Learning Across Borders

The AIRP® rad-path course sees success in Bangkok, bringing educational content to colleagues abroad.

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Since its inception, the American Institute of Radiologic Pathology (AIRP®) leadership and faculty have sought to expand the rad-path correlation course into developing countries. Moved under the ACR’s purview in 2011 to further rad-path training for residents, fellows, and practicing radiologists, the institute’s goals are going global to provide wider, easier access to radiologists around the world.

According to Carl Williams, course administrator for the AIRP, “Efforts abroad started simply, with AIRP faculty participating in annual meetings in other countries. However, the leaders wanted to do something more meaningful.” And so the AIRP leadership began looking beyond the borders of the U.S. to teach condensed radpath courses to residents and practicing radiologists who couldn’t attend the four-week course in Silver Spring, Md.

Heading to Bangkok

Donald E. Hatley Jr., director of the AIRP, explains, “We saw a need to offer an AIRP course in Asia because we knew radiologists in neighboring countries without adequate medical education and finances would travel to be a part of it.” In 2016, the AIRP began its first-ever mini-course in Bangkok, affording residents and practicing radiologists the chance to benefit from the rad-path curriculum.

According to Hatley, Thailand was a natural fit for adapting the four-week course because of the need for and interest in rad-path education. “It can be difficult for the radiologists in Thailand, logistically and financially, to take an entire month off work to attend one of the courses in Maryland,” says Hatley.

Anchalee Churojana, MD, president of the Royal College of Radiology Thailand (RCRT), says that currently, radiologists in Thailand receive additional education via fellowship in one of four specialties: neuroimaging, body imaging, interventional neuroradiology, and body intervention.Typically, those who work at a very big hospital or a training institute seek further education abroad. Physicians may also earn CME at meetings hosted by  universities, RCRT, as well as various radiology societies.

Delving Into the Mini-Course

To bring the rad-path curriculum to Thai radiologists in need of more training, the AIRP partnered with the RCRT. They adapted the original four-week course to a new schedule, with four shorter four-day sessions taught in a two-year cycle. Under this format, about 75 percent of the AIRP’s original four-week course content is included. 

Churojana notes that this adaptation of the original AIRP course has been incredibly valuable to attendees in countries such as Thailand. “Each four-day course is composed of content in two subspecialties. Therefore, one cycle will include all eight specialties in diagnostic radiology, similar to the main course in the U.S.,” Churojana says.

In the past, the AIRP ran other two- or three-day courses in the Asia-Pacific region. However, this lengthened course allows attendees to benefit from sessions like “Pulmonary Hypertension,” “CT and Radiation Dose Issues,” and “Smoking-Related Lung Injury.” According to Hatley, the last session drew attendees from the Philippines, Myanmar, and Australia.

Looking Ahead

The correlation course is about to begin its second cycle, and Churojana and Hatley are thrilled with its success to date. “This course can fill the gap of how pathology helps radiologists to understand and interpret imaging studies better,” Churojana says.

Mark D. Murphey, MD, FACR, professor of radiology at the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences in Bethesda, Md., and physician-in-chief at the AIRP, believes the course in Thailand has been a rewarding experience for the faculty and course attendees. “This course allows the AIRP, in joint venture with the RCRT, to share the concepts and importance of rad-path correlation to our colleagues in Southeast Asia,” he says.

Hatley agrees. He says the AIRP is currently in discussions to expand the stand-alone course in China, Brazil, and Australia. “It’s a model we want to use in other regions,” Hatley says. His team is working with local societies to accomplish this and expects to announce more offerings soon. “Ultimately,” Hatley adds, “it’s about getting this education out into the world.”

 By Alyssa Martino, freelance writer, ACR Press

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