March 17, 2020

Society of Abdominal Radiology 2020: First-Time Attendee Perspective

By Mindy Wang, MD, a radiology resident at University of Texas at Houston and is incoming secretary/treasurer of the SAR RFS. You can follow her on Twitter @MindyWangMD.

As a first-year radiology resident, I had little idea of which subspecialty to pursue, let alone which conference to attend this year. Fortunately, I was immersed in abdominal radiology for my first three months and was immediately enamored. By my second month, I managed to put together two education exhibits with my attending, Steven Chua, MD, for the Society of Abdominal Radiology (SAR) conference and was accepted. I was off to paradise in Maui, Hawaii!

As I arrived at Kahului airport, I was greeted by an airport open to the ocean breeze and the shadows of the double volcanoes. Aloha! SAR was a week-long meeting filled with plenary sessions, various hands-on workshops, and scientific presentations at the beautiful Grand Wailea Maui Resort. Plenary topics varied from “Clinical Implementation of AI” to the “Best of Leadership.” Sessions ranged from 5 to 30 minutes long, and thus, many presentations were dense with high-yield points for the audience. It was an immersive learning experience and also very encouraging to see many attending and trainee radiologists from all over North America come together to learn and network with one another. I loved to see that SAR offered many disease-focused panels (DFPs) to bring together experts and early-career mentees from around the world for research collaboration and to publish evidence-based guidelines in the world of radiology and medicine. I hope I will one day be on one of those DFPs! Furthermore, SAR featured the “SAR Tank,” which highlighted exciting ideas for AI implementation and the “Unknown Case Panel,” during which attendings and residents battled over interesting cases, jeopardy style. I will never forget how a rectal cucumber versus zucchini looks on a CT!

Welcome Reception

Award Ceremony and Reception

Aside from the educational sessions, SAR provided opportunities for networking. I especially enjoyed the speed mentoring lunch and career discussion. During these sessions, residents and fellows mingled with giants in the field and heard their wisdom about a career in radiology. We even had an RFS dinner on the first day to network with fellowship program directors and learn about the fellowship application process. Additionally, we had various fun activities, including a ukulele lesson during which we learned the basics of playing and eventually learned a song.

Speed Mentoring Lunch

Career Discussion

Ukulele Lesson

All in all, SAR was a humbling, riveting, and incredible educational and networking experience. Mahalo, SAR! I cannot wait for SAR 2021 in Hollywood, FL.