Featuring Outgoing Annual Scientific Meeting Planning Committee Chair, Dr. Michael Patlas
It was another tremendous year at the Canadian Association of Radiologists Annual Scientific Meeting (CAR 2022), with dozens of engaging speakers, presentations, and social events, drawing in nearly 700 attendees for the virtual event. CAR 2022 spanned five days in early April and brought together members of the radiology community, comprised of a wide range of education and experience. As Dr. Michael Patlas knows, having served as the Annual Scientific Meeting Planning Committee (SPC) Co-Chair in 2017-2018 and as Chair from 2018-2022, successful events like this are long in the making and require diligent teamwork.
He notes that there are several key factors in putting together a major scientific meeting. Preparation for the next event needs to begin as early as possible. An important starting point is analyzing attendee evaluations to fill existing gaps in knowledge and to avoid repeating topics in consecutive years. Dr. Patlas says he has worked hard to form a strong team at the SPC drawing representation from academic and community radiologists, trainees, a variety of subspecialties, and multiple regions within Canada. Additionally, executing the event would not be possible without the work of the CAR staff bringing to life the SPC’s vision.
While CAR 2022 was eventually delivered virtually, this was not always the original plan nor the typical formula of years past. With a murky short-term future of COVID-19 restrictions, the CAR Board of Directors confirmed in January that the event would not be hosted in Montreal as usual but delivered online instead. “Uncertainty related to the pandemic was our biggest challenge this year,” says Dr. Patlas. “Kudos to the CAR Board for making the right call at the right time and pivot to a virtual format.”
Because of this decision, planning and execution needed to take a different form than previous in-person events. “To account for being technologically dependant this year,” Dr. Patlas says, “one of the adjustments we made was to have speakers record their presentations when possible and submit them earlier than usual.” Patlas says the meeting was spread across five days by design to avoid competition between tracks. Since delegates and colleagues were joining from across the country, it was important to begin the education programs later in the day to allow attendees in different time zones to participate in morning sessions at a more reasonable hour.
Dr. Patlas points to the high degree of attendee and sponsor participation at CAR 2022 as a measure of its incredible success. There were more than 653 attendees taking part in over 100 lectures and educational sessions and 22 industry sponsors present, complete with their own virtual exhibitor booths and contest prizes. CAR 2022 also featured the virtual -RADS Structured Reporting Workshop, a first for the event. Since the event, Dr. Patlas says he has received extremely positive feedback from attendees.
CAR 2023 is slated for April 20-23 in Montreal and will have a new face as Chair of the SPC. Dr. Patlas is stepping down and will be replaced by Dr. Tanya Chawla, a move that Dr. Patlas believes is a perfect fit for the event. “She is a quintessential academic radiologist with extensive experience in planning of educational events. I have no doubt that the SPC and CAR 2023 will continue to flourish under her leadership.” As to what he expects out of next year’s Annual Scientific Meeting, Dr. Patlas is hopeful to see more content from the four CAR Affiliate Societies, multiple keynote speakers, and a continuous growth in attendance.