08 August 2019

Something for radiology to remember: The 100th German X-ray Congress at the Congress Center Leipzig

In June 2019, the German Radiological Society (DRG) hosted the 100th German X-ray Congress (RöKo) at the Congress Center Leipzig (CCL). The largest German-language congress on imaging diagnostics and therapy attracted over 7000 participants. Much of the supporting programme was reminiscent of a festival, with plenty of opportunities for impromptu personal interaction and involvement. Prominent speakers presented surprising perspectives on the subject, while a number of new formats rounded off the anniversary programme. At the same time, the congress’s social media presence gave members of the general public a wide range of glimpses into the conference proceedings.

Ranga Yogeshwa © DRG

Ranga Yogeshwar is one of the most renowned science journalists in Germany, having made a name for himself with television formats on scientific topics. To kick off the 100th German X-ray Congress, he gave a keynote speech on the topic of artificial intelligence, discussing how it is changing our lives and the potential role of radiology. Another prominent guest, author and blogger Sascha Lobo, gave the so-called Roentgen lecture. He spoke about digitisation and showed why radiologists play an avant-garde role within the healthcare system. Both speakers fascinated the audience by highlighting intriguing connections between radiology and social trends. Many participants documented the speakers’ remarks on social media, thus also serving as authentic ambassadors of the congress. Extensive interviews with both experts were also published on the DRG website.

With their sustainable ideas for congress design, the organisers also made clear their awareness of their responsibility beyond their own area of expertise. The charity Viva con Agua de Sankt Pauli, for example, was invited to the congress once again to collect deposit bottles for a good cause. Bins were provided for congress guests to dispose of their deposit bottles and cans, allowing them to support so-called WASH projects (WAter, Sanitation and Hygiene) by Viva con Agua and Welthungerhilfe.

Platform for start-ups and junior radiologists

The fact that the event always succeeds in focusing on new perspectives – even after 99 congresses – was also demonstrated by a number of novel formats, which were primarily aimed at innovative and up-and-coming industry professionals. This included the Röntgen StartUp Forum, which gave radiology start-ups an opportunity to present their digital, AI-based solutions to a specialist audience and at the same time pitch to established companies and institutions. Another novelty was the case reports format, in which budding radiologists presented their most interesting cases for the first time. The best case reports were awarded prizes and published online after RöKo. Even before RöKo 2019 had come to an end, the Young Radiologists Forum was invited to take an active part in shaping the programme for RöKo 2020.


Celebrating in roaring twenties style

In addition to looking to the future, the anniversary event also focused on the fascinating history of radiology and the DRG. An evening of celebrations inside the glass hall of Leipzig’s trade fair grounds took visitors back to the eventful early years of their profession, the roaring twenties. They enjoyed a wide range of attractions and catering inspired by market and food festivals, accompanied by live music and wandering artists. Specially installed historically themed photo spots let guests capture their personal memories of the evening. And amusement rides rounded off the bustling fairground atmosphere.

With its congress, the DRG established a charmingly creative link between the beginnings of radiology and its diverse present. And as the most important person in that story, Wilhelm Conrad Röntgen was always present in one way or another – for example as a life-size cutout in the CCL, which made for another popular photo opportunity. What’s more, during the congress all of the CCL halls bore the names of famous radiologists. With this and many more details as well as the evening of celebrations, the congress anniversary really was something for radiology to remember.

Further information: www.do-it-at-leipzig.de