Interdisciplinary Learning at Target Insight 2017

May 25, 2017

On May 1, 2017, while Toronto was under a heavy rain and flood warning, over 140 radiation medicine professionals gathered in-person and online for the Target Insight Conference. This year's conference focused on Personalized Radiation Medicine: From Theory to Practice. The invited speakers applied this theme to major cancer sites in addition to sharing their insights about the future of personalized radiation medicine. 

Target Insight is hosted by the University of Toronto's Department of Radiation Oncology. With the goal of exploring the latest research in radiation medicine, Target Insight has a history of bringing together leading radiation oncologists, medical physicists, radiation therapists, nurses and other allied healthcare providers from the GTA. This year, the conference was live-streamed online to enable radiation medicine teams around the world to participate.

Target Insight began as a radiation oncology conference. The conference planning team shifted their approach this year and encouraged participation from multidisciplinary staff and trainees. “The benefit of this truly interdisciplinary event is that there is a lot of networking and interaction amongst the attendees,” noted Dr. Ewa Szumacher, co-chair of Target Insight and Assistant Professor at UTDRO. “They all bring a different perspective to the discussions. It is important for our community to remember that this conference is not only for radiation oncologists but all cancer care specialities.”

Interaction and audience participation were built directly into the program. Each of the sessions had moderators from radiation medicine to encourage discussion. In addition, workshops on Cancer and Aging, and Mentorship allowed the audience to actively participate in the program. The two keynote talks – Dr. Fei-Fei Liu’s talk on the future of radiation repair and Dr. David Jaffray’s talk on technological transformation in radiation medicine – were both popular and encouraged a lively discussion.

To bring a national perspective to the topic of personalized radiation medicine, Dr. Ivo Olivotto from the Tom Baker Cancer Centre in Calgary and Dr. Eric Vigneault from Université Laval and the Canadian Association of Radiation Oncology, were invited to share their insights into prostate and breast cancer treatments. Brian Liszewzski, a radiation therapist at the Odette Cancer Centre, was in attendance at Target Insight. “It was great to see the national perspective,” Brian noted. “But it was equally great to see what our colleagues are doing at the different hospitals in Toronto. The formal sessions and the informal discussions together provided a new level of insight into what the latest innovations are.”

Dr. Szumacher added that “the talks were stimulating and helped the attendees to reflect on their practice and guide them to become excellent practitioners, educators and researchers and to meet the expectations of cancer patients in the ever-changing health care environment.”

The major themes that were discussed during the conference were:

  • How to personalize cancer treatment in patients treated with radiation
  • Mentorship and leadership for the trainees and faculty members
  • How we should approach cancer treatment in elderly patients with cancer
  • How we should work in radiation medicine as a team

If you missed the conference, a recording of the livestream will be made available on the Target Insight website. In addition, you can see some of the online conversion to recap the day below:

[View the story "Target Insight 2017" on Storify]

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