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A Message from the SAR President

Inaugural- April 2012


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Dear Colleagues…

 

Welcome to the newly created website of the Society of Abdominal Radiology (SAR), a merger of two esteemed societies – the Society of Gastrointestinal Radiologists (SGR) and the Society of Uroradiology (SUR). I am humbled and honored to serve the Society as its first President, but equally challenged to assure its success. With this letter, I will try to provide you with a succinct summary of the basis for the merger and highlight some of the benefits of being a member. In addition, I will introduce a few of the challenges we face as a society, and how we will begin to meet these challenges in the years to come.

I first want to pay homage to my predecessors, beginning with the founders of both Societies. It will not be possible to name all of them, although you can find a complete list of past presidents on this website. The SUR began in June of 1966 with the invitation of Dr. Howard M. Pollack and Dr. Joshua A. Becker for a mail interchange club to some urologists and radiologists who had a specific interest in the urinary tract. This group formed the "wee wee club” and eventually the SUR in 1974. The SGR was formed in 1971 by Dr. Alexander R. Margulis and Dr. Richard H. Marshak who formed a founding committee that in addition to themselves included Drs. H. Joachim Burhenne, William B. Seaman and Walter M. Whitehouse. These visionaries (in both areas) saw the need to specialize, and to form organizations that would provide a forum to present and review the latest research in GU and GI radiology as well as to disseminate new knowledge to the growing field of radiology. Each society had common missions and developed in parallel.

 

What followed were many years of separate and successful annual meetings during which ground breaking research was presented and educational offerings enthusiastically attended. Both the SUR and the SGR were outstandingly successful and built several generations of loyal followers deeply committed to their respective fields. Both societies enlarged their ‘reach’ and formed fruitful relationships with their respective European counterparts, the European Society of Urogenital Radiology (ESUR) and the European Society of Gastrointestinal and Abdominal Radiology (ESGAR). However, perhaps more than any other medical specialty, the practice of Radiology was changing, almost yearly, with the advent of new, exciting technologies that had a revolutionary impact on the practice of GU and GI radiology. The organ-specific modalities such as GU and GI fluoroscopy were becoming gradually replaced with the cross-sectional imaging technologies, US, CT, and MRI. Alongside the improvements in diagnosis, separate practices and in some institutions separate radiology divisions, were gradually replaced with abdominal radiology practices and divisions. Think of it; there is now simply no way to examine the pancreatic tail on a CT scan without evaluating the adjacent left kidney also. Concomitantly, interventional radiology (IR) expanded well beyond the vascular system ‘borders’. Indeed, nonvascular GU and GI interventional radiology, developed by many who became presidents of their respective societies in the coming years, have become a large part of an abdominal radiologist’s practice and are not limited to a separate ‘IR’ section.

 

The next set of visionaries is a long list of presidents who saw the need to merge the two societies. (Please forgive me as I am sure the list is incomplete.) In the mid 1990s, Drs. E. Stephen Amis, Jr. (SUR), Richard L. Clark (SUR), David H. Stephens (SGR), and Giles W. Stevenson (SGR) began these discussions; Dr. Stephens extended an invitation to Dr. Amis to attend the SGR’s meeting in Cancun, Mexico, providing a platform for Dr. Amis to present the SUR’s story and how they envisioned the two organizations collaborating. In return, Dr. Stephens was afforded the opportunity to do the same, and attended the SUR’s meeting in Santa Fe, New Mexico. Then, in 2000, the first step was taken; Dr. William H. Bush (SUR) and Dr. Stephens led the first ‘combined’ meeting of the societies in Kauai, Hawaii, and it was wildly successful. Combined meetings have continued since and have been just as, if not more successful. In 2003, the SGR and SUR entered into an agreement to form the Abdominal Radiology Consortium (ARC) as a joint venture. The charge for this was led by Presidents Dr. Hedvig Hricak (SUR) and Dr. Susan D. Wall (SGR). A combined ARC Board of the two Societies was formed at that time. The roots of the merger were firmly planted by the acceptance of the plan to merge by both Boards in November 2007, under the leadership of Dr. Nancy S. Curry (SUR) and Dr. Richard L. Baron (SGR). When I joined the SUR Board of Directors in 2008, the momentum was high and we began implementing the plan that had been outlined and reviewed with the memberships. The driving forces of the merger included the fact that the practice of GU and GI radiology had indeed changed to an abdominal practice, and that a single society could be a stronger and more influential body. What followed was a highly successful effort to merge. Members of both Boards of Directors are to be credited for their vision and tireless effort to merge the two societies. In addition, many members of both societies have served ably on several task forces that prepared us for the merger, including the SUR/SGR Merged By-laws Committee that I and your SAR President-Elect Dr. Alec J. Megibow led to write a new set of bylaws, the rules by which our new society will run.

 

As a result of these efforts, we have formed a single society that carries on the traditions and missions of its founding organizations. We have already achieved a ‘head start’ by appointing members to the many new committees that will lead the Society. Dr. Megibow and I are grateful to the enormous number of members who have volunteered their time to serve on one or more committees. We were not able to involve all volunteers, but to those who were not appointed this time, we hope that you will be able to serve in the future. The programs that both original societies so successfully ran, the annual Abdominal Radiology Course, the Visiting Professorship, and the International Education Conference (both formally limited to SGR members and now open to all SAR members), along with the awards and grants of both Societies for GI and GU radiology achievements will all continue as part of the new Society.

 

This website is your resource to learn the details of each of these programs and an invitation to increase your participation. Indeed, a new SAR Committee will be charged to assure that this site is a constant, up-to-date ‘window’ into the workings of the new Society. Our involvement with ESUR and ESGAR will continue and we will work to build alliances with other radiology and non-radiology societies in the United States and abroad. We are currently working on the details for the journal, Abdominal Imaging, whose Editor-in-Chief, Dr. Morton Meyers is a longstanding SUR and SGR member, to become the official journal of the Society. As you may recall, Abdominal Imaging was analogously formed from the original individual journals, ‘Gastrointestinal Radiology’ and ‘Uroradiologic Radiology’. Abdominal Imaging will provide both a printed and online medium for scientific abstract presentations, position articles and meeting highlights.

 

Despite the rationale and purported improvements to the successful merger, there are new and important challenges. In fact, I will share with you my first reaction when I was told in Chicago at my first Board meeting of the plan to merge – Why are we ‘dedifferentiating’ when all of medicine is ‘differentiating’? In other words, disease-focused expertise is what drives advances in medicine. Organ system radiology is what our specialty needs and has largely accomplished, so how are we going to maintain our founders’ mission of building GU and GI radiology expertise? This is indeed one of our biggest challenges and we will do so by providing the membership individual ‘chapters’ in the Society. We will ask each of our members to choose a chapter and to build on that expertise during your membership. We are one Society, but we are still GI or GU radiologists practicing abdominal radiology. Our scientific and educational programs will emphasize this and meet this founding mission. For example, as written in the bylaws, each of the Society’s committees is structured in such a way that there is virtually equal representation from both the GI and GU chapters.

 

There are many other challenges to the new Society and we are poised to meet them. Maintenance of Certification (MOC) and lifelong learning is a challenge for all of us and the Society will meet your MOC needs in GI and GU radiology.

 

On a personal note, I want to thank my colleagues who were particularly instrumental in recruiting me to join both the SUR and the SGR. Yes, I belonged to both societies for many years, proudly paying dues to both, because I wanted to support both, and wanted to be proficient in both GI and GU radiology. In the 1980s, past SUR presidents Dr. Jeffrey H. Newhouse and the late Dr. Harry Z. Mellins urged me to become a member of the SUR when I first joined the staff at Brigham and Women’s Hospital. I was unable to attend the meetings as a single parent of two young children to whom I devoted much of my non-working time during their tender years. As they grew older and became more independent, I eventually joined and served both Societies. I also want to thank Drs. John J. Cronan (SUR) and Curry, who, to the best of my knowledge, were particularly instrumental in my appointment to the SUR Board, and also to past SGR president Dr. Peter R. Mueller (one of my original mentors at Massachusetts General Hospital and a longstanding member of both organizations) who was instrumental in my selection to the SUR Board. As an SGR Board member, he, Dr. Curry and others had the foresight and confidence to appoint me to the Board at a time that would result in my becoming the Society’s first President.

 

One of the unique and great aspects of this Society is the mentorships and personal friendships that are formed by joining. The meetings and workings of the Society are indeed career enriching and very enjoyable. Our annual meeting is ‘family friendly’ in that time is deliberately reserved for members to spend time with loved ones and friends while also bettering themselves as abdominal radiologists – what a great combination – what a great Society! We all should strive to live a balanced life and the annual meeting is, in effect, a metaphor for this balance.

 

In summary, I welcome all of you to the new Society. I strongly encourage you to attend the inaugural meeting of the SAR on February 24-March 1, 2013 in Maui, Hawaii – just ‘next door’ to the wildly successful first combined meeting of the two societies in 2000. To my fellow members, I sincerely hope that you will continue to enjoy the fruits of your membership. To those of you have yet to join, please do so – it is one of the best societies in Radiology and one that will contribute immensely to your careers.

 

In the coming year and including the meeting in Maui, I will always be available to serve you and to address any questions or suggestions you might have to improve the Society. It is an exciting time – Carpe Diem!

  
Sincerely,
  
Stuart G. Silverman, MD, FACR
Inaugural President, Society of Abdominal Radiology, 2012-2013

 


ABOUT

Dr. Silverman is a Professor of Radiology at Harvard Medical School and Director of the Division of Abdominal Imaging and Intervention, Brigham and Women’s Hospital. Dr. Silverman obtained an A.B. degree from Oberlin College, and an M.D. from the University of Rochester School of Medicine. He is board-certified in both Internal Medicine and Radiology. After completing a fellowship in abdominal imaging and intervention at Massachusetts General Hospital, he joined the faculty at Brigham and Women’s Hospital where he has practiced for more than 23 years. His research has been in the areas of uroradiology and interventional radiology. He has written over 270 manuscripts, including over 190 original, peer-reviewed articles, over 80 reviews and book chapters, and two textbooks including one on CT Urography. He has delivered over 375 invited lectures around the world. His current research and lectures focus on the optimal use of imaging and intervention in patients with renal masses, hematuria, and other abdominal problems in an era where three of the most important problems facing the use of imaging in healthcare today are addressed: the rising cost of imaging, the alarming exposure of radiation to the public at large, and the potentially untoward effects of high technology imaging - the unintended discovery of the incidental finding that may lead to more radiation exposure and more cost. Dr. Silverman is a Fellow of the Society of Computed Body Tomography and Magnetic Resonance, the American College of Radiology and the Society of Abdominal Radiology, a new merger of the Society of Uroradiology and the Society of Gastrointestinal Radiologists. He is a Past President of the New England Roentgen Ray Society, and most recently was the inaugural President of the Society of Abdominal Radiology.




Former Presidential Messages

 

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