ECR 2015 will place emphasis on clear programme structure and youth initiatives, says congress president
Sessions will look different at ECR 2015, to help participants make the most of the scientific and educational programme. ECR Today spoke with Professor Bernd Hamm from Berlin, Germany, who will preside over the congress next year, to find out what the biggest radiological meeting in Europe and the most modern one worldwide will look like in 2015.
ESR Office: What will be the main highlights of ECR 2015’s teaching programme?
Bernd Hamm: One of the major changes will be a restructuring of the session categories. Over the last few years, we kept adding new types of sessions, making it difficult for participants to find the sessions they are interested in and compile an efficient individual schedule. Apart from the Refresher Courses, which have become well established and accepted, we now offer most teaching courses under the heading of E³ – European Excellence in Education. These courses are now structured according to the different levels defined by the European Training Curriculum for Radiology. The E³ programme consists of the following five branches, which reflect the different levels of education in radiology, as well as the different stages of an individual’s professional career: Rising Stars, European Diploma Prep Sessions, The Beauty of Basic Knowledge, ECR Academies, and ECR Master Classes.
The Rising Stars programme is directed at medical students with an interest in radiology, residents, and radiographers in training. The European Diploma Prep Sessions aim to provide preparatory sessions for future European Diploma in Radiology (EDiR) candidates. The content of the programme reflects level I and II of the European Training Curriculum. These courses are held in close cooperation with the European Board of Radiology (EBR). The Beauty of Basic Knowledge programme focuses on knowledge essential to the daily practice of radiology and is best suited to residents and board-certified radiologists. The ECR Academies consist of a series of sessions relevant to a particular area of radiology, and may be suited to general radiologists and radiologists with a subspecialisation. The content of ECR Academies mostly corresponds to level III of the European Training Curriculum. The ECR Master Classes are designed for participants and subspecialists seeking cutting-edge information in specific field of interest. During the ECR, one ECR Master Class is offered for each subspecialty in radiology (level III and beyond). This new structure of a major part of the teaching courses offered at the ECR results from intense exchange and excellent cooperation between the Congress Programme Planning Committee members.
ESR: What will the ECR Academies focus on?
BH: The ECR Academies in 2015 will focus on the new hot issues, such as hybrid imaging, image-guided interventions in oncology, and modern imaging of the GI tract. In addition, there will be sessions covering genitourinary radiology and our popular interactive teaching sessions focusing on different aspects of radiology.
ESR: With initiatives like the Rising Stars programme and the European Diploma in Radiology (EDiR), medical students and young radiologists find appropriate platforms for the exchange of knowledge. Will ECR 2015 continue these initiatives?
BH: The ESR fully supports the Rising Stars programme and the Invest in the Youth initiative. Thanks to these programmes, and to the generally very modern orientation of the ECR, the average age of delegates is around 41.5 years, suggesting the congress is young and dynamic. In 2015, we will go even further, dedicating the last day of the congress to the Rising Stars. This means that every medical student can attend the ECR free of charge on that day.
ESR: Many joint sessions with various organisations were held at ECR 2014. Will there be similar collaboration at ECR 2015?
BH: Yes, there will be joint sessions with the European Respiratory Society (ERS), the European Society for Magnetic Resonance in Medicine and Biology (ESMRMB), the European Society for Radiotherapy and Oncology (ESTRO), the European Organisation for Research and Treatment of Cancer (EORTC), and the
European Federation of Societies for Ultrasound in Medicine and Biology (EFSUMB). The joint course of the ESR and the Radiological Society of North America (RSNA) on emergency radiology will also be repeated. Furthermore, several EuroSafe Imaging sessions are planned on topics including clinical decision support, audit and dose-tracking, as well as two sessions of the ESR Patient Advisory Group for Medical Imaging (PAGMI).
ESR: German radiologists always attend the ECR in very high numbers. Do you think your presidency will mean even larger numbers of German delegates next year?
BH: Yes, the ECR is very popular among German radiologists. Of course, I hope that even more radiologists from my home country will be attracted by my presidency and come to Vienna to attend the ECR. Moreover, we plan to further promote the ECR in countries from which interested groups of radiologists have already attended earlier meetings, in order to attract even more colleagues. These mainly include Arab and Asian countries.
It is also worth mentioning that each participant, with the fee he or she pays, contributes to our grant programme, which promotes the participation of young radiologists worldwide, particularly from Eastern Europe, by providing free congress participation and free accommodation for active contributors.
ESR: Germany, along with Korea and Turkey, will be invited to take part in the ‘ESR meets’ programme. What will the sessions focus on?
BH: Germany will offer a session entitled ‘Tradition goes digital: getting ready for the future’, and the Korean delegation will focus on CT in lung cancer screening and COPD evaluation. The Turkish delegation will give presentations on percutaneous treatment of liver hydatid cysts, fMRI of the brain and advanced hepatopancreaticobiliary imaging. These sessions are not mere scientific sessions; they are also aimed at promoting exchange among radiologists from these countries, who are encouraged to present wider aspects of their home countries (politics, organisation of radiology and other interesting aspects) in short interludes. I think that this is what makes the ‘ESR meets’ sessions particularly interesting.
ESR: What innovations can we expect for 2015?
BH: One of the major achievements is the restructuring of the session formats – as mentioned above. Another issue is that, based on the many scientific papers ranked as ‘very good’, we will provide even more slots for scientific sessions. The ESR continues to work on protecting the intellectual property rights of speakers, an issue of top priority in the digital era. The speakers at ECR 2015 will be offered to have their slides protected by an ECR watermark to avoid copyright infringements.
Some scientific sessions will start with a short introductory lecture by a keynote speaker. Moreover, in all scientific sessions, we will use an online voting system to identify and award the best paper directly at the end of the session. Finally, we want to launch a scientifically oriented pilot project, entitled ‘Late-breaking Clinical Trials’, which will be a platform for presenting the most recent prospective studies and results of multicentre trials on hot topics. To make these sessions really up to date, there will be a special, very late deadline for submissions (Dec. 15, 2014).
A major focus is to promote scientific and educational sessions for radiographers. We are pleased that the number of radiographers attending the ECR has continually increased over the years.
On most days, the ECR is very crowded. We are therefore looking for solutions to overcome this problem by providing some dedicated quiet zones, where one can meet friends and colleagues to talk in a more peaceful environment.
As the interests of congress participants appear to change very quickly, we have conducted a survey among this year’s delegates to find out about their ideas and interests, and to take these into account in our planning for ECR 2015.
Another focus is ECR Live, a tool that enables radiologists to follow most sessions from anywhere in the world, and allows delegates to share their impressions of the congress in real time. Thanks to ECR On Demand, our new video platform which was launched last year, these sessions will even be available to watch online long after the congress is over.
ESR: You already presided over the German Congress of Radiology and the Joint Congress of the German and Austrian Societies of Radiology (with Prof. Walter Hruby). How useful do you think these experiences will be for the ECR?
BH: This was indeed a very instructive and interesting experience. I very much enjoyed my cooperation with Walter Hruby, who was always constructive and helpful. Of course, a president always tries to organise ‘the best’ congress ever. However, what is just as important is that the audience likes what we do. This means that a certain amount of level-headedness is also helpful. With the excellent support I get from the very dedicated
members of the Programme Planning Committee and the many other helping hands, I am very optimistic.