By Roberto Luigi Cazzato, MD, PhD
University Hospital of Strasbourg
Since its genesis in the ‘60s, interventional radiology (IR) has considerably developed, with a growing number and variety of image-guided procedures. Nowadays, there is no single organ that could not be approached with at least one IR procedure, which explains the reason why all the multidisciplinary staffs are constantly advocating for an interventionalist to take part to. Moreover, interventionalists are starting to run out- and in-patient clinics, which substantially increases their clinical burden. Nevertheless, to push further the development of IR, interventionalists definitively need to address several still unmet challenges including lack in many areas of IR-tailored reimbursements, lack of robust data supporting IR treatments within national and international guidelines, lack of direct patients’ referral, etc.
To afford all these challenges along with the increasing clinical burden, there is one only action to take: invest in youth (!), since any society lacking new energies is a dead society!
Investing in youth practically means to:
a) increase the number of radiologists pursuing an IR career; and
b) structure and ameliorate the IR education pathway through Europe.
In this perspective, CIRSE and its European Trainee Forum (ETF) have been working very hard to drive this youth-oriented vision. As non-exhaustive examples, one could notice that around 200 medical students take part every year to the CIRSE annual meeting; or that an active promotion of the European Board of Interventional Radiology (EBIR) exam is constantly conducted among young interventionalists with the intent of providing them with an official and standardized tool they can use to affirm themselves as the “maîtres” of the discipline on a national and international basis.
However, these inspirational drivers are a “drop in the ocean”, and the contribution of all of us is needed to positively impact both the number of future interventionalists and the quality of their education. In this perspective, simple actions such as mentoring a medical student during its training in our departments may have huge impacts! So, the time to act is now and the responsibility of the future developments of our discipline is in our hands! No doubt that thinking and acting collectively with a pronounced youth-oriented vision will substantially contribute to positively shape the bright future IR is destined to.