SIR 2018 Wrap Up: Spotlight on Advances in Image-guided Patient Care at SIR 2018

Dr. Brian FunakiThe Society of Interventional Radiology (SIR) rolled out the red carpet for the limitless potential of interventional radiology at the SIR Annual Scientific Meeting in Los Angeles, March 17–22, 2018. Cutting-edge research, clinical trials, devices and technology in minimally invasive patient care stepped into a starring role in the world’s most comprehensive IR education experience.

SIR 2018 addressed the educational needs of practicing interventional radiologists, IRs intraining, diagnostic radiologists, clinical associates and other physicians with a special interest in IR. The meeting offered a highly interactive introduction to IR for the increasing number of medical students who are considering the specialty as their focus.

On Sunday, March 18, Timothy P. Murphy, M.D., FSIR, the medical director of the Vascular Disease Research Center, interventional radiologist at Rhode Island Hospital, and diagnostic imaging professor at Brown Medical School, presented the 2018 Dr. Charles T. Dotter Lecture. He discussed the importance of innovation and scientific discovery on the advancement of the specialty and the need for fostering creativity, so IR can strive to be “still crazy after all these years.”

Murphy’s dedication to research and scientific discovery is evident in his work, serving on the steering and operations committees of three key interventional radiology clinical trials and helping to found five biomedical technology companies. From the first virtual reality interventional radiology training video to exciting abstract presentations, this year’s annual scientific meeting carried the theme of innovation and creativity throughout.

Educational highlights

With dedicated education for every career stage, there were many opportunities to learn from the most respected names in IR and to create and reinforce connections with colleagues around the world who offered unique perspectives on this rapidly changing specialty at SIR 2018.

The 2018 program featured a variety of interactive session formats to enable attendees to choose to learn in different ways. Physicians, scientists, clinical associates, residents and trainees in interventional radiology participated in plenary sessions, categorical courses and lectures on the latest hot topics and various areas of interest within the specialty, including a deep dive into the impact big data can have on a practice, dedicated symposia on private practice and the business of IR, and increased interactivity in hands-on workshops and technology demonstrations.

Timely new sessions at SIR 2018 included the categorical course “IR’s role on the trauma team.” With trauma care in the national spotlight this year, discussion focused on how IRs can ensure they are prepared to respond to situations where the speed, agility and power of image-guided treatments can save lives. In addition, the two-day “There’s no business like IR business: Surviving today’s practice [r]evolution” symposium covered varying IR practice types, practice management tips, and a health policy and economics boot camp.

SIR 2018 stage

And the award goes to…

SIR presented its highest honor, the Gold Medal, to three honorees in Los Angeles. The Gold Medal is awarded each year to those with distinguished and extraordinary service to the society and the specialty. SIR honored Karim Valji, M.D., FSIR, a professor of radiology and chief of interventional radiology at the University of Washington in Seattle. Valji is perhaps best known as the writer of three textbooks on interventional radiology, The Practice of Interventional Radiology, now in its third edition, is known to many radiology residents and interventional radiology fellows as the “Valji book.”

John A. Kaufman, M.D., M.S., FSIR, the inaugural chair of the Department of Interventional Radiology, director of the Dotter Interventional Institute and the Frederick S. Keller Professor of Interventional Radiology at the Oregon Health and Science University in Portland, also received Gold Medal recognition. Kaufman has authored or co-authored more than 200 publications, including five textbooks, and his research focus has been on vena cava filters and aortic stentgrafts.

In addition, the society honored Renate L. Soulen, M.D., FSIR, with this accolade. Soulen retired from her position as a professor of radiology at Wayne State University and director of magnetic resonance imaging at the Detroit Medical Center in 2005. Soulen was one of the founding fellows of SIR, one of only three women, and served as chair for the society’s third annual meeting in 1979.

SIR Foundation, the society’s research arm, presented Thomas McNamara, M.D., FSIR, with the SIR Foundation Leaders in Innovation Award. McNamara was recognized for his contributions to the investigation and treatment of peripheral vascular disease and thrombolysis as well as being a pioneer for interventional radiology private practice.

The foundation’s Dr. Gary J. Becker Young Investigator Award went to Ammar Sarwar, M.D., assistant professor of radiology at Harvard Medical School and an interventional radiologist at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston, for his research on the costs and outcomes of healthcare delivery for image-guided procedures. Mark Finkelstein, Francois Michaud, Ryan Kiefer, Ross Bittman, Elliot Stein and Avik Som received Dr. Constantin Cope Medical Student Research Awards. Tyler Sandow, M.D., Jamaal Benjamin, M.D., and Ahmed Gabr, M.D., received the Resident/Fellow Research Awards.

Networking with industry and colleagues

In the West Hall of the Los Angeles Convention Center, 114 exhibitors shared the latest IR innovations and technologies with meeting attendees. SIR physician moderators kicked off hands-on workshop sessions where attendees participated in product training with SIR corporate partners, and the daily corporate theater led by IR faculty continued to be a success.

More than 450 interventional radiologists and friends gathered at the Beverly Wilshire Hotel on Sunday, March 18 at SIR Foundation’s annual Gala for an inspiring and entertaining evening to raise funds for the advancement of IR through research. At the Gala, SIR Foundation presented this year’s Frederick S. Keller, M.D., Philanthropy Award posthumously to Constantin Cope, M.D., FSIR, recognizing his passion for innovation and invention through commitment to and support of SIR Foundation.

SIR’s social media outlets – Facebook, Twitter and Instagram – buzzed with excitement throughout SIR 2018. The #SIR18LA conversation covered scientific discoveries, inspiring lectures and celebrations of the specialty. Using #IAmIR, attendees shared their pride in the specialty, and its diversity across backgrounds and practice types. And with Match Day falling on Friday, March 16 just before the meeting’s kick off medical students took to Twitter to share their #Match2018 results with their new IR colleagues.

After a comprehensive meeting that covered a diverse range of topics, varying learning environments and access to leading thinkers in the specialty, members are already looking forward to SIR 2019, March 23-28 in Austin, Texas. Visit sirmeeting.org for more information.


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