RSNA Visiting Professors Leave Impact on Ghana, Mexico, Mongolia, Philippinese

RSNA’s Visiting Professors gave lectures, visited hospitals and offered hands-on-teaching to radiology students during their 2016 trips

No matter which country RSNA’s International Visiting Professors (IVP) visit, the response they receive is always the same.

“The residents are always so thrilled that we are coming to lecture to them,” said Anne Roberts, MD, chief of vascular and interventional radiology, University of California, San Diego, a member of the IVP team that traveled to Ghana in February. “They are so appreciative.”

Since 1987, RSNA’s IVP program has been sending radiologists to developing countries to lecture at the conventions of host radiology societies and to visit radiology training programs in local hospitals. Along with Ghana, IVP teams traveled to the Philippines, Mexico and Mongolia in 2016.

While earlier IVP visits were concentrated on conventional lectures, the format has evolved and is now a combination of one-on-one teaching, lectures and hands-on teaching, said Teresita Angtuaco, MD, part of the IVP team that traveled to the Philippines and former chair of RSNA’s Committee on International Radiology Education (CIRE), which administers the IVP program.

IVP Professors Speak to Packed Venues

In Mexico, which is visited annually by an IVP team, radiologists spoke to packed houses during their September visit. Approximately 400 trainees and radiologists filled the lecture hall at the National Meeting of the Mexican Society of Radiology to hear IVP team member Vikram Dogra, MD, lecture on ultrasound and urology.

“It’s very important for RSNA to be involved in Mexico because they are our neighbors,” said Dr. Dogra, director of the Division of Ultrasound at the University of Rochester Medical Center, New York.

For the IVP program’s February trip to the Philippines, crowds turned out to hear professors lecture at the convention of the Philippine College of Radiology in the capital city of Manila.

Along with Dr. Angtuaco, the IVP Philippines team included Sheila Sheth, MD, associate professor of radiology and radiological science at Johns Hopkins, Baltimore, Md., and Robert Harris, MD, professor of radiology and obstectrics and gynecology at Dartmouth College, Hanover, New Hampshire.

“Residents in the Philippines are so hungry to learn,” said Dr. Angtuaco, professor of radiology, obstetrics and gynecology, chief of ultrasound and director of the Division of Imaging at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences, Little Rock. “Many traveled all day just to come to a lecture.

“Local societies plan their hospital visits,” she said. “The Philippine College of Radiology decided to have their residents present cases to us. We were very impressed with their presentation skills and their ability to research a topic and work up the case.”

Overcoming Difficult Conditions

During the September IVP trip to Mongolia, the team lectured to approximately 200 attendees at the Mongolian Congress of Radiology (MCR), sponsored by the Mongolian Radiology Society (MRS).

“They were very excited to have RSNA radiologists at the Congress,” said Carlos Torres, MD, former program director of neuroradiology at the University of Ottawa and part of the IVP team that visited Mongolia in September and attended the MCR. “They dedicated a full day to us with the title: MRS meets RSNA. Dr. Gonchigsuren, president of the Mongolian Society of Radiology, called it a historic event.”

Along with Dr. Torres, the Mongolia team included RSNA past-president Theresa C. McLoud, MD, thoracic radiologist and program director and vice chair for education at Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston, and Muşturay Karçaaltincaba, MD, professor of radiology and chief of CT at the Hacettepe University School of Medicine in Ankara, Turkey.

When visiting local hospitals in Mongolia, the disparities between the private and the public healthcare systems as well as the strengths and the limitations of radiology education in the host country was clear to IVP team members.

“The Mongolian private healthcare system is like North America with top-notch technology,” Dr. Torres said. “Government hospitals, however, mainly offer the basic modalities: x-rays, ultrasound, and CT and there is limited access to MRI. The radiology residents are predominantly observing throughout their training, with a perceived lack of hands-on experience.”

Still, he said members of the Mongolian Society of Radiology — established in 1994 — are young and eager to learn.

“We tried to fill in some of the gaps by optimizing their MR protocols and providing teaching sessions to the residents and sharing our expertise with the radiology staff,” Dr. Torres said. “It was a beautiful experience that had a significant impact on their society.”

“I think the trip was quite successful,” Dr. McLoud said. “Mongolian radiology needs more subspecialty expertise and a major change in its residency and improvements in infrastructure and equipment. I think our advice and expertise were very useful.”

Dr. Roberts said conditions were similar in Ghana: private sector hospitals were fully equipped while public institutions relied mainly on ultrasound.

“In the public hospitals, CT scanners didn’t work because the power goes on and off randomly and it fries the electronics,” she said. “There were no surge protectors or maintenance agreements.”

Despite difficult conditions, the visiting professors had praise for the practicing radiologists and the trainees they met.

“The residents were amazing,” said Dr. Roberts, who was able to demonstrate catheterization on a 3-D model of a vascular system made by a U.S. radiology resident. “Education is limited so students learn from senior residents and put a lot of time and effort into the process. Residents use the internet a lot for learning and the RSNA website is very popular.”

Soaking Up the Local Color

Between lecturing at national conferences and spending time with trainees during hospital visits, the visiting professors put in long days while abroad.

Nevertheless, time for cultural immersion and exploring the host countries is built into each IVP trip. For Dr. Torres and colleagues, that meant traveling the grasslands where Genghis Khan once ruled, trekking to monasteries and riding a two-hump camel.

“It was a unique experience,” Dr. Torres said. “A great combination of culture, academics and history.”

Dr. Angtuaco and fellow travelers spent time island hopping, dining on Lapu-Lapu, a local fish named for a local chief who defeated the Spanish, and joining performers in a native dance.

“We’ve invested a lot of resources in education and it resonates with these countries.”

Agfa Healthcare and Fujifilm Medical Systems are supporters of the RSNA IVP program.

RSNA Seeks IVP Host Countries

National radiology societies located in developing countries — or primarily serving those countries — are invited to apply to host an RSNA International Visiting Professor (IVP) team.

The host society will be responsible for organizing visits to local hospitals that have active radiology training programs with the need and potential for educational enrichment from a visiting professor team. If applicable, the team will also lecture at the host’s national radiology meeting.

Host societies are expected to provide hotel accommodations and meals for the IVP team for the duration of their visit and communicate program, schedule and hospitality arrangements to the team members and RSNA staff.

The deadline to apply for the 2018 IVP program is Dec. 31, 2016. Find more information and download the applications at

Become an International Visiting Professor

RSNA is looking for engaging radiologists from around the world who have a passion for teaching to become International Visiting Professors. For more information and to fill out  an application, go to