements had been made in the multiple parallel session rooms that were used for didactic lectures and scientific presentations. I was in fact reminded of the RSNA and ARRS annual meetings and was thinking that this meeting looks like a small scale RSNA. I was told that there were around 5,000 participants, which included radiologists, trainees and exhibitors. The global recession certainly did not seem to impact the enthusiasm of the physicians and the exhibitors. The scientific sessions and didactic lectures were structured mainly by organ system and were well spread over the four days to maintain the interest of the audience.

While radiology in India is not practiced as subspecialties like in the US, there are certain disciplines, such as neuroradiology and interventional radiology, where physicians devote their majority time, especially in large practices. The lack of significant subspecialization meant that attendees are primarily general radiologists and benefit from subspecialty lectures delivered by experts in the field.

The scientific program was accessible online from one of the internet stations onsite or on one’s personal laptop through the wireless network. Sure, there were network issues from time to time and in certain areas, but the overall quality of the connectivity was excellent.

Adequate time was allocated to the question session at the end of each topic and quite often the residents and others in the audience were keen on active interactions with the speakers.  There were also multiple scientific and educational posters for people who were interested in learning at their pace and on their time.

 Cross sectional imaging with CT and MRI seemed to form the thrust of most discussions, and there was debate about incorporation of latest technological advancements into clinical practice. Specifically, diffusion-weighted MR imaging and MR spectroscopy seemed to be hot topics of discussion, at least in my forte of neuroradiology.

Food arrangements were made onsite and consisted of a princely spread of various Gujarati items, unique to the region. After an exhausting session of gray matter activity, one could relax in the open-air area allocated for food and refreshments.

Besides the scientific component of the program, there were also technical exhibits to visit where much of the commercial business of radiological equipment was conducted.

There was also a delightful cultural evening of dance and drama with all the speakers provided local traditional attire by the organizers.

By the time I left Ahmedabad, one thing was sure; I would come back again. I had barely reached my airport, but I was already making plans on visiting the next annual meet to be held in 2011 in New Delhi.

Ashok Srinivasan, MD, is an assistant professor in the neuroradiology division, radiology department, of the University of Michigan Health System.