As this is my first message as President, I’d like to extend a warm greeting to you all. I am immensely proud to have been appointed to this role and I am very much looking forward to working with the rest of the Board, our CEO Sally Kincaid and the ASMIRT team. I would particularly like to thank outgoing President, Bronwyn Hilder, for all that she did throughout her tenure, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic. She has been an inspiration, and I look forward to continuing the great work that she has done for the Society.
First, what a wonderful ASMIRT conference it was in Cairns! It was fantastic to be face-to-face with colleagues and friends after so long. There was a great energy in the air throughout the entire four days, and our thanks must go to conference co-convenors Millie Taylor-Brown and Janelle Couch, along with the conference committee, who did a fabulous job playing host and showing us all that Cairns has to offer; it certainly was a jam-packed program. If you attended, we hope you had a memorable conference experience, and came away reconnected, united and inspired.
Looming over the conference planning were the risks associated with running an event of this size during COVID-19. The conference events team talked long and hard about the levels of restrictions we should impose. Queensland Health had removed all relevant COVID-19 restrictions on 14 April – six weeks before the conference: no requirement for proof of vaccination and no requirement to temperature test or check in. The need to wear masks had been revoked sometime earlier. However, we felt that more stringent measures were required, hence the need for all delegates to provide evidence of being triple vaccinated, and our further requirement for every delegate to be temperature tested before entering the venue each day. So seriously did we take these requirements that we hired security guards to enforce this and ensure that Queensland Health’s directives were not only followed but were exceeded. We also initiated a ‘traffic light’ system of coloured lanyards to enable delegates to choose their own level of contact with other attendees. There was always going to be some risk attached to attending a large event – and travelling to and from it – and despite our best efforts there were a few cases that emerged shortly after the conference, inevitable given the widespread incidence of COVID-19. But we thank all delegates for their support of the measures we took, and the sensible way they all approached the event.
As this year’s conference was held during National Volunteer Week, it is timely that we recognise the wonderful work of the many volunteer members of the Society who sit on our committees, reference groups, branches and Board. We are ‘better together’ and thank you for all you do. One of my priorities as President will be to consolidate the relationships we currently have with our stakeholders and establishing new ones to the benefit of members and the wider professions across Australia, New Zealand and the world. In the closing ceremony at ASMIRT 2022 we were fortunate to hear from Dr Jonathan McNulty, who touched on the vision towards 2031 across medical radiation sciences, education, research and
practice in Europe. He also spoke of the increasing rate of change in health care and technology, and how we can all benefit; the profession, patients and the broader community.
I encourage you, our members, to continue to be advocates for your Society and your profession. You can do this by sharing our stories, attending our events, and actively engaging with us through our social media channels and within your own networks, from your colleagues through to your communities.
I look forward to connecting with you all in the months ahead.