ACR CONVERGENCE 2021—Networking—one of the elements that has been missed the most since COVID-19 forced live medical meetings to go virtual—is still possible in a virtual setting, especially with some planning and being aware of the opportunities the meeting platform has to offer, panelists said during ACR Convergence 2021 on Nov. 2.
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In a session prior to start of this year’s ACR Convergence, panelists discussed how attendees can take advantage of the event to connect with colleagues. A common theme: To network well, you must approach the meeting with the intention to network well.
“Networking really is a mindset. It helps us to build connections with others, both personally and professionally,” said Kamala Nola, PharmD, MS, chair of pharmacy practice at the Lipscomb University College of Pharmacy, Nashville. “I know I have met many of my best friends at the ACR meetings. I’ve met collaborators. I’ve met those who I want to have a relationship with to really improve my practice and to improve the science.”
But it doesn’t happen by accident. “Make full use of the ACR Convergence platform. Be familiar with that platform before you ever get started,” she said. “Be thoughtful about who it is you want to network with, and don’t forget that you bring something to them as well.”
The ACR will hold Interprofessional Team Networking Forums on Nov. 7 and 8 at 1 p.m. EST. The first is a Diverse Discipline Day, during which professionals can discuss topics relevant to their specialties with peers. The second forum will revolve around Hot Topics, such as advocacy or infusion suites or how to handle insurance considerations.
Afterward, be sure to follow up, Ms. Nola said. Be sure to provide information you told other attendees you would provide.
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Laura Lewandowski, MD, MS, head of the Lupus Genetics and Global Health Disparities Unit at the National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases (NIAMS), Bethesda, Md., said it’s important to plan your schedule ahead of time and consider why you’re attending a given session. Was it because of the topic or to connect with someone in the session?
“How you approach each session is going to depend on the type of session and also on your own goals for this session,” Dr. Lewandowski said. Trainees and those earlier in their career should consider getting help reviewing their schedule from mentors and peers so they don’t miss important sessions.