The current Annual Meeting Planning Committee chair is Brian F. Mandell, MD, PhD, professor of medicine at the Cleveland Clinic. “We recognize that the ACR membership is incredibly broad based, and we try to offer something for everyone,” he says. “That includes basic researchers, translational or clinical researchers, clinicians, educators, trainees, and administrative clinicians. The meeting is an opportunity to hear the latest advances and current trends in each of these areas.”
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Explore This IssueOctober 2007
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The annual meeting is typically packed with choices of educational sessions, allowing members with specific interests to focus on those areas. “The annual meeting includes new science that has not yet been published, areas based on needs assessment data we think [members] need education on, cases to be discussed, and ‘Meet the Professor’ sessions,” Dr. Ramsey-Goldman states. “There are also workshops with hands-on education, whether it’s practice with joint injection, learning new technologies on a PDA, or looking at joint fluid under a microscope.”
The Annual Meeting Planning Committee has made a conscious choice to provide more educational options during this year’s meeting. “We realize that there may be conflicts for some individuals who have to choose [between concurrent sessions offered], but we decided to push toward more alternatives,” says Dr. Mandell.
One way to learn from every session is to access some after the meeting. “We will offer some sessions electronically after the meeting and have recordings of some sessions available to view during the meeting,” says Dr. Mandell.
A separate subcommittee is devoted to planning a multitude of other ACR educational meetings, including the Winter Rheumatology Symposium; the State-of-the-Art Clinical Symposium in Chicago each April; Innovative Therapies, which cover the latest developments in treatments; and special programs for pediatrics, including the Pediatric Rheumatology Review Course and – new for 2008 – the ACR Keystone Pediatric Rheumatology Symposium.
Although the Professional Meetings Committee oversees all these activities, “it does not necessarily plan them,” says Dr. Ramsey-Goldman. Planning groups with expertise in the relevant areas develop the individual programs.
Professional Meetings Committee chair Robert C. Fuhlbrigge, MD, PhD, assistant professor of pediatrics at Harvard Medical School in Boston, explains: “Each of these smaller meetings has grown in its own right to become significant. Each has evolved to meet members’ needs.”
This committee has “developed modules of educational content for credits toward recertification, and also for practice improvement,” says Dr. Ramsey-Goldman. “These were created from scratch, and are available online.”