Weak dollar, medical preeminence drive up international attendance at the RSNA

November 30, 2007

Professional attendance at the 2007 RSNA meeting saw a 3% increase compared with last year. Society officers credit a large contingent of international attendees for the rising figures.

Professional attendance at the 2007 RSNA meeting saw a 3% increase compared with last year. Society officers credit a large contingent of international attendees for the rising figures.

Preregistration of international professional attendees went up 6% at 7450 compared with the 7050 radiologists, residents, and fellows from abroad who turned up at Chicago's McCormick Place in 2006. RSNA officials confirmed that international attendance has been growing steadily since 2003. Total audited international attendance in 2006 was 8210, and the RSNA expects a higher number this year.

Financial analysts say a weak dollar is luring significant numbers of European visitors because of favorable exchange rates. Several RSNA attendees from Europe told Diagnostic Imaging they are in fact reaping the benefits of a stronger Euro.

A growing interest in U.S. medicine in general and in radiology in particular, not a holiday shopping spree, better explains the gradual increase in attendance from European radiologists, according to Dr. Leonard Berlin, radiology chair at Rush North Shore Medical Center in Skokie, IL, who spoke on behalf of the RSNA.

"The weak dollar is part of it. But Europeans are interested in American radiology," Berlin said.

Most people around the world consider U.S. medicine as highly progressive, according to Berlin. The country seems to be leading the way as far as medicine is concerned, and the size and clout of the RSNA meeting corroborate that perception. U.S. journals carry significant influence compared with peer-reviewed journals from other parts of the world, and European researchers want to publish their studies in them.

"I was at an editorial board meeting of Radiology where we discussed how the number of European submissions has increased considerably in recent years," Berlin said.

By Thursday, general unaudited attendance totaled 61,961, a 1% increase compared with the same day last year, when 61,289 people attended the meeting. Guest registration at 6078 went down 1% compared with the 6121 who attended in 2006. Exhibitor registration at 28,054 did not increase in percentage terms compared with the 28,052 who set up shop on the exhibit floor last year.