por Joanna Padovano
, Reporter | November 19, 2012
From the November 2012 issue of HealthCare Business News magazine
For nearly a century RSNA has been uniting members of the radiology community by hosting a yearly meeting, which is now one of the largest annual medical conferences in the world.
It all began in 1915, when the Western Roentgen Society was established by radiologists Miles B. Titterington, Edwin C. Ernst, Gray C. Briggs and Fred S. O’Hara. That year the professional organization held its first annual meeting in mid- December at the Hotel Sherman in downtown Chicago. The gathering was attending by 62 charter members from more than a dozen states.
Subsequent meetings began to include scientific exhibits and paper presentations, also known as scientific sessions. In addition, radiological equipment manufacturers were asked show their new products during the conference. Nineteen commercial exhibitors displayed the latest X-raybased technology at the 1919 annual meeting, at which new bylaws of the society were read to the president and executive committee. That same year the organization changed its name to the Radiological Society of North America, due to the fact that its membership had expanded to include various regions of the continent.
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Throughout the Roaring Twenties RSNA held its annual meetings in North American cities such as Chicago, Detroit, Rochester, Kansas City, Cleveland, Milwaukee, New Orleans and Toronto. Up until 1925 there were also mid-annual meetings, but those were discontinued for financial reasons. During the 1920s, the organization also began to branch out to European radiologists in order to acquire an international following. As each year went by, the number of attendees would increase.
In the depression-ridden 1930s, Donald Smythe Childs—an influential figure who held various positions within the organization—helped to rescue RSNA from an economic catastrophe. He also began to schedule the annual meeting during the last week in November in order to save the most amount of money for both the society and its members. During that decade, the yearly event was hosted in cities such as Los Angeles, St. Louis, Atlantic City, Chicago, Memphis, Detroit, Cincinnati, Pittsburgh and Atlanta.
Due to widespread financial woes during the ‘30s, the amount of people who attended the annual meetings had gone down. In an effort to boost attendance, in 1934 RSNA decisionmakers implemented a major annual lecture, which would recognize significant service to the field and would be delivered at a Plenary Session. Four years later the society decided that the annual meeting should also offer “refresher courses,” which would review already established radiological information.