|Year : 2009 | Volume
| Issue : 1 | Page : 62-63
Interview with outgoing President of AROI
Consultant Radiation Oncologist (Jr), Dr Balabhai Nanavati Hospital, S.V. Road, Ville Parle (West), Mumbai - 400056, India
|Date of Web Publication||17-Mar-2009|
Consultant Radiation Oncologist (Jr), Dr Balabhai Nanavati Hospital, S.V. Road, Ville Parle (West), Mumbai - 400056
Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None
|How to cite this article:|
Tiwari M. Interview with outgoing President of AROI. J Can Res Ther 2009;5:62-3
1) How would you describe your experience as the President of AROI?
I am extremely grateful to the members of AROI for having given me the opportunity to serve them. The executive committee members were very cooperative and have always been very supportive of the activities of the AROI. Overall, my tenure over the last two years has been very satisfying. We were able to execute several plans, although a lot more remains to be done. I am sure that the new team that is taking over will rise to the challenges and accomplish much more in the coming years.
2) What were the achievements of AROI under your leadership?
The major focus of AROI has been on improving academic standards and on keeping its members up-to-date with the advances in radiation oncology. I think that during my tenure we pursued this aspect with full vigor. Some of our achievements deserve mention; for example:
- All the fellowships that are currently given, whether for training abroad or within India, are new. The various fellowships available are meant for people with different levels of experience, with different learning objectives. Medical physicists and radiation technologists are also being awarded fellowships now, which is a new practice that was introduced during my tenure. I feel that such steps will improve morale within the radiation oncology treatment team. This training will also of course benefit the institution where the person works.
- We have made arrangements for conducting training courses for post-graduate students. These courses will be conducted at institutions with adequate infrastructure and should be especially useful for those who have done their post-graduation at poorly equipped centers; they will now get an opportunity to familiarize themselves with the new and, presently, standard methods of treatment. In addition, students across the country will get an opportunity to share information and ideas in the field of oncology.
- The official website of AROI (www.aroi.org) has been redesigned and has been made partially interactive. Members can now login into their accounts and make changes in their personal information. We plan to link the website to the JCRT website in the near future, which will ensure that members receive the information regularly and should also reduce the number of complaints regarding wrong addresses. This is important these days since we rely so much on electronic communication.
- JCRT, the official journal of the association, is now indexed in PubMed.
- The association has initiated a dialogue with AERB for ensuring their support for the smooth running of departments of radiation oncology across the country vis-à-vis the supply / replacement of radioactive material.
- ASTRO and ESTRO have agreed to support AROI by providing teachers for workshops and conferences in India and two such meetings, with full support from these organizations, will be held this coming year. Of course, we will take care of the local hospitality.
3) Your views on radiation oncology practice in India.
In India there is an unequal distribution of radiation centers that are well equipped in terms of infrastructural and human resources. Unfortunately, neither the government nor the AROI has been able to bring about any visible change in this situation. AROI is trying to educate oncologists to make the best use of available infrastructure. This is being done through the various state chapters of AROI by organizing training courses. Much more needs to be done for similarly training medical physicists and radiation oncologists. Efforts are on to sensitize oncologists to the need to provide treatment to patients without allowing any prejudice (e.g., related to economic or social status) to come in the way of treatment decisions.
4) In today's varied practice of oncology, with multipronged approaches, how can radiation oncologists ensure good clinical practice?
Radiation oncologists should practice their profession with honesty and pride. It is necessary to empathize with the patients. Affectionate communication and fair interaction with the patients and their relatives is the key to success. It is mandatory that the doctor-patient relationship be nurtured with mutual respect. Also, obtaining informed consent before all procedures will go a long way in decreasing litigations against the oncologists.
5) What according to you are the strengths of the association?
We have more than 1200 members and with the latest in equipment available in many new centers-some of these in rural areas-it is now possible for members to have closer interaction and design more collaborative protocol framework among each other.
Many well-equipped centers are coming up in India, with good teaching faculty; this can only be good for radiation oncology in the country.
We have senior and experienced faculty members in the association who have contributed so much to the association; they will continue to strengthen it with their wisdom.
6) With the advent of precision radiotherapy techniques and increasing dependence on imaging modalities for radiotherapy planning, is there any proposal for modifying the post-graduate course so that radiology is also included in the syllabus?
We are aware of the need for a change in the syllabus for post-graduate courses in radiation oncology. Such a change would bring our students on par with those from any of the well-known centers across the world. As of now, AROI has no direct influence or authority on universities in deciding the syllabus for post-graduate studies and I feel that the association will have to be more proactive in dealing with such issues. AROI has written to the universities, requesting that the syllabus for the MD (radiotherapy) course be updated in view of the recent advances in the field. Currently, the responsibility for modification of syllabi of courses lies with the universities; they have to form committees, which will study the issue and propose changes. Unfortunately, no action has been taken till date.
7) What are the efforts being made to encourage the participation of the younger lot in the workings of the association?
The general body elections of the association are fair and free. The young members are most welcome to participate; they would bring in fresh ideas and make the association stronger. The combination of fresh ideas with the experience of the older members would go a long way in making the association an effective force.
8) Your comments on the recently concluded AROICON?
I would call it a satisfying experience. In spite of the strife in Mumbai at the same time, the participation was good. This was the first time that radiation oncologists and medical physicists had common sessions, and the response was most encouraging. In fact, in future we aim to involve radiation technologists as well so that there is increased interaction between the three groups who have similar professional goals. Such common sessions will foster a sense of camaraderie amongst radiation oncologists, medical physicists, and radiation technicians across the length and breadth of the country.
9) Your message to the President-elect of AROI, Dr Firuza Patel.
I congratulate her for agreeing to shoulder this new responsibility and wish her good luck. I am confident that with her dynamism she will take the association to even greater heights.