Future Proof Detour - SEAS 2017 and the Bright Future of Interventional Radiology

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Welcome to another Future Proof Detour. If you are a long time FPMD reader, you already know that I chose to go into a lesser-known medical specialty - Interventional Radiology (IR).  I covered my motivations in a previous post - Why Interventional Radiology?  3 weeks ago, I attended the 2017 annual meeting of the Southeastern Angiographic Society (SEAS) in Charleston, SC and I want to share my experience with you. 

Southeastern Angiographic Society (SEAS)

The Southeastern Angiographic Society (SEAS) was founded in 1974 by a group of radiologists who were primarily involved in catheter angiography.  The society incorporated in the state of Georgia and now has members from all over the Southeast and along the eastern seaboard.

SEAS 2017 

Dr. John Selby classifies medical meetings into 3 categories:

  1. National/International Mega Meetings - these are the giant meetings where everyone runs around all day like chickens with their heads cut off.  Also the kind of meeting where blockbuster scientific discoveries are presented.  In Radiology, the typical example is RSNA.
  2. Local Regional Subspecialty Meetings - specialty/subspecialty focused local regional meetings where physicians with a shared interest come together to share their experiences and discoveries. Usually a nice balance between #1 and #3.
  3. Cruise, golf, ski meetings - a vacation disguised as a scientific meeting so you can get CME credits. We all know these when we see them.

The SEAS annual scientific meeting falls into category #2 and in my opinion is the best kept secret in Interventional Radiology. The half day meeting format is designed for a robust educational experience in the mornings, leaving the afternoons free for socializing, networking and relaxation. The meeting encourages active interaction between attendees and faculty, resulting in a highly collegial environment to share ideas and solutions to questions big and small.

I first had the privilege of attending the SEAS 2015 meeting in Winter Park, FL as a 2nd year radiology resident who had yet to make up his mind about which subspecialty to pursue. Honestly I knew next to nothing about Interventional Radiology so the educational sessions were essentially wasted on me. But what I picked up on was the intimate environment in which the attendees - including trainees - can walk up to a living legend in IR and have a face-to-face conversation about whatever comes to mind.

SEAS 2017 was held in the historic Francis Marion Hotel in Charleston, SC. The hotel was a perfect blend of 1920's style and modern conveniences.  Although I did have the curious situation of 2 bathrooms in my room (pictures below). And Charleston is such a beautiful city.  The scientific presentations were on point but the networking opportunities were even more fantastic.  Which I hope to convey with these selected photos.

The most exciting part of the meeting for me was meeting so many young and enthusiastic trainees.  There were about a dozen of us attending but nearly half were medical students! To give you an idea of how amazing that is, when I was a medical student, I did not even know what an interventional radiologist was... 

As the youngest medical specialty, IR has gained a lot of public mindshare in a very short period of time. In the 2017 main residency match, IR was one of the most competitive specialties with a 21% match rate.  Becoming an "elite" specialty in medicine has its perks - IR will find it easy to recruit the best and brightest medical students.  As the week went on, SEAS 2017 taught me a lot about interventional radiology, how to perform procedures and take care of patients. But as I left Charleston and the medical students that are quite literally the "future of IR," I couldn't help but be thankful that I'm getting onboard the IR train as the specialty is just taking off.  To paraphrase Dr. James F. Benenati, this whole IR residency thing is so new, we don't really know which turns the specialty will take during its growth, but we know for sure that whatever path it follows, the general direction will be UP.

FPMD Verdict

SEAS 2017 was a fantastic meeting and I only hope to attend again and again in the future.  If you are a medical student or a resident interested in IR, it definitely deserves a spot on your short list of "must-attend" medical conferences. For those of you who are in varying stages of training for different specialties/subspecialties, I encourage you to seek out your local regional subspecialty meetings. It will be an invaluable experience.

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Future Proof, MD

Dr. Bo Liu is an aspiring radiologist-in-training and the founder and editor of the White Coat Money Blog.  He has an interest in interventional radiology and helping his medical colleagues get ahead in this mad world of medicine and money.  When he's not crushing the list at the PACS station or typing up your next favorite blog post, you can usually find him at the local badminton club, movie theater or the most recently opened restaurant.