ASTRO, RSNA Annual Meeting Attendees Happy to Get Together Again
By Rodney Campbell, ABR Communications Manager
For the first time in two years, ASTRO and RSNA held in-person annual meetings late last year. Both organizations put COVID-19 restrictions in place and had approximately half their usual attendance.
A few attendees offered their thoughts on the meetings and their optimism about a return to more traditional get-togethers soon.
ASTRO (Oct. 24-27 in Chicago)
“ASTRO 2021 was a success on many levels. We had color-coded lanyards to distinguish those who were comfortable shaking hands (green) from others who prefer elbow bumps (yellow) or no contact (red). Other social distancing measures present during the conference included empty seats between attendees, clear social distancing signs, and mandatory masks. The interaction with peers was very smooth and everyone adjusted to the other person’s social distancing preferences. The interpersonal connection among attendees was clearly much stronger than any virtual conference, and it was a wonderful experience to connect with so many colleagues I had not seen in years. Kudos to ASTRO leadership and the planning committee for this great comeback after the COVID-19 pandemic.”
Therese Y. Andraos, MD
Radiation oncology chief resident at Montefiore Medical Center, the University Hospital for Albert Einstein College of Medicine, Dr. Andraos is an executive member of the radiosurgery society resident committee, where she serves as the leader of the white papers committee.
“The ASTRO annual meeting was the first in-person meeting I have attended since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. The venue and attendees did an excellent job with appropriate social distancing. For instance, in each of the auditoriums, there was a blocked empty seat between every two attendees. Additionally, masking was strictly enforced, and hand sanitizer was readily available. It was great to connect with friends and colleagues in person, while adhering to safety guidelines. There were also many excellent research presentations that will allow us to further customize and optimize patient care. In particular, there were two major trials presented for prostate cancer that will likely have broad implications on clinical practice. ASTRO did an exceptional job of engineering a high-quality in-person experience, while simultaneously incorporating safety guidelines due to the COVID-19 pandemic.”
Eric Lehrer, MD
Radiation oncology resident at Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, Dr. Lehrer is the lead investigator on an international study across 10 institutions with 750 patients that is working to optimize outcomes in patients with brain metastases who are treated with stereotactic radiosurgery and immune checkpoint inhibitors.
RSNA (Nov. 28-Dec. 2 in Chicago)
“I was very happy with the in-person RSNA conference. As an academic radiologist, I always look forward to seeing the latest work of radiologists from around the world, as well as reuniting with old colleagues and meeting new ones. Virtual conferences just aren’t the same! I had a very safe and comfortable experience at RSNA 2021, and was pleased to see all attendees and staff taking universal precautions against COVID-19. For example, everyone was masked and in order to receive my badge, I had to show my vaccination pass from the Clear app (which was simple to set up and use). This gave me the peace of mind I needed to be part of such a large conference being held indoors. While I look forward to the time when things can truly return to normal, I hope we can continue having safe, in-person conferences like RSNA.”
Tiffany Chan, MD
Assistant clinical professor in breast imaging at UCLA, Dr. Chan is the senior breast imaging representative of the Los Angeles Radiological Society and a member of the Society of Breast Imaging Social Media Committee.
“What a great experience returning to RSNA in person! I was thrilled to return; it was truly a great conference full of amazing people, innovation, and collaboration. This was a positively overwhelming reunion full of passionate leaders in our field, and I cannot wait to return next year.”
Kirang Patel, MD
Chief radiology resident at University of Missouri at Kansas City and future neuroradiology fellow at UT Southwestern in Dallas, Dr. Patel serves on the ACR Resident and Fellow Executive Board as communications liaison and is the president of the Missouri Radiological Society Resident and Fellow Section.