Professor Dante R. Casale Menier from Ciudad Juarez, Mexico, has helped to advance radiology education in Mexico and Latin America and greatly contributed to enhancing cooperation with Europe. In recognition of his achievements, he will be presented with ESR Honorary Membership at ECR 2020.

Professor Dante R. Casale Menier is head of imaging at Angeles Hospital, Grupo Angeles, in Ciudad Juarez. He worked as a professor at the School of Medicine of Ciudad Juarez Autonomous University from 1989 to 2017.

Professor Dante R. Casale Menier from Ciudad Juarez, Mexico.

He served as head of imaging at Hospital Pensiones Civiles del Estado in Chihuahua for 28 years and head of the imaging department at Hospital Poliplaza Medica in Ciudad Juarez for 19 years. His main research interests have been in breast imaging and imaging in obstetrics and gynaecology.

An early bloomer, he became chief resident in his third year of residency and obtained an honorary mention for high marks and the silver medal Gabino Barreda from the Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM). He subsequently returned to Ciudad Juarez, where he soon started to work on the creation of a local organisation to represent radiologists’ interests.

“At this time, I was looking to settle into a radiology department in a hospital or a radiology facility already established in the city. This is when I heard other radiologists speaking of the great need for a radiological society within the city, since the closest one was 400km away,” he said.

In 1989, he was appointed founding president of the first radiological society in Ciudad Juarez, the Sociedad de Radiología e Imagen de Ciudad Juarez, which later became the Colegio de Especialistas en Radiología e Imagen de Ciudad Juarez.

Casale Menier served as representative for the Society of Radiology of Ciudad Juarez to the Mexican Federation of Radiology and Imaging (FMRI) from 1989 to 2002. He was subsequently appointed FMRI secretary, president elect and president. He is currently the chair of the FMRI international affairs committee.

Casale Menier is president elect of the Mexican Board of Radiology (CMRI) for the 2019–2021 term. The CMRI is responsible for the certification and recertification of Mexican radiologists and coordinates twelve annual exams throughout the country.

“Currently, we have about 5,000 certified radiologists. As the next CMRI president, I plan to continue administering the certification exams in Mexico. We have recently started holding these exams online and are using a platform similar to that of the European Diploma of Radiology, but we will develop our own. One of my plans is to transfer the exams to different locations in Mexico, since they are currently only held in the largest cities, such as Mexico City, Guadalajara, and Monterey,” he said.

One of the main issues facing radiology in Mexico is the great inequality of access to both radiology and medicine in general. Mexico is considered a developing country and many cities have access to all of the existing imaging techniques, but multiple communities do not have access to even basic structures of medicine. Concerning radiology education, the situation is very similar, as only some training facilities have access to all of the imaging techniques.

“Lack of technology complicates good homogenisation in radiology education. Some of these deficiencies can be solved by random rotations of radiologists, so that they may become familiar with the procedures and equipment that is offered in well-equipped hospitals, both in Mexico and other countries,” he said.

Mexico recognises a number of subspecialties in radiology, however, only very few radiologists are able to subspecialise due to lack of resources, a situation that affects the quality of healthcare. For example, there are not enough radiologists who are subspecialised in breast imaging and are qualified to help diagnose breast cancer early.

“That is a huge problem. Concerning gynaecology and obstetrics, there is also a lack of trained and qualified personnel to perform screening obstetric ultrasound examinations to diagnose chromosomopathies early, and too few radiologists trained to handle advanced techniques such as MRI and CT scans applied to OB/GYN,” he said.

Many radiologists have to leave the country to complete their training, and many choose Europe as a destination. A number of European radiologists also come and participate in courses in Latin America. There are many courses that aim to gather radiologists in America and Europe, such as those organised by the Colegio Interamericano de Radiología (CIR). These courses take place every two years, and the programme always includes European radiologists as faculty members, according to Casale Menier, who served as president of the CIR in 2014.

The relationship between both sides of the Atlantic is improving and there should be more common initiatives, he believes. “It would be very interesting to see more exchanges between these two groups and to give Latin American radiologists the opportunity to interact with their European counterparts. A common initiative they could work on would be to standardise radiological protection, radiological guidelines, structured reports, etc.,” he suggested.

Casale Menier has recently received honorary membership of the CIR and was awarded the FMRI Gold Medal in 2012 and Radiological Merit Award in 2018.

At ECR 2020, Professor Dante R. Casale Menier will be presented with ESR Honorary Membership.