Global radiologists gather in Paris for European diploma exam

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PARIS - Dr. Bogna Targonska truly is a global radiologist. Her hometown is Lublin, Poland, she grew up in South Africa, took her medical studies in New Zealand, and did her internship and board exams in the U.S. She was one of 36 candidates who sat the European Diploma in Radiology (EDiR) exam at the Journées Françaises de Radiologie (JFR), which ended yesterday.

Her current post as clinical fellow in radiology at Boston Children's Hospital is due to end in June 2013, and given the tough job market in the U.S., she anticipates the qualification will give her a possible foothold back into Europe.

Polish-born Dr. Bogna Targonska hopes the EDiR will give her the chance to work as a pediatric radiologist in Europe.Polish-born Dr. Bogna Targonska hopes the EDiR will give her the chance to work as a pediatric radiologist in Europe.
Polish-born Dr. Bogna Targonska hopes the EDiR will give her the chance to work as a pediatric radiologist in Europe.

"I really hope the diploma develops and gains more recognition in the future, which I think it will," Targonska said, whose mother is a radiologist and whose father is a pediatrician, both based in South Africa. "Coming originally from Poland, I would like it to give me more opportunities to work as a pediatric radiologist in Europe."

The exam represented a significant personal investment for her and the other candidates. She had to set aside virtually a full day last Friday, starting at 8:15 a.m. and ending at around 3:30 p.m. As a corresponding member of the European Society of Radiology (ESR), she had to pay a 1,100 euro ($1,437 U.S.) fee, plus the return air fare from Boston to Paris and hotel accommodation. She was unable to get any sponsorship. Full ESR members pay a lower fee of 500 euros ($653 U.S.).

"I thought I might as well make this a year of exams and get everything over with at one go!" she remarked, adding that both the EDiR and the written examination in the U.S. are completely multiple choice, but the EDiR has a case-based component that the U.S. one does not have. She took the oral part of the U.S. exam in June 2012, having done the written part two years ago.

"There were no great surprises in the EDiR exam, thankfully. I was very relieved that one of the six cases was about intussusception -- plain film, followed by ultrasound. We see that all the time, so I wasn't going to get that one wrong!" she said.

After attending medical school at the University of Otago in New Zealand, Targonska did her internship at St. Vincent Hospital, a 348-bed acute care hospital in Worcester, Massachusetts. Interestingly, the president of the 2010 European Congress of Radiology (ECR), Dr. Malgorzata Szczerbo-Trojanowska, also comes from Lublin.

The trip to Paris was also a substantial outlay for fellow candidate Dr. Fahd Haroon, consultant radiologist and director of Karachi X Rays, Karachi, Pakistan. Like Targonska, he paid the 1,100 euro fee out of his own pocket, and he funded his own travel, taking an Emirates flight via Dubai and staying in Paris for three nights.

Study for the EDiR exam by practicing on lots of cases, advises Dr. Fahd Haroon from Karachi.Study for the EDiR exam by practicing on lots of cases, advises Dr. Fahd Haroon from Karachi.
Study for the EDiR exam by practicing on lots of cases, advises Dr. Fahd Haroon from Karachi.

"I have been very impressed by the organization here, and I would recommend the diploma to anybody, particularly those who've completed their residency," he said. "People are not really aware of it yet but I'm sure recognition will increase. It's important to think of the future."

Last December, Haroon completed his radiology residency at the Aga Khan Hospital, near Karachi. In London earlier this year, Haroon passed Part 2A of the U.K. Fellowship of the Royal College of Radiologists (FRCR) qualification, and he plans to take Part 2B next March. He said there are strong similarities between the EDiR and the FRCR, although he admits that he's only taken the theory-based Part 2A. Part 2B will include a 40-minute oral test.

"One benefit of the diploma is it's a single test that can be taken in a single exam," Haroon noted, who holds dual Pakistani/U.K. citizenship. One of his colleagues in Karachi, Dr. Nadir Khan, took the diploma in Vienna in October 2011, so he received plenty of advice. Also, his father, Dr. Haji Haroon, is a radiologist, and he was keen for his son to sit the diploma exam and invest in his future career.

Given the EDiR's emphasis on cases, future candidates should do plenty of solid revision that involves case reports, according to Fahd Haroon. He recommends the self-assessment area of the ESR website, as well as the cases on AuntMinnie.com and AuntMinnieEurope.com.

Of the 36 candidates who took last Friday's exam, 20 came from France. The others came from Egypt, Greece, India, Malta, Portugal, Slovenia, Turkey, the U.K., and elsewhere. They will receive their results on or around 29 October.

The next opportunity to sit the EDiR will be at ECR 2013 in Vienna in March, and then at the German radiology congress in Hamburg in late May. For more information, click here. Also, click here to see a video clip featuring a short interview with a past candidate.

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