Interview: Prof. Lorenzo Derchi, chair of the ESR Publications Committee


ESR Office: What is the main purpose of the ESR Publications Committee and how does it operate?
Lorenzo Derchi: The aim of the ESR Publications Committee is to coordinate the society’s many publications and to advance them. Our two journals, European Radiology and Insights into Imaging, as well as our two electronic databases EURORAD and EPOS, are the ESR’s most important scientific endeavours. The two newsletters, ESR@Work and ESR News, are the means through which the society keeps in touch with all its institutional and individual members.

Behind the success of these initiatives is the dedication of a large number of people. The first are the Editors-in-Chief of each publication. Their expertise in relating with the submitting authors, guiding the groups of section editors and scientific reviewers, and choosing the right directions for continuous increase of the standing of their journals are to be underlined. Then, all members of the Scientific Publications Department at the ESR office in Vienna have to be remembered. Their work is essential as they follow each submitted manuscript through the editorial process, ensure all deadlines are met to keep every issue on time, and maintain the house style that makes all ESR publications recognisable among all other publications.

Prof. Lorenzo Derchi, chair of the ESR Publications Committee

Prof. Lorenzo Derchi, chair of the ESR Publications Committee

ESR: What are the main issues currently on the committee’s agenda, and how are they being tackled? What new issues or projects do you think the Publications Committee will be dealing with in the coming years?
LD: During 2014, together with Springer, we decided to start a new online-first textbook series based on the ESR European Training Curriculum for Radiology, which should help candidates preparing to take the European Diploma of Radiology. The books are in fact intended to be written by trainees under the supervision of a senior volume editor. There will be eleven volumes and all contributions will be invited and planned simultaneously, with a target completion date in late 2016 or early 2017. The Series Editor of the whole initiative will be Prof. Birgit Ertl-Wagner, from Munich. ESR members will have free access to the books through SpringerLink, via the ESR MyUserArea.

Furthermore, there have been discussions on how to increase the visibility and the usefulness of the ESR blog for our Members. A variety of posts are published on the ESR blog: news about the society and our congress, the ECR; recorded lectures from the ECR; and interviews like this one. However, the most frequently read posts, which attract he most comments, are the clinical cases of Cáceres’ Corner and of Dr. Pepe’s Diploma Casebook. Dr. José Cáceres is doing great work there. He has a high number of loyal followers who reply with comments and discussions to all his posts. It is a lot of work: he answers all comments and leads readers to the correct diagnosis, which is then revealed a few days later. His (and Dr. Pepe’s) cases have become a “must read” for many. I regularly go there to have a look, have fun and learn a lot about thoracic radiology.

We are planning to post about debatable professional topics, asking for comments from readers and opening discussions with them. We have been working on this issue since March 2014 and have already prepared a series of posts which, hopefully, will be of interest to our readers and will raise some debate. What we hope for is to build up a digital community which, hopefully, will become an analogue one meeting in Vienna each year at ECR to discuss face-to-face.

ESR: Which other ESR committees or subcommittees have you been part of and how did you initially become involved?
LD: I have been working with the European Society of Urogenital Radiology for a long time. I have taken part in many ESR leadership meetings on behalf of that society and have been in charge of the collection of urogenital cases for the former ESR Self-Assessment Subcommittee and the European Diploma in Radiology. Furthermore, in 2008, together with Prof. Michel Claudon, I took on the task of launching the ESR Working Group on Ultrasound. Then, four years ago, I was elected Chairperson of the ESR Communications and External Affairs Committee (then known as the Communication and International Relations Committee) and, after three years in that position, I was elected again, this time as Chair of the Publications Committee.

ESR: What motivates you to devote your time to the ESR and how has being involved affected you personally and professionally?
LD: Within the ESR, you work in an environment surrounded by the best European radiologists, backed by a very efficient office. You are always challenged to do your best and deliver what is requested of you. It is an exciting ambience. It provides you with an international view on our profession, broadening your knowledge and perspectives. You can understand that problems are everywhere and learn from others how to deal with them and, hopefully, find solutions.

There are three things I like most. The first is the work done within the ESR Patients Advisory Group. Our work as physicians is dedicated to patients; what I learned there is that the relationship between radiologist and patient is a bi-directional connection from which each radiologist has something to give and something to receive. The second is the preparation of questions and cases for the European Diploma in Radiology. It is not an easy job. Each question has to be related to the ESR Training Curriculum; it has to be of the difficulty level appropriate for a young radiologist at the end of their residency; all together, the questions have to cover the whole field of radiology. I think I have learned a lot doing this work and, hopefully, have become a better teacher. The third is the above-mentioned project on the ESR blog. I really hope it will be able to raise discussions among our members. Talking together (or, in this case, writing) is the first step in getting to know each other, to understand our problems and to start cooperating. Last, but not least, I have to say that I have got to know a lot of interesting people within the society and made many new friends.

ESR: Do you have any advice for younger radiologists who might be interested in getting involved with the ESR at committee level?
LD: There is not a recipe suitable to all. I started working in a subspecialty society; others may be primarily involved with their national society or with the ESR Radiology Trainees Forum. The key point, however, is networking with colleagues. This can be in terms of scientific publications (multicentre studies are often more important than single-centre ones), discussions on professional issues or, simply, enjoying moments of fun during the social events at our meetings. Getting to know each other is the first step; then comes cooperation on common issues and then friendship.

The ESR has a group of younger full members, called the Leadership Institute, who are regularly asked to provide opinions and feedback on new projects or papers. These members have the chance to interact directly with the society and to get to know the ESR officers. But it is not a “free bonus”; you need to be active to remain in the list, to answer requests and to deliver what is expected. The concept and eligibility criteria of the Leadership Institute are currently under review, and new application should be opened soon.

ESR: In your opinion, what is the key ingredient to a long and successful career in radiology?
LD: It is not an easy question and, again, there is not a recipe suitable to all. Also, the word “successful” needs some clarification. I think to be successful means, first of all, to enjoy what you are doing: then “passion” is the first ingredient. “Dedication” comes second: if I do not continue my medical education after completing my training and do not spend time studying every day, even after the long hours reading at the workstation, I cannot become a good radiologist. “Respect” is the third one: my patients rely on me and I have to deliver them the best possible care. It may be difficult sometimes, but it must be always remembered that there is a person behind our images. Then “dialogue”, which is probably the most important of all ingredients: talking with referring physicians and talking with patients. Discussions with clinical colleagues are quite helpful, especially in difficult cases when giving opinions, taking suggestions, correlating our findings with the clinical and laboratory findings may be crucial to reaching the correct diagnosis. Talking with patients may be clinically important too, since the meaning of a radiologic sign may differ in different clinical situations. This is not all, however. If we talk and interact with patients, they will understand more fully and will appreciate the crucial role of radiology, and of radiologists, in their diagnosis and treatment.

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    Jan 2015
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