No other IR-focused meeting delivers the educational and networking opportunities that the SIR Annual Scientific Meeting does. And SIR 2018 in Los Angeles will expand its diversity in both topics presented and speakers presenting.
As always, the world’s experts will discuss current trends and future developments in minimally invasive treatments as part of an educational program featuring abstracts selected from around the world. The program will also offer valuable hands-on skills workshops and the chance to network with peers, pioneers and leaders in IR.
SIR Annual Meeting Committee (AMC) Chair Brian Funaki, MD, FSIR, said that the committee has made a concerted effort to keep updating and expanding the program so that it represents the diversity among members in age, race, gender and geography.
Meetings such as SIR 2018 traditionally feature members of the academic world speaking multiple times. While those speakers and their exceptional expertise remain at the core of this year’s educational program, the AMC has reduced the number of talks a single person delivers, creating opportunities for a wider range of people with varying experiences and backgrounds. SIR 2018 will represent the evolving diversity of both the society and the specialty and improve the overall learning experience.
“If you have somebody talking who’s relatively young or new to the field, they may see things through different eyes and talk about them from their unique perspective, which somebody who is maybe 20 years ahead of them will have forgotten or may never have even thought about,” Dr. Funaki said. “We believe that, by diversifying the speakers, we’ll be better able to communicate to all attendees.”
One of those groups that SIR 2018 will highlight more is members in private practice. While academic institutions provide most of the research about topics discussed at the annual meeting, Dr. Funaki said, those in private practice have a wealth of practical knowledge and a valuable point of view.
The challenge for those in private practice is to find time in their schedules to prepare and present their points of view. Dr. Funaki, the committee and SIR staff continue to emphasize the importance of the largest segment of its members and wants everybody in private practice to know the array of opportunities available to them through SIR and its annual meeting.
One of the newer offerings at the meeting, the “Create a Course” contest, helps diversify and expand access, Dr. Funaki said. Create a Course started at SIR 2017 but grew this year with dozens submitting their ideas for presentations. The AMC selected six submissions to be presented at SIR 2018 of 57 applicants.
Dr. Funaki said that the committee often heard from members who said that they had a great idea for a session but there was rarely any follow-up. Create a Course provided a mechanism for following up on those suggestions and gives members a role in developing ideas for sessions that better reflect members’ interests .
For many, the annual meeting is like an anniversary, birthday or other annual event that allows attendees to reflect on the past year while learning new things and renewing friendships. “It’s a tremendous opportunity for everyone in the IR community to think back while looking forward,” he said, “and to do so with peers and colleagues you don’t get to see every day.”