We recently had the opportunity to travel to Taipei for the 16th World Federation for Ultrasound in Medicine and Biology (WFUMB) Congress. Given that it was our first international conference and our first time traveling to Asia, we knew we had an exciting opportunity in attending this conference, but there was some apprehension and concerns about logistics and what to expect with international travel. The conference planning committee, however, really put in hard work to plan a wonderful conference and execute the conference without many hitches. The conference staff members were unbelievable— they were always happy to help, ensured that everyone knew where to go, communicated with conference guests professionally, ensured excellent delivery of talks, and even assisted in tours of the countryside. Every detail was attended to by the planning committee. Our apprehensions about the conference and a foreign land evaporated the first day, as we were fascinated by the beauty of the city and the hospitality of the citizens.
Last Spring I was approached by AIUM to present a lecture at WFUMB. I had served in leadership roles within AIUM and presented sessions at the national conferences already, so I was happy to be able to serve in this role. I presented a few talks that covered topics from regional blockade for acute trauma to interventional guidance with a focus on regenerative medicine techniques. I thought that these would be good additions to an ultrasound conference because this is a relatively new approach to treating musculoskeletal pain and injury.
As an interventional pain physician with primary specialty training in occupational medicine, that evaluates and treats work injury with interventional techniques, I was astounded to see the level of training and use of ultrasound for the evaluation and treatment of musculoskeletal disorders. Our international counterparts are doing much to advance the field in both diagnosis and treatment, which was apparent at the expansive range of presentations and posters at the conference. As the evidence continues to mount for the utility of ultrasound in the point-of-care model for musculoskeletal injuries in the United States, it has already been well established by our international counterparts. I am really looking forward to returning to WFUMB in the future and would encourage colleagues to attend this wonderful conference!
Attending the WFUMB conference was really a remarkable experience. It allowed me, for the first time, to learn how medicine, and ultrasound in particular, is approached in another part of the world. But not just one other part of the world. In fact, 49 countries were represented at the conference, allowing me to connect and learn from colleagues I would never have met otherwise.
The conference lecture series was robust, with several different tracks tailored to multiple different specialties. As an interventional physiatrist, I use ultrasound to evaluate and treat musculoskeletal pathology. Each year at AIUM’s conference, there are several MSK lectures, some of which I have presented myself. At the WFUMB conference, the MSK lectures covered many topics, offered hands-on workshops, and included well thought-out research. I’ve long recognized that ultrasound is a fantastic tool in medicine and its utility in our country is expanding. I was happy to learn, however, that there is also outreach to integrate ultrasound in struggling nations as well and that WFUMB may be an excellent institute to facilitate that outreach. It’s notable to recognize that ultrasound can be such a valuable tool in different settings with very different financial means. In the closing ceremonies, I was humbled to receive the “Young Investigator Award” for research that I had presented that week, “Work-Related Repetitive Use Injuries in Ultrasound Fellows,” but I was especially grateful for a fantastic educational and cultural experience during my first international conference.
How have you seen ultrasound incorporated into medical care in other nations? If you have attended any conferences that required international travel, what was your experience? Comment below or let us know on Twitter: @AIUM_Ultrasound.
Yusef Sayeed, MD, MPH, MEng, CPH, DABPM, is an interventional pain and occupational medicine specialist at the Battle Creek VA in Michigan.
Kate Sully, MD, DABPMR, is an interventional pain and physical medicine and rehabilitation specialist at the Battle Creek VA in Michigan.