- MD, FRCPC
- Radiologist in Chief, Ontasian Chair of Pediatric Imaging, Staff Neuroradiologist, Hospital for Sick Children (SickKids), Toronto, Canada Professor of Radiology, Department of Medical Imaging, University of Toronto
It gives me great pleasure to write about the Radiology Education Foundation (REF). It started sometime in 1996 and has since made a tremendous impact on radiology education in India, initially for residents and then later for others who are in practice. During that time and before that time, there was very little targeted teaching for radiology residents. A very small number of institutions did very well and trained their radiology residents at par with the best in the world, but the vast majority of the radiology teaching programs in India suffered from a lack of good sincere teachers and residents were left on their own to seek education and training.
I was involved in the REF in those early days giving lectures on CT and MRI on topics related to neuroradiology. I vividly remember when I went to one of the first Resident’s Review Course in 1996. I was blown away with the attendance in the auditorium at Tata Memorial Hospital – it was packed with residents from all corners of India. There were a number of people standing at the back and some sitting on the aisles. The atmosphere was charged with a hunger for learning. I think in the beginning many of us gave many lectures, and it was lot of work. It was very tremendously satisfying and a lot of fun. With the REF, Bhavin and Ravi started a movement on radiology education which still rolls on successfully.
There was no politics, no ego, just pure interactions on radiology knowledge. Interacting with residents eager to learn, taught many who came there to teach. In my opinion, radiology education in India was forced to change for the better with the success of these REF programs. Bhavin and Ravi through the REF have kept up with the innovations in Radiology Education over the years. The website has evolved, the quiz goes on and it is great to see the REF scholars program going on.
REF continues it innovations, and have started an *“In-Reach Program”* for Radiology Education in India. This is a great opportunity for radiologists from the Western world traveling back to India for social reasons or tourism to give back a little. I have personally taken advantage of this with my personal connections with Bhavin and Ravi- and it is a fantastic academic and social experience. Now there is a formal structure to do this. Whether you are traveling to a major city in India or a smaller city, REF will connect you with a local counterpart, who will take care of the co-ordination of the local organization for the program, whether it be one lecture or a series of lectures. I urge those who are in academic centres or even those in private practice and sincerely interested in teaching to take advantage of this program. You cannot go wrong on this.