ECR 2003 closes with record attendance and new plans for 2004

VIENNA - Rising attendance and great expectations marked Tuesday's closing of the European Congress of Radiology 2003 at the Vienna International Center.

Outgoing ECR president Dr. Nicholas Gourtsoyiannis from the University of Crete in Greece announced record professional registrations (mostly radiologists and other physicians) of 7,200 for ECR 2003. The number reflected an increase of nearly 7% from total professional registration of 6,724 announced at last year’s meeting, which itself had grown by 11% since 2001. Overall registration at the end of February 2003 totaled 11,000.

The biggest increase in registrations came from professionals related to angiography, Gourtsoyiannis said. (Or, as one exuberant cardiac radiologist had put it on Saturday: "I am pleased to say the heart is ours once again!")

Other statistics included a rise in submitted abstracts by 21.2% over 2002, and a threefold increase in the onsite case of the day participation, from 770 in 2002 to 2,200 in 2003. The extremely popular EPOS electronic poster system logged more than 10,000 outgoing e-mails of scientific presentations "sent back home" during the conference, Gourtsoyiannis said.

"But registration and numbers are not the only measures of success for a meeting," he said. Participants’ expectations have been fulfilled, "collaborations and friendships have been refreshed, and national boundaries, still torn by politics and conflict, have been broken down again by radiological science. I hope I might say that the culture of friendship of the Mediterranean has...gently filtered through you."

The scientific presentations provided by the ECR are opening up tremendous new opportunities for education and training, Gourtsoyiannis said.

Incoming ECR 2004 president Dr. Helen Carty from the University of Liverpool, England, said she felt both honored and a bit awed at having been entrusted to lead a congress built on friendship, in which "disparate nations of many creeds and races, rich and poor, come together to give and to share knowledge, experience and science in this nonconfrontational atmosphere."

The strong educational basis will remain in next year’s congress, to be held March 5-9, 2004 in Vienna, Carty said. The ongoing EPOS and E3 educational initiatives will be supplemented by a new foundation course in radiology, concentrating next year on the abdomen.

"This (course) will help to set the standards of knowledge required of trainees across Europe," she said, "and will also of course be suitable for refresher CMEs. I urge you to encourage your trainees to avail themselves of this opportunity."

Also on the agenda are new hands-on workshops in musculoskeletal radiology, musculoskeletal ultrasound, and vertebroplasty. EPOS will be expanded in response to overwhelming demand.

"The educational and scientific sessions will, as always, cover the breadth of radiology, and reflect both the science and the clinical perspectives of our specialty," Carty said. "The two are intertwined, and we lose sight of this at our peril."

Carty’s emphasis on pediatrics is reflected in her choice poster paintings for 2004: "Bird Market" by the late Irish painter John Butler Yeats. The painting also celebrates the innocence of childhood, "and some of the magic and mystery of our specialty," Carty said. The president’s home country -- represented by England and Ireland together -- will share the featured country honors along with Poland in 2004.

Dr. Erik Boijsen of Lund, Sweden, and Dr. Rafaella De Dominicis of Florence, Italy, were chosen to receive the European Association of Radiology’s Boris Rajewsky medals.

By Eric Barnes
AuntMinnie.com staff writer
March 11, 2003

Related Reading

View from the president: Dr. Nicholas Gourtsoyiannis looks at ECR 2003, March 6, 2003

ECR officials tout success of 2002 meeting at closing ceremony, March 5, 2002

ECR attendance holds steady as officials ponder cross-town move, February 28, 2002

View from the president: Dr. Philippe Grenier scans the ECR, February 28, 2002

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