SNM president Dr. George Segall

Exclusive: Q&A with SNM president Dr. George Segall

June 01, 2012
by Loren Bonner, DOTmed News Online Editor
With his time as the Society of Nuclear Medicine’s president drawing to an end, Segall spoke with DOTmed Business News about accomplishments and challenges during his past year as president.

DMBN: How would you describe your time as president of SNM?

GS: A lot of hard, gratifying work. It was a real privilege to be involved in big issues and be part of the discussion moving the field forward. But it required a lot of time to engage people in those discussions.

DMBN: What were some of your goals as president?

GS: To advance the field through strategic, domestic partnership and increase global cooperation. The issues are very large and very complicated and I wanted to leverage SNM expertise and resources through these partnerships and collaborations.

DMBN: How long have you been a member of SNM and why did you become involved with the society?

GS: I’ve been a member of SNM since my nuclear medicine residency at Stanford in 1986 and I got involved with SNM because it’s the only professional nuclear medicine organization whose focus is exclusively on nuclear medicine.

DMBN: You’re chief of nuclear medicine at the Department of Veterans Affairs Palo Alto Health Care System, and you’ve served this particular VA since 1986. How does the work you do there play a direct role in what you bring to SNM?

GS: Direct patient care experience is very important when formulating health care policy that affects patients. It’s live-world education about informed decision-making that’s going to affect patients.

DMBN: What would you like to see accomplished for molecular imaging going forward?

GS: I think the field of nuclear medicine is evolving through technological advances and new knowledge into a broader field of molecular imaging where the tracer principle — which is the foundation of this specialty — in addition to organ physiology and function, is beginning to look increasingly at cellular and molecular function.

DMBN: Are there any big announcements coming from SNM this year that you can share with us?

GS: SNM will be joining as a partner in the American Board of Internal Medicine Foundation’s “Choosing Wisely” campaign. Over the next six months, SNM will begin the process of creating its list of “Five Things Physicians and Patients Should Question” and will provide specific, evidence-based recommendations physicians and patients should discuss to help make wise decisions about the most appropriate care based on their individual situation. This process will involve members representing various segments of the society and will be carefully considered by leadership.

DMBN: Is there anything you’re particularly excited to see at this year’s SNM conference in Miami Beach?

GS: I’m excited about the same things I always see there, and that is to see so many nuclear medicine professionals from all around the world come to the largest meeting devoted to nuclear medicine/molecular imaging—and I really mean that sincerely. About half the attendees at the annual meeting come from beyond the U.S. and they bring knowledge and perspective that really enrich the meeting through their scientific presentations. Also, I’m always excited to see what is being shown on the exhibit floor because many times, companies introduce their newest technologies at SNM.

DMBN: What leaves you optimistic about the future of molecular imaging?

GS: We’ve seen FDA approval of new radiopharmaceuticals in the last year and we know that several more new radiopharmaceuticals are in the clinical trials pipeline and are likely to be approved in the near future. I’m also very excited about the potential clinical and research applications of PET/MR, which is another advance in the field and I also feel that the non-radioisotope-based molecular imaging technologies such as optimal imaging are maturing very quickly and they are likely going to be ready for clinical use in the near future as well.