APRIL 2014 ē Vol. 3, Issue 2

Reflections on the Benelux SMRT Chapter

Vera Kimbrell B.S., R.T.(R)(MR), SMRT Past- President

ďItís most impressive to me when professionals pursue education without compulsion and in spite of lack of funding.Ē

During the past 10 years Iíve traveled the globe representing the SMRT in several capacities. Iíve been very fortunate to have met some really great people and made lasting friendships around the world. It seems MR technologists and Radiographers everywhere although not always speaking the same language, share similar problems and concerns. We as an international community grapple with shrinking staffs, increasingly difficult exams and workloads. Healthcare may be funded differently in many parts of the world but it continues to be a hot topic for all MR professionals.

MR Technologists/Radiographers share a thirst for knowledge and continuing professional education. This is mandated in some countries, encouraged in others and ignored in some. Itís most impressive to me when professionals pursue education without compulsion and in spite of lack of funding.

Such is the case for the Benelux chapter. Formed by Filip De Ridder and Raschel van Luik Snoeks the Chapter held its 7th annual conference in Brussels on 29 March. The meeting is rotated between Filipís hospital in Brussels, Belgium (UZ Brussels) and Raschelís in Amsterdam, the Netherlands. The success is extraordinary drawing 150-200 registrants despite stiff competition from contending organizations.

It was a beautiful sunny day in Brussels that Saturday. Filip and his team had coffee and pastries awaiting the attendees. The morning started with a contrast forum detailing the many different options and issues associated with Gadolinium. Although the entire session was held in Dutch, I was able to follow along quite well. English is spoken by most, but having speakers in the native tongue allows technologists to feel more comfortable and better understand the content. This is of course difficult in mass distribution but well received at the local level.

After a lovely break in the nearby solarium the next forum was dedicated to Diffusion and Spectroscopy. The participants were treated to a really thorough and entertaining lecture detailing the clinical applications of both techniques. Once mostly a research tool, Spectroscopy has many clinically based protocols now.

Lunch was held back in the solarium where vendor displays were scattered amongst the food. The Technologists and Radiographers were able to interact and mingle with their peers, speakers and the vendors present. Sadly we couldnít stay outdoors for the afternoon session! I had the unenviable job of being the first speaker up after that wonderful respite.

Filip and Raschel asked me to Brussels specifically to bring knowledge of the SMRT and its mission to their group. Although sadly I do not have Dutch as a language skill the participants were very well versed in English. They listened and afterwards asked questions, Iím very encouraged that more of our Belgian and Dutch counterparts will join us in the SMRT.

The last two forums were dedicated to specialized pelvic and abdominal imaging. From the presentations itís evident that our European technologists are on the cutting edge of imaging and very engaged in staying on top of new techniques and protocols. I learned quite a bit during the day relevant to my practice back home, in the USA.

The resounding theme for me on this trip is the overall enthusiasm and professionalism of technologists/radiographers in MR. We have the same goals, dreams, and passion for MR. We are united in our commitment to the profession and to our patients. The SMRT is fortunate to have such key organizers as Raschel and Filip to carry out the mission as well as technologists throughout Europe and the world ready to join us in these educational pursuits.

Thanks to my old friends Raschel and Filip and to all the technologists/ radiographers I met in Brussels for the incredible experience and hospitality. Iíd love to return in a few years to see just how far you will advance. I know this chapter will grow and prosper.


Meeting participants enter the room at the beginning of the day.

Prof. de Mey, head of the Radiological Department, UZBrussel, welcomes the attendees.

Networking and socializing during the coffee break.

Participants return to the lecture hall after the break to resume the morning season at 10h30

After a lunch and break the participants return for more of the program.

Dr. Hottat, Radiologist at the IRIS hospital, Brussels and the Radiological Department of UZBrussel begins her presentation: "Female pelvis, Uterus, cervix and ovarian imaging," the first presentation of the afternoon.

Dr. Verdries, Radiologist at Radiological Department, UZBrussel, the last speaker of the day; spoke about Crohnís related MRI examinations.

Prof. Cannie, Radiological Department, at UCV Brugmann and Radiological Department, UZBrussel, addressed: Intra uterine imaging.