Welcome to the 8th biennial International Symposium on Focused Ultrasound.
The purpose of the Symposium is threefold: first, to create knowledge by sharing and distributing ideas, data, and information. Second, to foster collaboration and innovation by establishing new and strengthening existing relationships and partnerships. And, third, to have fun by enjoying the companionship of friends.
In an attempt to achieve all three of these objectives we are experimenting with a new hybrid format this year consisting of two parallel tracks – in person and virtual. This is an attempt to make the meeting accessible globally to people who cannot travel due to scheduling conflicts or cost of transportation.
Almost all of the presentations have been prerecorded. This is an optimal way to widely disseminate the work in a timely manner; to ensure the availability of the presentations given the uncertainty created by ever-changing COVID-19 restrictions, illnesses, and the unreliability of air travel; and, importantly, to provide a mechanism for all participants to communicate digitally with the presentations’ authors. We strongly encourage you to interact with these authors either through the app on your mobile device or through the platform on your laptop.
The poster session has been eliminated. This is an attempt to democratize all presentations and minimize selection based on subjective determination of the value of the content.
The in-person presentations have been replaced by multiple panels of experts, which will complement the prerecorded presentations and stimulate discussion and debate of key topics.
Extensive time for networking has also been provided through breakfasts, lunches, breaks, and a reception at the end of every day. Evenings have intentionally been kept free.
For centuries, scientific meetings have been conducted in the same manner while other segments of society – such as banking and investing, shopping, and travel reservations – have evolved by taking advantage of digital technology and the Internet. It is time for scientific meetings to take advantage of the digital revolution and enter the 21st century.
This new Symposium format is an experiment. As you know, the purpose of an experiment is to learn. From this meeting we want to learn what works and what doesn’t and what can be done differently. Think of the future with enhancements in technology such as the metaverse. We will solicit and greatly look forward to receiving your feedback.
In 2008, when we held the first Symposium, opportunities to meet and present focused ultrasound topics were sparse. Given the abundance of other opportunities that now exist, the big question for the Foundation is, “Is the biennial Symposium outdated and an anachronism?” Again, we will solicit your opinion.
The situation is somewhat analogous to the Journal of Therapeutic Ultrasound which we started in 2013. At that time it was difficult to find journals that would accept material related to focused ultrasound. Now, mainstream journals readily accept topics on focused ultrasound, and accordingly, we sunset the journal.
In any case, in the coming year we intend to provide more in-person workshops and virtual roundtables that will focus in depth on specific topics.
The Foundation’s storyline (which we all buy into and why we are all here) is that focused ultrasound will improve the lives of millions of people with serious medical disorders by revolutionizing therapy and becoming a global standard of care.
As time goes on, this storyline is becoming more and more true, and the dialogue is clearly shifted from “if” to “when” focused ultrasound will have a major role in the therapeutic armamentarium.
On behalf of the entire Focused Ultrasound Foundation team, we thank you for the privilege of being at the nexus of this incredible ecosystem and in serving as the catalyst for this revolution.
We look forward to a fantastic week together.
Neal F. Kassell, MD
Focused Ultrasound Foundation Chairman