Third World Congress on Medical Imaging,
Cairns, Australia, August 25-29, 2005
If you were going to choose a location for a conference, where would it be? Perhaps where the rainforest meets the sea or where the Great Barrier Reef comes closest to land? The Convenors of the Third International Congress on Medical Imaging chose Cairns, North Queensland in Australia where both of these phenomena occur.
Julie Murray and Vicki Adams were approached by Peter Lowie and Cees Hersbach (International Congress Committee members) about hosting the Third World Congress. Previous locations were Amsterdam and Florida. Julie (Meeting Chairperson and Vicki (Co-Chair) agreed immediately and recruited Janelle Jakowenko (Treasurer) and Chris Barry as Program Coordinator. After lengthy trans-Australian and trans-global debates, Cairns, Far North Queensland was chosen as the venue and it was decided that the best time of year to hold the meeting would be August. Four keynote speakers were recruited:
All the organizational details were in place as the conference date approached, venues were booked, catering organized and attendees registered. In late August, delegates and families began to arrive at the International Hotel in Cairns from throughout Australia and around the world. The exhibition and display had been sent off by road from Brisbane, two days away. Unfortunately the truck was involved in a road accident and the police confiscated all the trucks contents until the cause of the accident could be determined. After this initial setback, most people would be more than disconcerted, but not the organizers; to them it was a mere glitch and a hurdle to be overcome. From the first night’s meeting of colleagues and friends, new and old, the “feel” of camaraderie and fellowship was forged for the rest of the Conference.
The first afternoon was devoted to workshops, which included: Low-cost video editing (Greg Tuchin), Web design (Adam Leadoux) and Photoshop for the artist (Levent Efe). It was intriguing for workshop attendees to learn how Photoshop could be used for drawing. Levant, an award winning artist and medical doctor, first showed some of his commissioned works and then led the group through the steps he uses in Photoshop to produce his eye-catching work. Like all apparently complex tasks, when broken down into their components, Levent made the process look simple.
The evening consisted of a wine tasting sponsored by McWilliams fine wines and the official opening of the Conference Exhibition. Professor David Malin went to great lengths to describe what should have been on display but was in the hands of the Queensland police force. Needless to say, the dissertation was quite humorous fuelled by some delightful wine and witty interjections.
The afternoon featured a forum “Trends in Medical and Scientific Imaging.” The forum was a two-way discussion between a panel which included: Professor John Pearn (Chair), Martin Johns, Susanne Williams, Richard Wylie and Marshall Tyler giving viewpoints from Australia, the U.K. and the U.S.A., and included animated audience participation. The major topic of discussion was the increasing use of mobile phones, palm sized video cameras and digital cameras by various hospital personnel and the associated medico-legal implications. Of particular note was Martin Johns’ talk on the English Medical Illustrators who are about to become State Registered and consequently will be the only individuals that the National Health Service will employ as clinical photographers in the U.K. Government Hospital system. Martin was particularly strong on promoting patient’s rights in cases where documentary images were used for purposes other than patient care. All delegates agreed that patients’ rights were paramount and it was decided that a joint declaration should be formulated at the meeting regarding the use of patient images and patient consent. Martin Johns undertook to formulate a series of points to present to the group. After extensive consultation both during and after the Conference a document that has become known as the “Cairns Convention” has been agreed to (see Appendix at the end of this report).
The afternoon continued with more engaging presentations including Professor Pearn’s “Images of Bioterrorism.” This paper summarized some of the basic facts of the bioterrorist threat and discussed some of the potential images of bioterrorism that will form an inescapable part of our future.
Several speakers followed discussing the business aspects of imaging either in government departments (Greg Tuchin, John Baird) or outside of medical or scientific establishments (Des Sloane, Levent Efe). Of particular note was Ross Clayton from New Zealand with his innovative “Mole Mapping,” which is now an ever expanding business in the Bay of Plenty, North Island.
For the final evening, the group went to the Casino private function rooms for a Banquet and presentation of awards. The group now, familiar with the Australian vernacular, roundly applauded each prize winner adding their own touches to compliment the recipient. Prizes were sponsored by: Fujifilm, Kayell Australia, Steve Parish Publishing, Novartis Ophthalmics, Prof D. Malin, Adobe, Apple Australia, Taylor & Francis Group, Foto Reisel and AIMBI.
The conference came to an end with many new friendships forged, lessons learned and upcoming challenges at least recognized, if not solved, by the wealth of information offered by each speaker. The broad range of topics covered can not be fully detailed here without repeating verbatim all that was said. However, we thank all those who gave their time and energies to pass on their thoughts and to all those that attended. I really think that many new friendships were made and many others renewed. Our common bond of wanting to learn with open minds from those with knowledge and experience and to come together as a group with a common passion has left us all enriched both professionally and personally. Lets hope that the next World Medical Imaging Conference, wherever it is held, can be as fulfilling and just plain good fun as Cairns 2005.
Appendix: The Cairns Convention on Consent for the Use of Clinical Photography Other Than for the Direct Care of the Patient*
*Published by the International Committee of Biomedical Photographers
at the World Congress in medical Illustration, Cairns, Australia, August
Patients have a right to privacy that should not be infringed without informed consent. Identifying information, including patients’ names, initials, or hospital numbers, should not be published in written descriptions, photographs, and pedigrees unless the information is essential for scientific purposes and the patient (or parent or guardian) gives written informed consent for publication. Informed consent for this purpose requires that a patient who is identifiable be shown the manuscript to be published.
Identifying details should be omitted if they are not essential. Complete anonymity is difficult to achieve, however, and informed consent should be obtained if there is any doubt. For example, masking the eye region in photographs of patients is inadequate protection of anonymity. If identifying characteristics are altered to protect anonymity, such as in genetic pedigrees, authors should provide assurance that alterations do not distort scientific meaning and editors should so note.
The requirement for informed consent should be included in the journal’s instructions for authors. When informed consent has been obtained it should be indicated in the published article.
Copyright 2005, The Journal of Biocommunication, All Rights Reserved
Table of Contents for VOLUME 31, NUMBER 3