The REF started in fun! In August 1996, after the Saturday radiology meeting in KEM , a few residents and Ravi and Bhavin were sitting at the “katta” having “chai”, when the usual subject of resident education came up. By and by, someone brought up the subject of having an annual resident CME on the lines of a program that Bhavin had attended at the UCSD in 1994.
Everyone thought that the logistics wouldn’t work, but Bharat Aggarwal Ravikumar and Chandrasekhar thought otherwise and convinced the rest that it would work.
The logistics were then worked out and to keep the expenses minimal, it was decided not to give food. The program was then chalked out for a full three days from 8.00AM to 8.00PM, without any of the usual frills and fancies. This also helped keep the logistics of organization within limits. The program was supposedly meant only for exam-going residents, but this landed up including all residents except first-year residents, in view of the multitude of 2-year, 3-year and 4-year programs in the country.. A few first year residents were accepted as volunteers, which surprisingly started a tradition of first-year volunteers for the RRC. The companies were contacted for monetary help and a few of them agreed. To further keep expenses to a minimum, it was agreed that only local speakers should be used (thankfully, Mumbai has a lot of talent). The speakers all agreed to deliver their multiple lectures and surprisingly even agreed to hand in their course material on time. Thus was born the 1st Residents’ Review Course (RRC).
Bharat, Chandu and Ravikumar worked hard for the program. Ravi and Bhavin worked on the scientific part. We were really worried about speakers keeping to time, considering that Indian speakers are notorious about time-limits. Ravi had this great idea of a step-down digital clock which would start from 30 or 45 minutes and go down to zero, thus allowing the speaker to maintain his/her timing. We managed to get such a clock from Dadar and its been with us through all the programs. We managed to restrict all the speakers to within 1-2 minutes of their scheduled times.
The Tata Memorial Hospital (TMH) auditorium was chosen for its central location. The programs were sent out in October. We expected not more than 100 residents to attend, but 267 finally landed up, 188 from outside Mumbai. This took us by complete surprise. The Tata auditorium however is a terrific place for audiences upto 300 in number and this helped us a lot. We started and ended absolutely on time, which was a first for Indian conferences. We managed to publish a 150 page course material on time, which is now incidentally completely sold out. During the program we had mandatory assessment slips to be filled up and the comments make us realize that a program such as this should be continued and should not be a one-time event. Little did we know what was to happen.
In January 1997, from the savings of the course, we started the Radiology Education Foundation, a not-for-profit charitable trust foundation, with 80-G income-tax exemption. We chalked out an ambitious plan for the 1997-1998 year and held a Neuroradiology Review Course in September 1997, the 2nd Residents’ Review Course in November 1997 and an Advanced CT Review Course in March 1998. All these were big successes. In between, we also had one-day meetings at KEM Hospital on “Orbital Imaging” and “Portal Hypertension “.
After the March 1998 course, we took a breather and decided not to do anything till the 3rd RRC. In October 1998, we had the 3rd Residents’ Review Course, where we introduced many firsts. We started posters on various topics by the residents and going by the responses, we will be making this an integral part of our program from the 4th RRC onwards. We also started the “REF scholarships”. Two scholars were decided on the basis of a quiz, conducted by Dr. Prashant Shetty which ran for three days, starting with a written eliminations on Thursday evening, a semi-finals on Friday evening and a finals on Saturday evening. Dr. Sanjeeva Prasad and Dr. Roy D’Souza won the first and second prize respectively. Sanjeeva won a free full-expenses paid trip the RSNA conference in Nov 1999 and Roy, a full-expenses paid trip to the IRIA national conference at Bhopal, in Jan 2000. Another first was expansion of the REF to include Nepal (2 delegates) and Sri Lanka (1 delegate). Hopefully, Pakistan and Bangladesh residents will also participate from the next program onwards. We also started giving mini-lunches (which increased our popularity with the residents).
In 1999 we have had two programs, the Advanced Ultrasound Review Course and the 4th Residents Review Course. Both were big successes. The highlight of the ultrasound course were the workshops. The prize winners in the 4th Residents’ Review Course were Dr. D Rajamagesh from Madurai and Dr. Vyankatesh Aironi from Sholapur.
In 2000, we started the year with the Chest Radiology Review Course which focussed only on Chest Radiology. The quiz prize (a four volume set of Fraser & Pare) was won by Roy D’Souza. In May 2000, we then held the 2nd Advanced Ultrasound Review Course, which again was a major success. This course was modelled on the lines of the first one.
Our 5th Residents’ Review Course was held from 18-21 October, 2000. As usual it was an overwhelming success. The first prize winner was Dr. Prasad Beeraka from Nizam’s Hyderabad and the second prize winner was Dr. Anand Rahalkar from Pune. In 2001, in May, the “Tuberculosis Radiology Review Course” was held. This was attended by around 250 delegates and the lectures were spread over three days.
Radbytes , a conceptually completely different program was held on Aug 25, 26, 2001 with good support from the industry. Around 110 delegates attended this two day session on computers and radiology with a significant focus on DICOM, workstations, PACS, etc.
The 6th Residents’ Review Course was held from 01 to 04 Nov, 2001. The prize winners were Dr. Kartik Ram and Dr. Jyoti Kumar . The prize was named this year “The Prashant Shetty REF Memorial Quiz Award” in honor of Dr. Prashant Shetty who is no more among us.
There were a large number of meetings organized in the first half of 2002. It started with the Chest Radiology Review Course in February, followed by the Shoulder and Knee Imaging program in March and the MRI Review Course in April. In May 2002, the 3rd Advanced Ultrasound Review Course was held.
Our 7th consecutive year of “7th Residents Review Course” was held from 9th to 12th Oct ’03, the 3rd Quiz prize winner was Dr Shikha Panwar.
Following with the “1st Breast Imaging Course- Basic concept”, held on 8th Nov 2003 about 150 people attended the Breast program, especially the interaction with the surgeons was good, and both the programs were a success.
The year 2004 went on with the five successive programs starting with the “Musculoskeletal Radiology – A Session with Dr Donald Resnick”, which was on 8th January 2004, over 150 Radiologist & Orthopeadics surgeon attended the CME, and this CME was on basic topics such as Arthritidies, bone tumors and degenerative spine diseases.
Another two in the mid of the year, first of all the “2nd Advance MRI Review Course” on 19th – 21st March ’04. Advanced MRI topics discussed included cardiac & vascular MRI, newer issues in Neuroradiology & Obstetric MRI, Abdominal MRI, MRCP, etc. Around 250 radiologists attended this meet and the clinical interactions were well received.
Secondly the “4th Advanced Ultrasound Review Course” 2 day program which went off well on 26th & 27th of June and was exclusively sponsored by Wipro GE, with the limitation of just 40 registrants who were pleased at the close interaction that they could have with the speakers. Both of these programs were of immense success.
We also had one day meet at KEM hosp on “Pediatric Neuroradiology CME” on 11th of August ’04.The year ended with our “8th Residents Review Course’04”, with the overwhelming response of the residents attending from all over the country, the 1st Quiz Prize winner Dr Avinash K R won a sponsored trip to Vienna for the ECR 2006 meet & the 2nd Prize winner Dr Pushpender Gupta won a Sponsored trip to Chennai for the IRIA conf.
In the year 2005 we had five programs in a row starting with one day CME, the “Pediatric Neuroradiology & Abdominal CME”, on 20th of Jan’05, followed by the “3rd Chest Radiology Review Course” held on 30th April & 1st May 2005 with more than 250 delegates attending the program at KEM MLT, next was the “2nd Breast Radiology Course” one day CME on 9th of July’05 at P D Hinduja National hospital Auditorium.
Subsequently our first ever program on “1st Cardiac CT & MRI course” was held on 19th -21st Aug at May fair Rooms was a huge success, sponsored by Siemens India Ltd. Later in the end of the year the “9th Residents Review Course” was held on 13th – 16th Oct 2005, the 1st & 2nd Quiz Prize winner of the 9th Residents’ Review Course were Dr Gopinathan K & Dr Shaile Choudhary respectively. Soon after that was the half-day CME on 26th Oct ’05 the “Advance Neuro Updates” at MLT KEM hospital. These entire year programs were a big success.