What's new in Paris? Interview with JFR 2022 president

2022 09 20 00 54 2017 Francois Cotton 20220920000730

On popular TV shows, you might have heard of a "dance off," "sing off," or "bake off." Now it's time for a "talk off" -- a verbal contest between six different societies to be held on the afternoon of 8 October at the Journées Francophones de Radiologie (JFR) 2022, says Congress President Prof. François Cotton, PhD.

Outside of radiology, Cotton loves music, diving, and skiing. Photo courtesy of SFR.Outside of radiology, Cotton loves music, diving, and skiing. Photo courtesy of SFR.

The societies will take the floor and make their case for interventional radiology in an oral joust that invites the audience to vote for the best orators using a "clap-ometer." Officially called the "Eloquence challenge," a more fitting title for a debate in a country that produced the erudite "Cyrano de Bergerac," this is just one of the new elements at the 70th JFR.

There are many other fascinating events to unveil, according to Cotton. For example, imaging of space has again been included on the program.

"At a time when the Artemis rocket is on its way to the moon, an event not to be missed will be the prizegiving ceremony for the Mars Interventional Radiology Toolbox Challenge on Saturday at 2 pm, organized by Prof. Vincent Vidal in partnership with the National Center for Space Studies (Centre National des etudes spatiales, CNES)," he told AuntMinnieEurope.com.

The toolbox challenge, launched at JFR 2021, called for teams of two to five resident or senior radiologists to design a toolbox for use during long-distance space journeys and extraorbital travel.

Other moments to look forward to include the awarding of medals to honorary foreign members on Friday afternoon which will be accompanied by the choir of Sorbonne University.

"This year, JFR will be a face-to-face meeting, with cross-generational exchange and interaction. There will be more than 90 workshops, an AI forum with the return of competing teams for the onsite data challenge, the JFR marketplace (agora) which will host interviews with experts on major public health issues and various debates, as well as the usual JFR 'villages' including its interventional village," Cotton noted.

"There will be more than 20 clinical case sessions, feedback sessions on dedicated themes addressed on the pre-congress streaming platform 'JFR 365' -- and the awarding of related prizes, the 'eloquence' contest, and non-live rebroadcasting of some events," he added.

Also new to JFR is 'region in the spotlight,' which in this inaugural year will be Auvergne RhĂ´ne-Alpes. South Korea and Spain will be honorary guest countries.

The Grand Conference on Friday morning will be about Digital Health, namely opportunities and challenges for digital radiology, while Prof. Arnaud Cachia will present cognition and neurodevelopment at the plenary conference on Sunday at noon.

What you need to know about the president

But who is the president of the 70th JFR, and what makes him tick?

Cotton, a physician trained in Lyon, is a brain imaging specialist with a focus on MRI in multiple sclerosis, and a role in the national coordination of imaging. He is currently head of imaging and a neuroradiologist at the Hospices Civils de Lyon and is also involved in peripheral interventional radiology, lending him a somewhat atypical profile.

The imaging department he leads includes nuclear medicine and radiology services with more than 600 professionals, including 483 technicians and 159 full-time equivalent (FTE) physicians with interns, and 13 FTEs for the imaging research unit. It has a long-standing PACS and RIS, a high-quality technical platform with 14 scanners, including 4 spectral scanners, 12 MRIs, two PET scanners, and a support platform with a PET-MRI unit.

The department has had to evolve for the good of patients and staff despite a difficult economic context and few human resources, according to Cotton. He and his colleagues have reorganized permanent care, taking into account the exponential demand for diagnostic and interventional services, rethought the supply of care at regional level for mechanical thrombectomy and referral activities, and applied new models for the development of research activities with a view to attracting and retaining physicians.

"Thanks to various players in the imaging department, I have been involved with projects such as the reorganization of permanent care and regional referral activities, teleradiology and interventional radiology services, the opening of a level A center for thrombectomy in the region, technical and therapeutic innovations, the creation of a virtual artificial intelligence (AI) laboratory, and the co-construction of large patient cohorts with imaging involvement," Cotton said.

"Concerning radiographers, we have stopped all efficiency measures and proposed new organization with parallel measures to increase the number of trainees and qualified staff. This is unfortunately not enough but should bear fruit in the next two to three years," he continued.

Early influences

Cotton has an unusual background for a radiologist. Passionate about anatomy as a medical student, he became interested in neuroanatomy. After studying medicine in Lyon, he spent a year as an intern at Harvard Medical School working on brain imaging in the research center of his friend Dr. Charles Guttmann. His first daughter was born in Boston.

"On my return, I was appointed to a position in anatomy, held by Prof. Jean-Pierre Neidhardt, a visceral surgeon and former dean of the Faculty of Medicine in Lyon. Teaching anatomy was a unique experience for me. After 10 years of service, due to the regrouping of faculties in Lyon, I refocused on polyvalent, diagnostic brain, and peripheral interventional imaging. I had the chance to preside over the French Society of Neuroradiology from 2019 to 2022 and this year have the honor of presiding over the JFR," he noted.

And when he isn't busy with running a large radiology department, how does Cotton spend his time?

He likes music, particularly piano and saxophone, meeting with friends, diving, skiing, running, cycling, and nature-watching.

To watch a video interview with Cotton, you can go to YouTube. You can check out the program for JFR 2022 on the organizers' website.

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