Vanderbilt IRIG Symposium – May 2014

Our IR interest group was started in fall of 2013 at Vanderbilt. Our latest meeting was held in May 2014, led by medical students Shawn Barton, Kareem William, and Mary Ellen Koran. We had three vendors bring in their latest technologies in cryo, radiofrequency, and microwave ablation techniques, which students were able to test out on cow livers we purchased from a local butcher.


We had over 30 medical students from Vanderbilt University and Meharry Medical schools attend as well as current IR residents, attendings, and several professors from the Vanderbilt Engineering School.

Here is our advice for anyone interested in this kind of event:

Early (months out):

  • Have a team of students (3-5) working on this project so one person doesn’t get swamped
  • Identify a primary faculty member to lead the event (our primary was Dr. Dan Brown, chief of Interventional Oncology) – contact this faculty member EARLY, we got in touch with Dr. Brown in December and he gave us the month that would be best for him
  • Invite residents interested in IR and fellows (two residents came and helped at the stations, David Johnson and Chris Beck)
  • Find out what contacts your faculty has at companies and contact the companies early to get them to come out to your event
  • Make sure you get the proper approval for having vendors come onto campus
  • Use your medical school’s calendar to pick an optimal day for the students (avoid tests and school breaks) and make sure that most of the other faculty in your department will not be out of town that day
  • Most of our faculty have children and want to be home to see them, we had our event start at 5:30 and end at 7 and we had 5 faculty come (Drs. Dan Brown, Geoff Wile, Asma Ahmad, Andrew Lipnik, Reed Omary (chair of Radiology))
  • Call a local butcher and get an estimate on liver cost (we got 3 livers (cow livers are huge!) and it was more than enough)
  • Figure out where to have the event (our histology lab worked well) and reserve it

Week of event:

  • Send out an email a week before with RSVP so you know how many to expect
  • ind out what each company is bringing with them and what they expect you to provide for them (we provided scalpels and saline)
  • Coordinate when representatives are coming and make sure students are available to help move equipment
  • Pick up the livers and have somewhere to store them and throw them away! we talked with our anatomy teachers and stored them in one of their refrigerators and worked with them to get them disposed of
  • Have something to put the livers on at the event (the light blue and white pads used in anatomy worked for us) and have scalpels for each station

Day of event:

  • Send email out to medical school night before the event
  • Start off the event with a short (15 minute) talk about ablation techniques in medicine
  • Have the vendors spread out some (they’re doing this for education but they are still competing companies)
  • Divide students into groups
  • The faculty wanted to see all the new technology too, so we had them go to the station they were interested in and talk to students there
  • Students rotate after 20 minutes to each station
  • Remember to have someone take pictures!
  • After the event is over, clean the work stations and dispose of the livers as directed