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By Erica Alexander MS4, Sun H. Ahn MD
This past weekend Brown University’s Vascular and Interventional Radiology Interest Group hosted its third annual VIR symposium. Attendees included medical and undergraduate students from across the country who convened in Providence, RI for the half-day event. We’re fortunate to have an incredibly supportive IR department at Brown with attendings who are eager to mentor and teach medical students. The staff lecturers included fellows and attendings who discussed topics ranging from peripheral arterial disease, women’s health, interventional oncology, and neurointerventional radiology.
The benefit of having three iterations of this conference is that we have been able to improve upon the experience each year to better suit the interests and education of attendees. We have shortened the length and number of lectures and have increased the time dedicated to our simulation session and resident and fellow panel. Lecturers were encouraged to incorporate media elements into their talks and to ensure that it was accessible to students of all education backgrounds. The simulation session is always the most highly received component of the event, so we lengthened it to two hours. Students rotated through dedicated stations, which included: microwave ablation of a cow liver, IVC filter deployment and retrieval, DVT percutaneous pharmacomechanical thrombectomy, ultrasound guided biopsy, stent deployment, angioplasty, coil embolization, and selective catheter work in a home-made vascular model. The popularity of the simulations session was driven by the active participation by the students after a short demonstration and explanation by the instructors.
The event ended with a resident and fellow Q&A panel, where attendees inquired about the new pathway, competitiveness of diagnostic and interventional radiology, and discussed ways to enhance their competitiveness as future applicants. We found that having slides dedicated to the new American College of Graduate Medical Education IR residency is helpful for students. The proposed curricula changes and models for the new residency compared to the previous training paradigm were topics of much interest.
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