AIUM CEO Glynis Harvey.
"The intent is very different compared to prior annual meetings," said Glynis Harvey, AIUM's CEO. "We're really starting to think out of the box as we go into this post-COVID space, knowing that meetings are not what they used to be."
The conference, called UltraCon, will have all the scientific presentations and discussion panels just as the AIUM annual meeting has had in previous years. However, Harvey and AIUM President Dr. Levon Nazarian of Penn Medicine in Philadelphia said this year will feature industry leaders who will help researchers translate their findings into clinical practice; an educational track dedicated to the future of ultrasound; and investigators who will discuss emerging trends in the field.
This year, the AIUM has reached out to community leaders for topical ideas and will address several of them at the conference, including clinical scenarios and the future of ultrasound education and training, Harvey said.
"We're making sure that we're really bringing the ultrasound community together in a much broader way," Harvey said.
Presence of industry
Attendees can expect to interact with industry experts on topics such as acquiring patents, best practices, and pitching proposals through a variety of events taking place at the meeting.
A "Shark Tank"-style event will be held Tuesday, March 28 that will focus on how ultrasound researchers can better market their products. Panel discussions with legal and venture capital experts will also be held, and the Sonoslam competition will be held Saturday, March 25.
Nazarian said the increased presence of industry at UltraCon will help ultrasound continue to innovate.
"It's not business for the sake of business, but understanding that if we want to move the field forward, we need to have all the stakeholders engaged," he added.
Less hocus, more POCUS
AIUM President Dr. Levon Nazarian.
Point-of-care ultrasound (POCUS) continues to grow in popularity, with researchers from around the world presenting studies showing its clinical efficacy, and imaging leaders discussing the technology's potential.
Presentations at the AIUM meeting will focus on quality improvements in patient care POCUS offers, as well as its feasibility. Nazarian said the AIUM wants to make sure it is at the forefront of the proper use of POCUS, and he and Harvey noted that while POCUS has ushered in a widespread trend for affordable ultrasound tools, all ultrasound is point-of-care.
"Every time I'm scanning a patient, I'm at the point of care for that patient," Nazarian said.
Other presentations will discuss findings related to ultrasound education, artificial intelligence (AI) in ultrasound, and improvements in contrast-enhanced ultrasound and elastography.
Awards and honors
At UltraCon, the AIUM will also recognize its 2023 class of national award recipients, consisting of doctors, researchers, sonographers, and educators. The awards recognize leadership, innovation, and contribution to medical ultrasound.
The AIUM will also posthumously honor leaders and pioneers in the ultrasonography field by naming them to its Memorial Hall of Fame. These include Dr. Peter Arger, Dr. Beryl Benacerraf, and Dr. Marvin Ziskin.
"The contributions these individuals have made to medical ultrasound, and their focus on patient safety, make them exceptional recipients of AIUM's annual awards," Nazarian said.
So, what do Harvey and Nazarian want people to take away from this year's meeting?
"I want them to have fun," Nazarian said, adding that the AIUM wants to make UltraCon an event people can be excited to go to and interact and network with other professionals. "We want to have people engaged with what's going on. We're hoping this will be a springboard for things to come."
"[UltraCon] is where all the researchers, scientists, engineers, industry leaders, clinicians, and sonographers have the opportunity for growth," she said. "Helping to foster connections with constituents is really important."
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