For those who haven't met me yet, I'm a Medical Physicist, specialising in Nuclear Medicine and I work for SA Health at The Queen Elizabeth and Lyell McEwin Hospitals in South Australia. I've been on the ANZSNM Federal Council since 2015 when I became the chair and council representative of the Physics SIG (Prab Takhar is the current SIG chair, while I have retained the representative position). I've spent most of the last two years as Vice President learning the ropes from our outgoing president Ros Francis, who you'll agree has done a great job leading the Society in that time through many changes and crises.
As I write this, things have changed rapidly everywhere around the world due to COVID-19, and like many others, I've been working from home when I don't have to be at the hospital to carry out my clinical duties. Most of our members are not working from home due to clinical requirements of their roles, and so have been faithfully going at work under very trying circumstances - although possibly thankful for the reduction in traffic on the way! We have been dealing with issues around the supply of radiopharmaceuticals and PPE, extra infection control precautions and working with the risks of virus transfer from our patients, preparing for an influx of people sick with COVID19 and many other struggles, both professional and personal. I was really starting to get worried about running out of toilet paper at home after not being able to get any in the shops for many weeks - even turning up early in the morning at the special time for medical workers! Thankfully here in Australia, things are starting to look like they are under control and we will be able to return to some sort of normal life sometime soon. Some of our friends and colleagues overseas are still in the thick of it, but it has been great to see the many webinars sharing ideas and successes in adapting Nuclear Medicine practice to this new situation. Have a look at the ANZSNM website for links to some of this content.
I come into the role in a world of rapid change. As you this read this, the 50th Annual Scientific Meeting is underway online, having launched on the 28th of May. I want to thank the Local Organising Committee; Geoff Currie, Matt Ayers, Socrates Angelides and Hosen Kiat, who put in a huge amount of work to organise a very special 50th meeting for the Society. Unfortunately, many of their plans were dashed by COVID19 induced travel and group gathering restrictions. We have been able to retain almost the entire scientific program for the online Meeting. I also want to thank the Federal Council and other volunteer members who suddenly had to jump in to help reinvent the meeting for this new socially-distanced, virtual-meeting world.
Many thanks to Ros Francis for her leadership and work over the last two years, and to all the other volunteers: the Federal Council, Branch committees, Special Interest Groups, advisory committees and others who put in countless hours of work behind the scenes to keep the Society running, contributing to keeping Nuclear Medicine relevant, up to date and cutting edge.
Thanks also to the LOC for 2021, who have adapted to the shift in the location of the 2021 ASM from Perth to Sydney. We assume things will have settled down enough to hold a face to face meeting in May 2021, but if not, the Society is now well placed to run it online if required. We all hope it will not come to that, as there is nothing like actually being there! Standing in the line for the barista coffee between sessions, sitting next to and meeting a new colleague from another state or country, getting up on the dance floor at the gala dinner or catching up with old friends. Don't forget to put the dates of May 22-24, 2021 into your calendar!
Looking to the future, once COVID19 is controlled and we start to get back to "normal", we still have much to do. Research into and the implementation of new radionuclide therapy is a big new area in Nuclear Medicine, and there are already whispers of a lot of clinical research trials moving to Australia and New Zealand. ARTNET has been a very successful joint venture and is making a big difference in research trials. We are still looking into the possibility of a merger with the AANMS, and planning to add to the CPD content available in the online ASM with more content for Edutrace.