This episode of RSNA history discusses the meetings that took place in the early 1980s. It also highlights the rule of the Society in delivering educational content to cover all radiology sub-specialties.
The 1970s was a golden period for radiology. A number of medical imaging procedures appeared for the first time such as CT, nuclear medicine, MRI in addition to interventional radiology. The fast development of radiology slowed down relatively during the 1980s. This was a result of increased concentration on a new disease, the Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome or AIDS, which was severely destroying the immune system of the body.
On the other hand, RSNA management discussed extending its educational role beyond the scientific assembly. The editor of educational of RSNA, William J. Tuddenham, M.D., discussed with RSNA Board of Directors and Adele Swenson, RSNA’s Executive Director, the idea of releasing a new journal. This journal was going to promote continuing medical education (CME) via studying at home or office. Dr. Tuddenham mentioned that such a journal would be more accessible than audiotapes or other educational tools. He added that the new journal would aid in promoting CME on international scale.
With the help of a volunteering editorial team, Dr. Tuddenham released the first issue of the new publication. Its name was RadioGraphics and it appeared for the first time in May 1981. The journal had content discussing the technical exhibits taking place during the 67th Scientific Assembly and Annual Meeting in Chicago. The high qualified material published in RadioGraphics resulted in quick success of the journal among radiologists.
RSNA and Computer-dependent Advances
The RSNA meeting in 1981 took place at Chicago’s at McCormick Place. The meeting focused on showing how advances in radiology have started to depend mainly on computer technology. Attendees were informed how a CT device could be used for enhancing planning of radiotherapy in addition to its main task as a diagnostic tool. Attendees also saw how the hardware was used in digital subtraction angiography. The procedure includes removing sections of anatomical structures form an image for better view.
Laurens Ackerman, M.D., a radiologist with experience in using computers in radiology, mentioned that hardware and software computer solutions were not designed according to a universal standard. Therefore, he expected that this situation would result in technical issues during information transfer due to lack of communication between different computers.
Theodore A. Tristan, M.D., the President of RSNA 1982 meeting, and the Board of Directors realized how radiology and medical imaging were gaining increased importance in diagnosis and treatment. Therefore, they decided to improve the quality of images published in Radiology to keep gaining the interest of the journal’s readers. Throughout 1982, Editor William R. Eyler, M.D., Managing Editor Donald A. Stewart, Adele Swenson, and a team from Mack Printing, discussed how to enhance the printed quality of the images published in Radiology. The layout of the journal was also re-designed.
RSNA and sub-specialization
RSNA leaders started to realize that with the rapid advances in radiology, radiologists would not have experience in all the practice sub-specialties. During the 1980s, more than 30 organizations where addressing sub-specialties in radiology, such as the Society of Gastrointestinal Radiologists, the Society for Pediatric Radiology, and the Computerized Radiology Society. The subspecialty classification took place according to several criteria, such as the age of patient, the used imaging technique, or body system being imaged.
Aiming to continue to offering educational services to radiology as a general practice and its sub-specialties, RSNA leading officials decided to cover and represent all radiology subspecialties in RSNA committees and the editorial boards of Radiology and RadioGraphics. RSNA Board of Directors continued to communicate with other radiology sub-specialty organizations to conduct special RSNA refresher courses, scientific sessions and exhibits addressing each subspecialty. RSNA also offered its support to newer organizations, such as American Association for Women Radiologists, to aid them in becoming effective members in the radiology community.
The RSNA 1983 meeting took place at McCormick Place in Chicago. The event management provided, for the first time, an official printed program, in addition to a special issue of Radiology. The journal was sent to all RSNA members along wth the subscribers of Radiology so scientific material of the RSNA meeting was accessible to the largest possible number of readers.