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9 June 2004

41st Congress of the European Society of Paediatric Radiology Meets in Heidelberg

Congress from June 9 to June 11, 2004 — Rector Hommelhoff: "Paediatric Radiology is a subject that must be preserved at all costs"

The European Society of Paediatric Radiology is holding its 41st Congress from 9 to 11 June 2004 in Heidelberg. In his speech of welcome, the Rector of the University of Heidelberg, Prof. Dr. Peter Hommelhoff, immediately addressed the status of paediatric radiology as a "small subject" in the context of university education.

With reference to the fact that there are illnesses that are specific to children and adolescents, Hommelhoff underlined the necessity of designing special diagnostic strategies to combat those illnesses. Among them, he said, paediatric radiology plays a supremely important part. Accordingly, paediatric radiology is a subject that "must be preserved at all costs".

He went on to address the factors militating against the acceptance of paediatric radiology and the prospects of establishing professional status for specialists in paediatric radiology. Granting that the present-day academic and scientific landscape is forced by the shortage of public funding to concentrate its resources on the essentials, Hommelhoff insisted that the so-called "small subjects" are precisely what gives universities their individual profiles. This, he said, has a bearing on their prospects of success when it comes to competing for professors, students and funding for research and teaching.

He then went on to quote the "objective parameters" that make paediatric radiology absolutely indispensable as a university discipline in its own right. Whereas the ratio of radiologists to adults is 60 to 1 million, the corresponding ratio for paediatric radiologists is as low as 3 to 1 million, although children and adolescents account for 15 percent of the total number of patients. As reasons for this disproportion he listed the time required for specialisation, the poor earning prospects and the lack of opportunity for embarking on the training required for specialists.

Please address any inquiries to
Dr. Michael Schwarz
Press Officer of the University of Heidelberg
phone: 06221/542310, fax: 54317

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