International experts, cutting-edgetechnology impress RSNA newbie

February 1, 2009

As an experienced journalist but a neophyte to radiology, I went to Chicago with a healthy mixture of curiosity and trepidation. I had prepared for the RSNA sessions I was assigned to cover but wondered if the megatechnical presentations would be over my head.

As an experienced journalist but a neophyte to radiology, I went to Chicago with a healthy mixture of curiosity and trepidation. I had prepared for the RSNA sessions I was assigned to cover but wondered if the megatechnical presentations would be over my head.

While many of the sessions proved daunting, and the material was dense and sometimes nearly impenetrable, I was somehow able to discern enough to write multiple daily reports that were at least accurate, if not full of deep insights. But I found it amazingly stimulating and, of course, incredibly informative, to hear such accomplished scientists discuss projects into which they had obviously invested much time, energy, and zeal.

I had covered scientific presentations before and interviewed experts from many fields, but the sheer number of international experts, the cutting-edge technology, and the breadth of the scientific material were truly impressive.

Besides letting me speak with esteemed radiologists of every stripe, the conference allowed me to finally meet my far-flung colleagues from the U.K., Washington, DC, and Wisconsin, who were all gracious and helpful in sharing their expertise about all things radiological.

The Windy City was frigid but very cosmopolitan, and Chicago was still on an "Obama high." Evening receptions, such as the one held at the Art Institute of Chicago, were fun and lavish: They featured fine food and libations, live music, a distinguished, well-dressed crowd, all set in gorgeous venues festooned for the holidays.

I returned to San Francisco tired but filled with newfound excitement and enthusiasm to write about radiology's dynamic role in healthcare.