By Martin Sherriff, B.App.Sc., R.T. (MR), 2019 Annual Meeting Program Committee Chair


Bonjour & Hello again…

September is very much upon us. For those in the northern hemisphere means summer is turning into fall, kids going back to school and returning to work with piles of work not done over the summer… maybe not for everyone but for me at least. In the southern hemisphere, it’s (footy) finals time, at least in Australia.

For those of you wondering, “is attending the SMRT annual meeting beneficial? Is it a great experience? Does it provide a great learning opportunity?” I’ve asked two members of SMRT whom I met in Paris, on their experiences attending the Annual meeting.

If you’ve never been to an SMRT Annual meeting, here are comments from first-time attendee Jannick Flury from Switzerland. We were both Slackers and we had chatted online prior to meeting in Paris. We did meet in person during the Friday night Poster Presentations, which are always a great way to meet old and new friends.

My first experience of the SMRT meeting was really good!

I did not know much about SMRT before, but as I follow what’s happening in MRI I saw that there was this big international MRI meeting happening in Paris!

I didn’t know what to expect, I went by myself. I found some incredible people, very interesting and interested about where I am from, how it is politically, the habits, the machines and so on! The networking was definitely the best experience of the meeting for me! Getting to know and being able to keep in touch with a lot of MRI professionals from all over the world is amazing!

I mostly enjoyed these three topics: safety, cardiac imaging and contrast media. It was interesting to know what is happening in the whole world! And the following discussions were great also.

But as I said, the networking was the best part. And there was plenty of time for it, so it is perfect!

Yes, it did meet my expectations. As I would love to be able to go to another one! And yes I would recommend it to my colleagues! I do and still will be hoping that more Swiss MRI techs sign on to be SMRT members!

Here are some comments from Brandy Willis from Dallas, Texas, who has attended a number of meetings, and her experiences.

My boss approached me in November of 2007 and asked me to write an abstract on the BREASE (Breast Spectroscopy) for the SMRT. “SMRT?” I didn’t know then, but I was about to embark on a lifetime of education and new friendships with like-minded technologists. My first attempt at an abstract (to an unknown society) resulted in a tie for 2nd Place in the Research Focus proffered papers. It was truly an honor to be awarded and recognized by my peers across the nation and the globe for work I was doing in Houston. This was in the 17th Annual Meeting in Toronto, May 2008. Since then, I have attended meetings in Honolulu (twice) & Paris.

Submitting abstracts to almost every meeting, I have had the privilege of sharing my work via poster & oral presentations. The Montreal meeting marks the 2nd year in which I am a member of the abstract committee and I truly enjoy reading both the clinical and research abstracts. I encourage you all to take the time and submit an abstract on a topic that you are interested in or that you want to share tips and tricks on with your peers. No project is too small to be interesting to another person. One tip: decide if you are going to focus on research or clinical applications and follow the template on the SMRT website for the correct category to write your abstract. It’s only one page!

Attending the poster presentation on the first night is always a highlight for me. It’s the perfect time to read your peers’ work, meet them, and ask questions. Everyone is always welcoming and willing to share. That’s my favorite part of the SMRT annual meeting: sharing knowledge and learning from others.

I encourage you to introduce yourself to the SMRT Policy Board members and other committee members who will be in attendance. Every technologist chooses to attend the SMRT annual meetings for various reasons, but one thing is for sure, we all want to advance ourselves in our field of MRI and be the best technologist we can be. The SMRT is the perfect gateway to help you build your knowledge.

Also, the SMRT Annual provides the most up to date education on technology that is potentially years away from actual clinical implementation, e.g Dan Sodickson (who needs little introduction) spoke about Compressed Sensing in Melbourne in 2012 and now in 2018, it’s readily available from vendors…
“Why so long from ‘concept’ to ‘clinical'”… that might be worth hearing more about??? I digress a little…

A huge benefit of attending SMRT, which is a Section of the ISMRM (International Society for Magnetic Resonance in Medicine), Annual meeting is the ability to extend your stay for the either the Monday or the rest of the week ISMRM main meeting. The content available at this meeting is massive with up to 10 rooms running simultaneously each session. It can be a little daunting but don’t let that phase you, we would be happy to help you navigate the ISMRM.

Thank you muchly, Jannick and Brandy, for your comments and contributions. I couldn’t agree more; it’s why I keep coming back myself. And definitely way better written than me.

If you weren’t able to attend the previous Annual meeting, next weekend September 22 we are rebroadcasting the Paris meeting highlights. The highlight for me from the Paris meeting was the lecture from Dr. Michael Recht, on “Adding Value in MRI.”

I and the Program committee look forward to seeing many old and new friends in Montreal.

Merci and Au Revoir,