ESNR Presidential Address

19/10/2016 : ESNR Presidential Address

I am honored to become ESNR’s 19th president, 47 years after the naming of its first President, Dr. George B. Ziedses des Plantes, and 12 years since another Spanish neuroradiologist, Dr. Jordi Ruscalleda, occupied this position. 

Assuming the presidency of ESNR is certainly a huge responsibility and a challenging task, and despite being a bit nervous, I am excited and full of enthusiasm for the job ahead.  The work of my predecessors, the creative input and energy of my colleagues on the Executive Committee, and the professionalism and efficiency of the ESNR staff at the Central Office will clearly facilitate my task.

ESNR is in good health. Membership in our society has grown from 315 paying members 10 years ago to almost 1300 individual members today. Moreover, more than 2800 institutional members from 25 countries are now represented in the ESNR Institutional Members Council. The Society’s financial situation is also quite sound, enabling ESNR to promote educational, scientific, and research activities among our members.

The excellent educational and certification programmes provided by ESNR are one reason for the almost exponential increase in the membership to our society. In fact, our postgraduate educational program in diagnostic, paediatric, spinal, and interventional neuroradiology is probably the best in Radiology and the envy of other European radiological societies. I believe this may be the most important achievement of the Society in the last few years, and I must acknowledge the keen vision of Professor Marco Leonardi as the founder of this great programme.

Within the educational programme, the European Course of Neuroradiology (ECNR) is our most important activity. The 14th cycle of ECNR, under the Chair of Majda Thurnher and Johan van Goethem, was initiated in October 2016, in Dubrovnik (Croatia). More than 320 students from 51 countries (88 students from 23 non-European countries) attended the first module of this 14th cycle, reflecting the high scientific level and excellent organization of the ECNR.

The ESNR has also been active in other areas. In 2008, thanks to the efforts of many members of the society, the Division of Neuroradiology was created at the UEMS (Union Européenne des Médecins Spécialistes). Without a doubt, this achievement reflects the recognition of Neuroradiology as a radiological subspecialty with specific and well-defined characteristics. One of the objectives of my presidency is to improve our relations with the UEMS Division of Neuroradiology, as this will facilitate homogenization of neuroradiology training and practice across Europe, in both diagnostic and interventional areas. More recently, ESNR created the European Board of Neuroradiology (EBNR), presently chaired by Professor Turgut Tali, which has as its core activity organizing examinations that lead to certificates and diplomas in the field of Neuroradiology. The vital mission of EBNR is to establish the European Diploma in Neuroradiology as an internationally recognized certificate of neuroradiological excellence.

We have also strengthened our relations with other societies, and in particular with the European Society of Radiology (ESR), whose current president, Professor Paul Parizel, is a neuroradiologist and past president of ESNR. We are collaborating with ESR in several educational, scientific, and professional activities, with the main purposes of defending neuroradiology, both diagnostic and interventional, as a unified radiological subspecialty, and in promoting education and research in our field.  

Our current relationships with other scientific societies, such as the American Society of Neuroradiology (ASNR), American Society of Spine Radiology (ASSR), American Society for Paediatric Neuroradiology (ASPNR), and European Society of Head and Neck Radiology (ESHNR), are focussed on learning from each other. To facilitate this goal, we are organizing joint sessions with some of these societies in our Annual Meetings. Recently, we created a Latin American-European Course of Neuroradiology (LATAM-ECNR) in collaboration with the Sociedade Paulista de Radiologia, which will be organized in Sao Paolo (Brazil) over the next four years.  The objective of these efforts by ESNR are to promote Neuroradiology across Europe and in other areas of the world, and to take the lead in education, science, and the professional issues that affect our specialty.

The most important activity of our society is our ESNR Annual Meeting. Another important task of my presidency is to increase the attendance and scientific level of this meeting, and to improve its organization. To accomplish this, we have established new, more transparent rules for organizing the Congress, which have the purpose of objectively selecting the most appropriate venue and Congress president, and providing a highly attractive scientific programme.

This coming year, the ESNR Annual Meeting will take place in Malmo, Sweden (13-17 September, 2017) under the presidency of Professor Pia Sundgren. Professor Sundgren and the members of the ESNR Scientific Programme Committee have worked hard to provide a compelling programme. They have succeeded in putting together an excellent scientific programme and I expect a high attendance, not only of ESNR members but also of other specialists interested in neuroradiology.

Finally, I would like to briefly comment on the situation of our official journal, Neuroradiology. Professor Guido Wilms has been the Editor-in-Chief for the last 6 years. He did an excellent job, in particular at this difficult time when there is a great deal of competition from other journals and other types of publishing resources. At the same time, I would like to welcome the new Editor-in-Chief, Professor Rüdiger von Kummer, a well-known neuroradiologist with an outstanding scientific background and previous experience in editorial tasks. One of the objectives of the new Editor-in-Chief is to make Neuroradiology a real challenger to other neuroradiological journals by increasing the number of editorials on hot topics, pros-and-cons debates, and state-of-the-art reviews. By continually alerting the radiologic and neuroscience community to new publications in Neuroradiology, the visibility of our official journal will improve. The final goal is to increase the scientific quality of the journal, and attract young and senior neuroradiologists from all over the world to publish their research there. We cannot ignore that a significant percentage of the research currently performed in neuroradiology is led by professionals other than neuroradiologists and published in non-radiological journals. The only way to reverse this situation is to promote research activities among our members and increase the quality of our journal and Annual Congress.

Let me conclude this presidential address by inviting all ESNR members to participate in our activities and in the organization of our society. It will be a pleasure for me and for all ESNR executive members to receive any suggestions you consider relevant.

With your support and active participation, I am fully convinced that we will be able to further improve our already successful society.


Prof. Àlex Rovira