Monday, September 5, 2016 (ESR, Vienna) – The ESR has taken several steps to strengthen its efforts in Latin America in 2016, to increase the involvement of these countries in the European radiological community. Nineteen per cent of ESR members come from Latin America; promoting scientific exchange and offering educational opportunities, especially for the younger community in this area, has therefore been given priority for the upcoming months.
Foremost among these efforts is the provision of 100 subsidised places at ECR 2017, exclusively for Latin American applicants. Whilst the ESR offers support initiatives for European countries – Romania has been chosen this year – crossing the pond to offer new opportunities is an issue of great importance for the ESR. The society’s popular ‘Invest in the Youth’ initiative offers young radiologists, radiographers and medical physicists in training the chance to visit the ECR and benefit from the high quality scientific and educational programme free of charge, with hotel accommodation also fully paid for. This year an increased number of 1,000 sponsored places are available and one in ten will go to applicants from Latin America, who will be provided with economy class flights in addition to the usual benefits.
Another key step is the introduction of special Spanish and Portuguese versions of the society’s members’ newsletter, ESR News. Earlier this year, the ESR conducted a survey to determine which issues were most important to its Latin American members. The majority of participants wanted regular updates on ESR news such as abstract submission, congress information, and eLearning. To that end, ESR News Edición Especial and Edição Especial were initiated and are now being sent monthly to all Latin American members. Both have so far been very well received.
“Initiatives like ‘Invest in the Youth’, our special editions of ESR News and the Latin American Voice of EPOS™ sessions at ECR 2017 are very important in order to involve our Latin American members and let them know that although our name is the European Society of Radiology, we want all our members from across the globe to feel included in our community. I believe the effort is worth making in order to unify radiological professionals and the radiological field worldwide and offer the same opportunities for everyone,” said Prof. Katrine Riklund, Chairperson of the ESR Board of Directors, from Umeå, Sweden.
Another example of the ESR’s commitment to international collaboration is the ‘ESR meets’ programme at the ECR, which invites three national radiological societies to present the most recent scientific developments in imaging in their countries. Since 2010, societies from five Latin American countries (Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Mexico, and Colombia) have taken part in the programme, and at ECR 2017 Peru will take part, represented by the Sociedad Peruana de Radiología, along with societies from Belgium and the USA.
In the field of education, the ESR has also made some significant progress. Since 2010, the ESR’s European School of Radiology (ESOR) has organised 27 educational activities in Latin America (Chile, Brazil, Colombia, and Mexico) in collaboration with seven Latin American societies. Additionally, ESOR offers Visiting Professorship Programmes and one ESOR Breast Imaging Fellowship in New York, available exclusively for radiologists from Latin America.
In order to support this expanded activity and presence in Latin America, the ESR has opened an office in Bogotá with a full-time staff member travelling to radiological congresses in the region to represent the ESR onsite. Additionally, the presence of ESR Board Members at congresses in Latin America has increased. ESR President Prof. Paul Parizel recently attended the Colombian Congress of Radiology (CCR) and the annual meeting of the Sociedad Ibero Latino Americana de Neurorradiología Diagnóstica y Terapéutica (SILAN), while ESR 1st Vice President, Prof. Lorenzo Derchi attended a continuing education course in Sao Paulo, Brazil, to inform Brazilian residents about the ‘Invest in the Youth’ initiative.