By Martin Sherriff, B.App.Sc., R.T. (MR), 2019 Annual Meeting Program Committee Chair
I hope you all had a very Merry Christmas and great New Year…
This is the 6th edition of Marty’s Montréal Musings… But it’s also the first for 2019, so it’s a new year, aka a new chapter… Now I’m sure there is more than one of us thinking to one’s self, I’ve heard or said the very same thing before… funnily enough probably about 12 months ago.
However, I won’t bore you with my resolutions, but if I may, I might start 2019 afresh and start back at the beginning… my beginnings, where I’ve come from and how did I end up here?
My first exposure to MRI began sometime in the mid/late 90’s, when good wine came in a bag, craft beer was homemade, and MRI machines were HUGE… like 3-4 meters long. I was fortunate enough to work at a facility that had an MRI, Picker HPQ 1.0T. When I wasn’t doing x-rays (or my job at the time for that matter), I’d be that pesky annoying voice in the background saying… ‘what are you doing?’ ‘why’ ‘what’s that’ etc., etc. etc. I did that for about 5 years (persistence pays off… apparently) before getting a guernsey in MR. (Disclaimer: There are two islands in the English Channel, most commonly known as Channel Islands, named Guernsey & Jersey. So the reference Guernsey refers to Jersey, aka getting started on the football team by getting your team jersey.) At the time, there were local user meetings held about every 1-2 months between the 4-5 hospitals that had an MRI, these were the prelude to the SMRT. I would attend when I could, even when I didn’t actually do anything in MRI except being a pain in the…
As the most junior person, I watched as senior Radiographers/Technologists attended these fantastic conferences run by the SMRT. Before I was ‘eligible’ to be funded by the facility, I ‘spread my wings’ and did the travel thing. If I was in a country that had the SMRT meeting or, nearby I was going to go.
I had just moved to Canada on a working holiday visa. Hence, my first Annual SMRT Meeting was in Toronto, Canada, 2003, even though it was delayed due to the SARS outbreak in early 2003. It was a great meeting, with great attendance, even with the postponement. I wanted to go to more, I learned so much. Much of what I discovered was way above my head but two, three years later, some of these applications/sequences were becoming clinical, I felt like I was ahead of the game. I’ve regretted not making more of an effort to attend every meeting since.
So 16 years and 10 Annual Meetings later… why come to the SMRT Annual Meeting again (well, I’m chair of the Program Committee for this one but in all seriousness…)? The friendships I’ve made with other MR Radiographers & Technologists from throughout the world, the networking opportunities – there is always more than one way to look at it, and speaking with and discussing with (aka trying to soak up their knowledge) some of the most gifted minds in MRI, and of course, the educational content during the meeting. Not to mention that I have a great time.
So let’s talk about the 28th Annual Meeting in Montréal, Canada. What can you expect? What can you learn? How many Continuing Education credits are available? Who’s talking? Where is Montréal?
Let’s start with the weather… great conversation killer. Typically, Montréal in May will not be too hot nor cold. Days will be low to mid 20 degree Celsius (70-80 Fahrenheit) but the night’s cool to high single figures… in my book hard not to like those numbers.
If you’ve never ever been to the SMRT Annual Meeting and you don’t know anyone,how can will you meet people? Become a ‘Slacker.’ If that isn’t the biggest oxymoron, but wait…there is an app called Slack. It’s a meeting/conference app. Its free to join (see link below) and simple to use (I’m a social media illiterate). However, prior to last year’s meeting in Paris, I met many friends in person during the meeting that I’d met online in the months before. It was awesome! At the start of the meeting in Paris, there were ‘Slackers’ from 35 countries. I would thoroughly recommend joining Slack before the meeting.
Unfortunately, it’s impossible to hold this meeting everywhere. I appreciate that many have, do and will travel a considerable distance to attend this meeting. My hat’s off to you for doing so. The SMRT does have some funds available in the form of Travel Scholarships for MR Radiographers and Technologists who have to travel a great distance or have financial considerations. The deadline for Travel Scholarships is closing very soon on February 15th. If you would like to be considered, please submit at your earliest convenience.
The Program Committee has been working diligently on the 2019 program for the last 7 months, and the program is very close to being finalized. The goal for the program is that MR Radiographers and Technologists will be able to apply learned knowledge, skills, and techniques that can evolve their practice tomorrow but drive change from today.
Each year, there has been an evolution with the SMRT, and 2019 is no different. This year, we are having the President’s Session, which will be moderated by the outgoing and incoming SMRT Presidents. During this session, the President’s Awardee will present their proffered paper followed by the SMRT President’s Lecturer. Stay tuned for a big announcement about The President’s Lecturer. This will be very exciting and will soon be publicized by the SMRT President, Chris Kokkinos.
Another addition to the program is the ‘Artifacts Game Show.’ For this to be successful, the Game Show hosts, Dr. Eric Stinson and Dr. Adrienne Campbell, would like you to submit an artifact you’ve encountered and how it was resolved (or not, for that matter). It could be as simple as motion or something bizarre and unknown. Please submit your ‘Artifact’ to the following email address: firstname.lastname@example.org.
The program would not be the same without the input of fellow MR Radiographers and Technologists. The proffered papers demonstrate the innovation and progressiveness of MR Radiographers and Technologists from throughout the world. 2019 is no exception, with successful proffered paper winners from Africa, Asia, North America, and Australia. Abstract submissions were from every continent of the world. The SMRT Abstract Committee has had a tough time evaluating many submissions. What a great representation of the skill set and know how of MR Radiographers and Technologists globally.
Early registration ends on April 3rd. After this date, the fees do increase. There are three options for registration. Single day registration, 3-day registration, and 4-day registration. The 3-day registration does include access for the Friday afternoon session, and both Saturday and Sunday and also the Joint Forum on Monday, May 13 at 8:15am. The 4-day registration provides access to the full SMRT program and full access to the Monday ISMRM program, including Exhibition and vendors.
Early bird registration for housing (accommodation with the ISMRM) closes on April 10th. Follow this link for advice and special accommodation rates for the SMRT/ISMRM meeting.
So if you are contemplating attending the 28th Annual Meeting in Montréal, QC, Canada, May 10-13, I suggest you start looking at flights. Apparently Google Flights rates highly; I like Momondo personally. I’ll talk more about Montréal.
Each year, at the Annual Meeting, it is bittersweet for the Policy Board, new members are replacing those who have served for 3 years. Alas, I will be rolling off this year, however the new 2019 Policy Board members: Brandy Willis, Erin Gray, Thao Tran, and Allison Epstein are amazing and will only continue to make the SMRT stronger. I would like to take this opportunity to welcome the 2020 President-Elect, Nancy Hill Beluk.
I look forward to supporting Nancy, the new Policy Board members and the SMRT in future endeavors.
I look forward to meeting many of you in Montréal and prior too, via the Slack app.
Au Revoir, see you in Montréal, Merci!
2019 SMRT Program Chair