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Challenges, Reforms, and the Way Ahead
Thank you Pushparaj Ji for your pleasant introduction.
Honorable Chief Guest, Dr. Inderbir Singh Nijjar, Radiologist and Cabinet Minister for Local Government, Parliamentary Affairs, Conservation of Land & Water, Administrative Reforms, Punjab; Guest of Honor; Dr. Raj Kumar Chabbewal Radiologist, MLA and Deputy Leader of the Opposition of Punjab Legislative Assembly; Dr. Amarnath C and Dr. Hemant Patel, Past Presidents of IRIA; Dr. Ramesh Chander Organizing Chairman of 75th National Conference of IRIA; Dr. Gurdeep Singh, Organizing Secretary; Senior IRIA colleagues, dignitaries on the dais and off the dais, our eminent speakers, stalwarts of the medical industry, media and beloved residents.
It is a great honor to be elected as President (2023), Indian Radiological and Imaging Association. I take this opportunity to thank each member of this esteemed association for having elected me as the president and also to express my deep sense of gratitude to all the past presidents and senior IRIA colleagues for their immense dedication and contribution to our association.
In the last few years, our association has made exponential progress in all fields. We have made a strong mark socially also, especially during the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) times. We have risen as one of the best radiological associations of the world. It finally feels that our time has come, or rather I should say, “apna time aa gaya,” all thanks to the visionary leadership of our past presidents, especially the recent past Dr. K. Mohanan, Dr. Hemant Patel, Dr. Amarnath C. and Dr. Pushparaj Bhatele. It is now incumbent upon me to carry on this mantle and take our association on further path of progress and make it one of the top three radiological associations in the world.
Today, our radiological community is threatened with TURF invasion and TURF erosion, namely in the fields of sonography and imaging-based interventions. The good way to counter them is to keep up the ante and equip our common members with the best of knowledge and skill. However, to achieve absolute success for such unique problems, we need unique solutions which require financial, political, moral, and legal support from all the IRIA members to secure our foothold and defend our rights.
With rapidly evolving technological advancements, we radiologists have to rigorously update our knowledge base to utilize novel advances efficiently. Few such examples are artificial intelligence in radiology and new molecules in positron emission tomography-computed tomography (PET-CT). The ICRI has already started establishing subspecialty training through recognized super-specialty courses and fellowships. We are happily reaping the fruits of the labor of great radiology academicians of the ICRI in the form of the ICRI teachings, MICR exam, and F-ICRI fellowships to facilitate the above-mentioned goals. I have to specially mention that Dr. Amarnath has cleared the recently held first ever MICR exam with 86% marks and has added another feather to his cap. He is a phenomenal example who is guiding our young generation. This year we continue the same and take few steps forward in this direction. We will start IRIA certificate short courses in AI, obstetrics, MSK, and oncology/nuclear medicine. By doing so, we will encourage constant learning through CMEs, workshops, hands-on training, and webinars. The coming sonosummit we are having discussions to start short fellowships in MSK, fetal medicine, and ultrasound-guided interventions under the guidance of Dr. Amarnath C., Dr. Pradeep S., Dr. Ramamurthy B. S., Dr. Anbarasu A., Dr. Varaprasad V. N., and others.
The most burning issue that the common practicing radiologist faces even today is PCPNDT. Created and enforced to protect the female fetus, the PCPNDT Act has unfortunately proved to be a double-edge sword. It has negatively impacted innocent radiologists, rather than punishing the actual culprits. I am proud to say not a single radiologist in India, today, does any form of sex determination. Members of our association have been trying to tackle this grave issue of harassment for radiologists. It is high time that amendments are made to this act to better protect radiologists who are sincerely doing their duty. This can only be successful if one of our office bearers is a permanent member of the central supervisory board and advisory committee of the PCPNDT. We will put in all our efforts to make sure we get appropriate representation.
I want also start system where any radiologist in India can buy equipment, AMC, and CMC with best pricing for both buyer and sellers.
The 6-month training course in ultrasound is a problem that has to be addressed; in my state of Karnataka we have got a stay. With increase in the number of radiology postgraduate seats in our country, this course is a problem for upcoming and future radiologists who will be pursuing the master's degree. To fight this, the IRIA will require full support both legally and financially.
Also, we have already started positive talks with officials of AERB to come together with us to create an environment—a short training course to empower radiologist. We want interested radiologists to be registered as RSO level IV. By doing so, they will be able to head Nuclear Medicine and PET-CT centers.
In this fast-paced life of a radiologist, we want the families to feel financially secured. For that we had started a brotherhood scheme called “social security scheme” (SSS). In case of any unfortunate event/death of radiologist member of SSS, their families/next of the kin would be helped generously with a token of money. We are already 1,700-member strong. However, my dream is to have each and every IRIA member as a part of this brotherhood scheme. I call upon all radiologist to spare a small part of their income on a yearly basis and become a member of this scheme. We are not only securing our families but the families of our brothers and sisters.
I would also implore all the IRIA members to buy professional indemnity insurance. You can get a generous coverage if you buy that from the IRIA Web site.
It is said that data are the new oil and intelligent data are the new petrol. With a population of more than 140 crore we are sitting on the biggest oil field of data. The research potential in our country is immense. The intelligent radiologists' community is the biggest oil refinery in the world.
The newly formed National Medical Council governing the educational institutes and teachers also has statutory requirements for publication of articles in journals for their promotion in their posts. This year we have started two new journals alongside Indian Journal of Radiology and Imaging (IJRI). The Indographics covering review-based articles and Case Reports in Clinical Radiology (CRCR). Dr. Kesavadas, chief editor, Dr. Ankur Shah, joint editor, and the editorial team of journals are doing excellent work. The IRIA has also initiated a Research and Education wing which is ready to guide and fund wonderful research. I would take this opportunity to implore the Indian radiologist community to take a foot forward in the field of research and publication. This year we all should take a vow to get at least one article or research paper published in any of the journals of IJRI. I promise the full support of IRIA and IJRI in getting your genuine work published.
Not only academically or professionally, the IRIA's responsibility just like any other association is towards the common man—our Indian society and community in general
It is said “Prevention is better than cure.” Keeping this adage in mind, we have started the Preventive Radiology wing of the IRIA. We have successfully started and published data for fatty infiltration of liver on routine imaging. I would wish that Preventive Radiology wing takes the work forward in the fields of coronary artery disease and osteoporosis.
We at the IRIA believe in “Naari Shakti.” By empowering females across all strata of society, we can truly become a great nation. The IRIA has launched the “Raksha” program to empower girls from the lower socioeconomic strata and the project “Samrakshan” to reduce perinatal mortality, both of which have shown great success. We wish to continue both the programs with more zeal and vigor.
The IRIA believes in the vision of Swami Vivekanand of empowering the Youth. Currently the largest population of India and that of the IRIA is the youth. To make the young radiologist come into center stage the IRIA has launched YUWA, the Youth Wing of Radiology. The biggest success story is Dr. Murali Krishna—founder of YUWA who is now the youngest secretary general of the IRIA. This year under the YUWA IRIA, we will do multiple remote radiology programs reaching the farthest corners of India. We wish to organize a humongous IRIA youth convention/youth festival in the later half of the year at a wonderful location. We wish to ignite a call for harmony among young radiologists across the country.
I whole heartedly thank Team Amritsar 2023 for organizing this academic extravaganza. It gives me immense pleasure to visit the holy land of Golden Temple.
At the outset, I have to thank my guru Dr. Satishchandra who introduced me to IRIA. I extend heartfelt gratitude to my state team Karnataka State chapter, my wonderful friends who are here, my family who have been the backbone and strength, my wife Dr. Kavitha and my children for their continued unconditional love; my college M. S. Ramaiah, my colleagues and especially my residents, who have shared and helped me achieve my goal. Now my team size has increased manifold. Each and every member of the IRIA is now a part of my team. This year we are going to have a gala time.
I would like to end my address with a shanti mantra from Yajurveda.
Om sahana vavatu, Sahanau bhunaktu, sahaviryam karvavahe, tejasvina vaditamstu, maa vidvisha vahe, Om shanti shanti shanti means
May god take care of all of us,
May he give us power to nurture together,
May we work together with great energy,
May our studies produce outstanding results and enlighten the world,
Long Live IRIA,
Dr. Umesh Krishnamurthy
President, IRIA 2023
Article published online:
26 February 2023
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