When SIR brings its annual meeting to Austin, Texas, for the first time March 23–28, it should be a perfect match between profession and host city.
Austin, long known as a hotbed of live music, great barbecue and the motto “Keep Austin Weird,” is also an innovation hub. Both the SXSW Festival for creative professionals—which wraps up just before the start of SIR 2019—and the new Dell Medical School at the University of Texas call Austin home.
“Interventional radiology is crucially dependent on innovation and invention for our success,” said SIR Annual Meeting Committee Chair Daniel Sze, MD, PhD, FSIR. “Austin’s culture is just that—innovation and invention. That culture, including Dell Medical School, which opened in 2016, that is reinventing medical education, and Austin’s startup and technology communities, all help to feed the enthusiasm of our meeting.”
SIR 2019 attendees will find a meeting designed to meet the needs of IR as an independent specialty. Now that IR has earned its spot as one the 33 primary certificate specialties, work continues on building the vision for about where IR will go.
For example, Dr. Sze said, the current job market must adapt to accommodate more IR-only specialists, while many jobs currently available are still combined with diagnostic radiology. Also, different people and training programs have disparate ideas about how an IR residency should be structured. SIR 2019 offers a chance to think about and discuss those issues.
“What’s exciting to me is that the wheels have started to turn to really allow us as a specialty to write our own history and our own future. The annual meeting allows thousands of people to get together and share our ideas and, as a group, and mold our future,” Dr. Sze said.
Those coming to Austin will find a streamlined and simplified schedule. Each day follows the same basic outline, starting with 90-minute categorical courses and SA-CME sessions in the morning, followed by 90-minute plenary sessions before the lunchtime break. The afternoon will focus on 90-minute Angio-Club workshops, and then 90-minute scientific sessions featuring the best original research based on peer review along with more SA-CME sessions.
The days will end with hour-long “SIR Connect Live” sessions. These sessions will capitalize on the vibrant online SIR Connect forum, replacing the “Meet the Expert” sessions of prior years, with the goal of everybody sharing their experiences.
“To tap into the audience’s expertise, these sessions are going to be roundtable discussions with audience participation required; wireless microphones passed around the room, and no slide decks or didactic lectures,” Dr. Sze said.
At SIR 2018, the Annual Meeting Committee solicited session proposals from volunteers, selecting six of those proposals for inclusion. This year, the submission challenge has expanded. Of the more than 60 crowdsourced submissions for 2019, 15 were selected to be either categorical courses or SA-CME sessions, with many others accepted with revisions.
Almost every proposal was used in some way, Dr. Sze said. The result is that many who had only participated in the past annual meetings as attendees now find themselves with a more active role in the development of SIR 2019.
SIR 2019’s expanding roster of speakers highlights SIR’s commitment to diversity and inclusion. Presenters from diverse backgrounds and experiences will share their knowledge and experiences throughout the meeting.
“There will be a lot of people at the podiums who have not had the opportunity in the past,” Dr. Sze said.