History

CIRA

The Canadian Interventional Radiology Association (CIRA) had its foundation at the 2000 meeting of the Society of Cardiovascular and Interventional Radiology (SCVIR), later to become The Society of Interventional Radiology (SIR), in San Diego. Through the auspices of industry, a luncheon was so that Canadian IRs could discuss issues specific to Canadian practice. A proposal came forward that a Canadian society be organized.

Leading the discussion were Lindsay Machan of Vancouver, who talked about the need for a politically active lobby group and warned of the increasing role of other specialties in peripheral vascular interventions, as well as Marty Simons of Toronto, who talked about the need for formally recognized Canadian fellowship in Interventional Radiology. These were two very prophetic pioneering CIRA founders. Also present was Steve Millward, then of London, Ontario, who took the initiative to attempt to organize a Canadian Association, becoming the first President. Potential names of the society were discussed and provincial or regional contact people were appointed. It is interesting to note that the first three presidents of CIRA were present at that meeting; Steve Millward, Murray Asch of Toronto, and Peter Collingwood of St. John's.

Over the next several months Steve Millward, helped to secure start up industry funding and made some initial contacts in starting the organizational structure of the society. It must be said that Mary Holley, Steve's wife, played a key role in the founding of CIRA, by establishing financial, membership, and industry structures. At the 2001 Canadian Association of Radiologists (CAR) meeting, in Vancouver, a one day seminar in IR was held with case based presentations, and formal lectures. Many of these talks were given by future executive CIRA members. That evening a faculty dinner was held and the following day a meeting was held to formally structure CIRA.

Steve Millward officially became the first President. The first executive included Murray Asch, Marty Simons, Peter Collingwood, Lindsay Machan and John Bennett, of London. It was also agreed that a CIRA annual meeting be organized for the following year with Murray Asch taking the lead role. With industry support regular executive meetings were held to discuss and promote CIRA objectives and goals as well as to plan the first annual meeting.

In June of 2002, following tremendous work by Murray Asch the first formal annual meeting of CIRA took place in Niagara-on-the Lake, Ontario. It was an outstanding success. CIRA realized that a Canadian Society was not only feasible but could grow and respond to the need for increasing utilization of IR for Canadian patients. Murray Asch subsequently became the second CIRA president.
 
The next two years saw exceptional growth in CIRA. Annual Meetings continued to be successful and CIRA began its role as a lobby group, using results from the Ontario UFE trial as an example of the important role for IR in Canada, as well as highlighting the need for IRs to be more clinical.

In 2004 CIRA caught the attention of the CAR. Formal Presentations were made by Peter Collingwood to the CAR showing that IR should be an important part of radiology and that radiology as a whole would suffer if IR procedures were lost to other specialties. Peter Collingwood went on to become CIRA's third president and a formal link with the CAR was established in 2005, with Peter Collingwood being appointed to the CAR executive. This link with the CAR was made possible because of the forward thinking approach of Dr. Larry Stein, its president, and Normand Laberge its CEO. Normand took a lead role in CIRA and over the next two years, CIRA became incorporated, and fully accountable financial practices were established. Also during this period Annie Bilodeau, CAR staff member and future first executive director of CIRA, began her association with CIRA. The executive structure changed to become more regionally representative and to include new leaders in the specialty. Lobbying to Health Canada and the public became a key focus of CIRA.

In 2006 the SIR met in Toronto and this allowed CIRA to more formally establish links with the SIR

In 2007 Marie-France Giroux became the fourth President of CIRA. An outstanding annual meeting was held in Banff, Alberta, with a large attendance of western Canadian IRS. Application to the Royal College of physicians and Surgeons was a challenging focus. Also challenging was the reorganization of the CAR which would no longer formally recognize CIRA as part of the CAR structure. This necessitated the need for an independent CIRA office which was established in early 2008 in Montreal, with Annie Bilodeau as executive director. While the formal three year link with the CAR was coming to a close, a positive informal relationship between CIRA and CAR continues. Very strong links are being established with the SIR and worldwide IR community.

By the spring of 2008, without missing a step, CIRA continues to grow, Industry partnership support is at an all-time high and the association as begun welcoming residents and IR fellows as members as well as our nurse and technologist colleagues.

The success of CIRA would not have been possible without the financial, moral and organizational support of our industry partners.


CIRA past Presidents:

2000-2003: Dr. Steve Millward (ON)
2003-2005: Dr. Murray Asch (ON)
2005-2007: Dr. Peter Collingwood (NL)
2007-2009: Dr. Marie-France Giroux (QC)
2009-2010: Dr. Brian Hardy (MB)
2010-2011: Dr. Peter Collingwood (NL)
2011-2013: Dr. John Kachura (ON)
2013-2015: Dr. Andrew Benko (QC)

CIRA President:
2015-2017: Dr. Robert Abraham (NS)