Editorial: Annual migration

By Stuart E. Mirvis, MD, FACR
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Dr. Mirvis is the Editor-in-Chief of this journal and a Professor of Radiology, Diagnostic Imaging Department, University of Maryland Medical Center, Baltimore, MD.

Since our current chairman arrived a few years ago, our department has conducted an annual end-of-academic-year farewell party. I know this ritual, or some variant, is probably performed by many other departments. We make it a big deal, starting with an Academic Day for which we invite a famous speaker. Following this, each section reviews its major research accomplishments of the past year and discusses future goals. In the evening, we meet at a fairly posh restaurant for cocktails, dinner, and entertainment. The faculty, fellows, residents, and key administrative staff are invited to bring their significant others. It is a black-tie affair to highlight the importance of the occasion and the esteem we feel for the members of the department being honored.

One major goal is to acknowledge the contributions of our departing senior residents for the quality and success they have brought to the department and to celebrate their maturation into full-fledged, board-certified radiologists (at least this is almost always the case). Also, we thank our fellows for their efforts during the year. The chairman announces important life events (engagements, marriages, births, etc.) that have occurred and offers congratulations and gifts. Selected faculty, fellows, and residents are honored for their teaching and research with further testimonials and more gifts.

The real fun begins when the residents have a chance to poke fun at the faculty. There is no shortage of peculiar traits, unique and memorable phrases, and bizarre behaviors from the faculty to serve as ample ammunition. I believe many of our residents would have great success doing stand-up or comedy writing should the need arise. Of course, this business tests the good will and humor of the targeted faculty, but only a few are gun shy and opt out of participating. This year, one featured topic was selecting the champion resident conference sleeper from image documentation in a PowerPoint presentation. A few members of the faculty (including yours truly) and our chairman were caught making up for lost Zzzzz's as well. The seniors created and starred in a video spoof of the movie Being John Malkovich with various mocked faculty sharing in the lead role.

Throughout the year, we all have ample opportunity to acknowledge each other's radiology skills, but it is as important to voice the appreciation we feel toward one another for sharing ourselves as people, making the residency experience fun and personally enriching beyond radiology training. During 4 or more years, we have truly become family, with ties that will stretch in the future but seldom break. I am really glad my department now holds this event. It brings a nice closure to the year and helps soothe the sadness we feel seeing good friends leave the nest. It is an event I strongly recommend to all departments with graduating trainees. Unfortunately, it also raises the specter of July 1st and the sight of all the new folks waiting to begin their escapades in our department… new grist for the mill. But remember to be nice to the new residents, as they will have a clear shot at you some evening in late June of their senior year.

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Editorial: Annual migration.  Appl Radiol. 

August 15, 2006

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