IVP Team Teaches, Learns from Radiology Residents in Chile

Santiago, Chile, was the destination for a trio of RSNA International Visiting Professors in 2015

Although private healthcare in Santiago, Chile, shares similarities with U.S. healthcare, three radiologists who recently visited the city as part of the RSNA International Visiting Professor (IVP) program also discovered some unexpected differences during their October trip.

“As visiting professors, one of the most interesting parts of the trip was the cases presented by residents,” said Evan Unger, M.D., a professor of radiology and biomedical engineering at the University of Arizona. “We saw very different cases involving infectious diseases including hydatid cyst disease and unusual manifestations of tuberculosis which we don’t generally see in the U.S.”

Dr. Unger is one of three U.S. doctors who visited Santiago for two weeks as part of the RSNA IVP program, which annually sends teams of professors to lecture at national radiology society meetings and visit radiology residency training programs at selected host institutions in developing nations. The two-week trip was hosted by Sociedad Chilena de Radiología (SOCHRADI, the Chilean Society of Radiology).

The doctors learned about the state of healthcare in Chile in various public and private institutions, said Dr. Abid Irshad, M.D., a professor of radiology and director of breast imaging at the Medical University of South Carolina in Charleston. While private hospitals are very similar to most private U.S. hospitals, public healthcare facilities in Chile are operating with limited resources in many cases, Dr. Irshad said.

There is a significant difference in the public and private sector as far as the services available, with the public sector often facing a shortage of resources,” Dr. Irshad said. “Additionally, there are long wait times for the imaging in public hospitals—often months.”

“The care in the public hospitals was very good and based on modern medical teaching and technique—however the imaging equipment was quite limited,” said John Bayne Selby, M.D., a professor of Medicine, Division of Vascular/Interventional Radiology, Department of Radiology at the Medical University of South Carolina in Charleston. “One public hospital had no angiography room and the other had one angiography room shared by all specialties.”

IVP Team Teaches at Joint Resident Academic Meeting

Compared to the U.S., resident training is markedly different in Chile. Medical school starts after high school and lasts seven years, while the last two years are devoted to a clinical internship, Dr. Irshad said.

Radiology residency is three years while most fellowships are one year (neuroradiology and interventional radiology are two years). Nevertheless, only 10 to 20 percent of residents participate in fellowships, primarily because radiology is in extreme demand and residents are needed on the job.

Most residents receive a modest salary and often face a very difficult, competitive road, said Dr. Selby, who also participated in an RSNA IVP trip to Thailand several years ago.

“The majority end up working in other parts of the country, at least for a while as a payback process,” he said.

The IVP team taught at two of the largest radiology residency programs—Hospital Clínico Universidad de Chile (Universidad de Chile) and Hospital Padre Hurtado (Universidad de Desarrollo), said Claudio Silva, M.D., MS.c., the local liaison for IVP Chile 2015 for SOCHRADI and academic director of the Radiology Department, Medical School Clinica Alemana—Universidad del Desarrollo, in Santiago.

A rotating schedule allowed the professors to spend an equivalent amount of time in each institution, Dr. Silva said.

“They gave lectures followed by case discussions with the active participation of our residents,” Dr. Silva said. “Residents had the opportunity to present selected cases to the professors and discuss the diagnostic approach for each one.”

The doctors also participated in the first-ever joint resident academic meeting between these institutions. All residents from both programs met in an auditorium at Clinica Alemana (campus for Universidad del Desarrollo) for lectures by the professors, followed by case presentations by residents/fellows which the professors discussed, Dr. Silva said.

“It was a very novel occasion with strong participation,” Dr. Silva said. “The residents are enthusiastic to repeat such an activity.”

The IVP team also presented lectures at the local radiological meeting where the more than 600 participants broke an attendance record. “All of their lectures were of the highest quality and very engaging,” Dr. Silva said.

“The performance of the professors both in small groups and in the larger radiological meeting was of high academic quality, very goal-oriented and highly professional,” Dr. Silva said. “Residents and fellows were very comfortable engaging with them.”

The residents, said Dr. Unger, were “bright, energetic and highly motivated.”

IVP Team Takes in Sights, Sounds of Chile

While the group devoted a lot of time to work, the IVP team was also able to experience Santiago’s remarkable local color. They rode subways and bicycles, visited the coast and snow skied. Dr. Selby and his wife even extended their stay.

“My wife and I took extra time and went south to Patagonia where we saw condors, guanacos (similar to an alpaca), huge Andes mountain peaks and did some amazing hiking and kayaking,” Dr. Selby said. “This was a great international experience and Chile is now one of our favorite countries.”

The Chileans also invited the doctors to a number of delicious dinners hosted by Dr. Silva. “We left with a very warm feeling about Chile and look forward to continuing interactions with our Chilean colleagues,” Dr. Unger said.

Past IVP teams have traveled to Malaysia, Brazil, Nepal, Vietnam and Russia. In 2016, the team will travel to Mexico, Mongolia, the Philippines, and Ghana.


Web Extras

  • For more information on the RSNA International Visiting Professors (IVP) program, go to RSNA.org/International