From mid-June to mid-July, I spent a month in Myanmar as an ASNR International Outreach Professor. The first two weeks, I visited Mandalay Public Hospital and Medical School followed by two weeks at the North Okkalapa Public Hospital on the outskirts of Yangon. My primary contact and host, Professor Lin Tun Tun, former President of the Myanmar Radiology Society, is an engaging, kind-hearted radiologist who is working hard to develop subspecialty training programs for its radiology residents. He was exceptionally accommodating. Most evenings I had dinner with physicians, and he arranged guided tours on weekends around Yangon, Bago, InLe Lake, and Mandalay.
Typically, I spent 1-2 hours reviewing interesting cases presented to me by residents and clinicians, which were challenging, as these are tertiary referral centers so expect cases of advanced TB or neoplasm. The rest of the day (about 5-6 hours), I gave didactic lectures to approximately 35 to 40 residents and clinicians. I gave separate adult and pediatric lectures on brain tumors; infectious, inflammatory, and demyelinating diseases of the spine; tumors of the spine; CNS infections, inflammatory and demyelinating disease of the brain; white matter diseases; and sellar/parasellar masses. I gave additional talks on MR physics; fMRI and DTI; non-stroke DWI; SWI; cranial nerves; suprahyoid ENT; orbit MR, intraventricular tumors, neuroradiology emergencies; neurodegeneration, and malformations of cortical development. In addition, there was a seminar on advanced brain tumor imaging attended by over 70 both venues, we played Radiology Jeopardy, which went over very well. During lunchtime, local foods were shared with me, and I discovered wonderful new fruits (mangosteen and rambutan) and tea leaf salad.
The residents are smart, well trained, and eager to learn. Teaching them was pure joy. Both hospitals have 1.5T MR machines, and I spent time sharing typical MR protocols in all my talks, as these machines could only be purchased after 2012 when the country opened up, and only a few radiologists have fellowship training typically in Singapore, Korea, or Japan. Cases are on film or CD as there are no PACS yet. Internet, only available after 2012, worked well at both hospitals and in the hotels where I stayed.
Myanmar is an exceptionally beautiful country filled with warm people, golden pagodas, giant Buddha statues, and stunning scenery. This experience will be one of my most cherished memories as a neuroradiologist. I recommend this experience highly to all my colleagues.