Past President's Letter

ISR President’s column

August 2016 Colleagues:

ICR 2016 in Buenos Aires September 21-24 is approaching!  Prior to that meeting I want to update you on the activities of the ISR since our last ex-com and international assembly meeting in Vienna in March and remind you of activities at ICR 2016.

In Buenos Aires we will honor our Beclere medalists Drs. Hassen Gharbi and Helmut Diefenthal.  The Beclere lecture will be given by Dr. Richard Baron.  The co- Fuchs Lecturers are Drs. Carlos Bruguera and Richard Wahl.
We will also elect new officers and new ex-com members.  The nominee for President-Elect for 2016-2018 is Luis Donoso.  The nominee for Secretary-General for 2016-2020 is Bibb Allen.  Seven national societies are seeking election to the five open seats on the executive committee.

The ISR remains engaged with the World Health Organization (WHO) and the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).  My thanks to the member organizations, including ACR, ESR, and RSNA that contributed content to the IAEA publication to assist developing areas in setting up a radiology facility.  Dr. Lau, the chair of our International Commission on Radiological Quality and Safety, and I met with representatives from the IAEA in Vienna in March.  We emphasized the key topics for radiology’s interactions with these organizations including guidelines, justification, and decision support.  During our meetings with IAEA sections on Radiation Safety and Monitoring, Radiation Protection of Patients, Dosimetry and Medical Physics, Nuclear Medicine and Diagnostic Imaging we confirmed ISR’s participation in the upcoming technical meetings on justification and patient dose monitoring.  In addition, the ISR participated in the IAEA Technical Meeting on Patient Dose Monitoring held in early June in Vienna.

During our March meetings with WHO in Vienna we discussed the ongoing issue of establishing a permanent radiologist position.  Funding for this position remains insufficient.  We presented WHO with several options including a short term (1-2 weeks) internship with paid travel expenses to develop materials to present to member states in support of funding for the permanent position and the alternative option of advocacy with member states to encourage them to lobby for the radiologist position with WHO leadership. I encourage any of our readers with connections to the ministries of health in their countries to raise awareness of this issue.  During our meetings with both WHO and IAEA we updated them on our proposed new ISRQSA structure for implementation of  our quality and safety initiatives.  This initiative is discussed below.  In May, 2016 the ISR supported a non-governmental organization (NGO) side event led by the Union for International Cancer Control at the 69th World Health Assembly. 

Dr. Lau, along with the officers and the executive committee, are reorganizing the ISR’s quality and safety initiatives as mentioned above.   The reorganization will include a name change to the International Society of Radiology Quality and Safety Alliance (ISRQSA) to better reflect the focus of the ISR’s collaborative efforts. The ISRQSA will enable the ISR to speak with a unified voice on global issues affecting radiologic quality and safety.  Individual members of the ISRQSA will be representatives of ISR member organizations. 

Under Dr. Lau’s leadership the ISR convened a meeting of the “safe” campaigns during ECR 2016 with worldwide participation.  Our goal was to review current activities and discuss collaborative opportunities between the campaigns and other bodies including the WHO, IAEA, the International Society of Radiographers and Radiological Technologists, and the International Commission on Radiological Protection among others.  A small working group from this “safe” campaigns meeting will be developing a matrix for safe campaigns to highlight best practices and to avoid duplication for countries and regions considering developing a “safe” campaign. Dr. Lau has also organized two radiation safety and “safe” campaign educational sessions at ICR 2016.  

Dr. Lau has edited our Quality and Safety News in a new biannual format with links to content from ISR member organizations and other stakeholders.  Our latest edition was published in July.  Contributions to these publications and assistance with dissemination to reach the largest audience are requested.

Dr. Eric Stern, chair of our International Commission on Radiological Education (ICRE), has been working on a new GO ED module on the justification of medical imaging which he will preview at our ex com meeting and at the International Assembly next month.  The module will be aligned with the Bonn Call for Action but will include other links and will be very comprehensive.  Our goal here is to expand and emphasize the ISR’s role as a convener of content rather than a creator of content.  Dr. Stern also continues his work on the TB 2.0 module.  World TB day was held in March with GO ED contributions.  Dr. Stern will also attend the WHO meeting on tuberculosis in late September.

The WHO has renewed the ISR’s non-governmental organization (NGO) status for three years until 2018.  NGO status with WHO is important for all of radiology.  It is these limited number of international NGO organizations with which the WHO enters into official relationships. 

The ISR’s financial position remains favorable and stable.  Challenges, however, remain for the ISR.  There is work to be done.  The most pressing challenge is finding a suitable site for ICR 2018.   Originally we agreed to have the Turkish Society host ICR 2018; however, because of recent events in Turkey and because of concerns expressed by ISR member organizations and potential speakers, the ISR executive committee has elected to change venues and is now soliciting alternative sites for ICR 2018.  An additional issue for the ISR is the permanent radiologist position.  We continue to seek support from United Nations member states, radiology organizations and others for this position at WHO.  To date we have not met with success. 

As I conclude my two years as ISR president, I thank all of the ISR member organizations, ex com members, and ISR officers for their support. I also thank our non-voting ex com members Lawrence Lau Eric Stern, and Roberto Pozzi-Mucelli for all of their work on quality, safety, and education.  Dr Pozzi-Mucelli has been our ISR representative for the upcoming ICR program and has done an excellent job.  I thank the ACR and the ESR for their executive administrative support.  Pamela Mechler (ACR) and Monika Hierath (ESR) are excellent in their ISR administrative roles.  We are fortunate to have them.

My focus over these two years has been to position the ISR as the coordinator and facilitator of worldwide radiology endeavors between member organizations and with the United Nations.  The ISR should not compete with its member organizations.  Radiology is global and we must speak with one worldwide voice.  Relative to many other radiology organizations the ISR is small; however, it is our recognition by the UN as an NGO that makes the ISR a valuable spokesperson for our specialty, our international members, and our patients. 

I look forward to seeing all of you in Buenos Aires in two weeks.

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