Magnetic resonance society expands educational scope

August 26, 2008

ISMRM initiatives introduced at annual meeting emphasize international aspects and online access Radiologists can anticipate access to more web-based educational programming from the International Society for Magnetic Resonance in Medicine and a more intense international flavor in the society's future work.

 

ISMRM initiatives introduced at annual meeting emphasize international aspects and online access Radiologists can anticipate access to more web-based educational programming from the International Society for Magnetic Resonance in Medicine and a more intense international flavor in the society's future work.

Education and global outreach are key elements of the ISMRM's three-year strategic plan, said society president Jeff Duerk, Ph.D., in an interview before the 2008 meeting held in Toronto.

Several new initiatives are growing out of the first strategic plan for the society's annual meeting itself, according to Duerk, director of the Case Western Reserve University Center for Imaging Research in Cleveland, Ohio. "We've never done that before, though our annual meeting is the biggest and most visible thing we do," he said. At the 2004 meeting in Japan, the ISMRM captured audio recordings of scientific presentations made in two rooms of the Kyoto convention center. The recordings were synchronized with the presenter's PowerPoint slide presentations and posted on the ISMRM website.

This year, every educational session and scientific presentation will be captured, archived, and made available online to members. Some presentations will be modified to allow radiologists to earn continuing medical education credits by studying the material. Even researchers who present traditional posters have been invited to transmit digital versions to the society for posting on the site, Duerk said.

The ISMRM board of trustees is also emphasizing the international dimension of its charter. Historically, the society has been keen to move its annual meeting around the world so members everywhere have an opportunity to attend. Past assemblies have been held in Vancouver, Sydney, Glasgow, Honolulu, and Berlin, in addition to continental U.S. venues.

Now, the society is designing global outreach programs for Mexico, South America, Northern Africa, the Slavic nations, the People's Republic of China, India, and other Asian countries. ISMRM chapters will be established in Israel, Romania, China, and several other countries to join long-standing chapters in Germany and the U.K.

The outreach effort presents an opportunity to build low-cost MRI systems for the world's economically less developed regions and to cultivate diagnostic protocols for the unique diseases of those regions. Most important, the outreach effort is designed to assure that biomedical research is not geographically constrained, Duerk said. Attracting the best minds from around the world is an ISMRM priority.

"Today's under-represented areas may be the source for the brightest scientists of the future," he said. "We would like to assure that they have connections with the ISMRM."

-By James Brice