March 2019

Written by Philip Ward, AuntMinnie Europe

March 12, 2019 -- One of the hidden gems at ECR 2019 came on the final day of the congress in Vienna. At the European Society of Radiology (ESR) General Assembly, Dr. Paul Parizel, PhD, delivered a seven-step mantra of an ESR president of the past, and it drew considerable praise.

Parizel was ESR president in 2017. He is chairman of the radiology department at Antwerp University Hospital (UZA) and a full professor in the Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences at the University of Antwerp (UA). Over the coming months, he is moving to Australia to combine an academic position as a full professor at the University of Western Australia with a part-time clinical appointment at Royal Perth Hospital.

These are his tips for radiology's future leaders:

  1. Be happy and exude happiness. Enjoy the ride. Being part of this ESR-ECR family is a trip, a high -- it's better than LSD or cocaine or whatever. We are truly the chosen ones, the fortunate ones. So, put a big smile on your face, focus on the happiness, and be in control, and you will make people happy.
    Keep smiling
    Keep smiling: Parizel was an honorary lecturer and VIP guest at the 70th Annual Conference of the Indian Radiological and Imaging Association in Jaipur in January 2017. All images courtesy of Dr. Paul Parizel, PhD.
  2. Keep the long-term goal in your mind, always. You will be distracted by more than 1,000 operational issues -- small problems that some people like to make into big problems. Don't let them distract you from the ultimate goal, which is to better serve our patients by building a strong, unified house for radiology, based on sound scientific and professional foundations. That is the long-term goal of everything we do.
  3. Focus on the 99% that unites rather than the 1% that separates. Find the common ground. In politics, tribalism is never the solution. Resist centrifugal tendencies to endlessly create ever more working groups and committees and boards and societies, usually driven by the sheer personal ambition of some people who aspire to be the "boss" of something, but who lack the talent or stamina to work within a bigger entity. They are the "splitters": Avoid them. Try to be a "lumper" and not a splitter, and go for centripetal motion and avoid centrifugal forces.
  4. Whatever happens, act like it's never personal. Of course, it is personal, and in some cases, it will be extremely personal, but don't ever let "them" know that. Prepare yourself to handle people saying negative things about what you are doing. Keep your distance from toxic and passive-aggressive persons; they usually do not have the best interests of the society or the profession at heart, and they are mostly driven by hidden agendas and ulterior motives.
  5. Serve the community, and never use the system for personal gain or advancement of those who are close to you. It seems so obvious, but you will learn that it is not. And you will have to deal with people who don't always follow this code of ethics.
  6. Listen to good advice. You are not the emperor, and you are not the general -- even though some colleagues in functions of authority might think they are. As a team, we can achieve much more than as individuals. And, when we put our heart and soul into it, we create value and we really make a difference in patient care.
  7. Go away when time is up. Don't cling to your seat. Give others a chance to stand in the sunshine.
  8. Let others shine
    Give others a chance to stand in the sunshine, Parizel advises.