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Explore This IssueMay 2014
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This year will mark my 31st year of attending the ACR/ARHP Annual Meeting. As I think back over the education, networking, professional development and friendships forged at each of these meetings, I am more convinced than ever that the ACR/ARHP Annual Meeting is the meeting to Advance Rheumatology!
Approaching the ACR’s Annual Meeting this November, I am excited to welcome more than 14,000 attendees from more than 100 countries to Boston, and I can’t imagine a better place to learn, connect, engage and see. Under the leadership of Chester “Chet” V. Oddis, MD, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburg, Pa., and chair of the ACR’s Annual Meeting Planning Committee (AMPC), the AMPC has created a comprehensive program that will showcase cutting-edge and timely topics in clinical and basic science of rheumatologic care, as well as the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of rheumatic diseases and their co-morbidities.
Planning this meeting year after year takes time and a great deal of passion, and I applaud the AMPC for what is already shaping up to be an excellent meeting. In January, I had the opportunity to watch the ballet of choreographing the Annual Meeting. Fifty-six of our colleagues gave a weekend of their time, as well as time for pre- and post-meeting conference calls, to create a program that allows every attendee to maximize their learning in a compact number of days.
This meeting is the best place to learn, connect, engage and see. As I start to think about my meeting schedule this year, I want to share with you what I think are some of the best new opportunities to do each of these things. I’m sure you’ll create your own list as you envision your Annual Meeting, but these opportunities are a great place to start your planning.
The ACR/ARHP Annual Meeting leads with education. It always has, and I hope it always will. In my mind, the hundreds of educational opportunities from which to choose stand out as the top reasons for attending each year.
Traditional & Modern Opening Lectures—If you’re looking for a traditional keynote, Leroy Hood, MD, PhD, president of the Institute for Systems Biology, Seattle, Wash., and a pioneer in the systems approach to biology and medicine, will give an opening lecture on an integrative approach to personalized medicine.
If you are a fan of Ted Talks, you’ll want to attend the ARHP’s opening session, which is a Ted-style opening lecture that will cover a number of topics, such as innovation in rheumatology research, cures in severe autoimmune disease and distinguishing intrinsic worth to patients and extrinsic value to the healthcare system.
Maintenance of Certification—If seeing patients while balancing life’s other commitments keeps you as busy as it does me, we might share the opinion that it can seem like there is hardly time to fit the new ABIM Maintenance of Certification (MOC) requirements into your already full schedule. The ACR is actively seeking ways to incorporate MOC into activities we are already doing—including attending sessions at the Annual Meeting.
This year, the Annual Meeting will offer three sessions (at no additional cost to attendees, I might add) designed to refresh their knowledge in key areas of the MOC exam blueprint as they earn MOC points. Topics will include rheumatoid arthritis (led by Jonathan Kay, MD, UMass Memorial Medical Center, Boston, Mass.), vasculitis (led by Carol Langford, MD, MHS, Cleveland [Ohio] Clinic), and other rheumatic and connective tissue diseases (led by Nancy Olsen, MD, University of California at Davis).
Learning More about the Social World of Medicine—Patients are blogging and sharing their experiences with each other, physicians are participating in Twitter chats to help shine light on specific medical topics, and crowdsourcing sites continue to offer space for feedback on our patients’ experiences within our practices. Like it or not, use it or not, social media is now a major player in healthcare.
At this year’s meeting, two sessions on social media will be available: Twitter Basics and Blogging for Beginners. These sessions will help those of us who are just getting our feet wet realize the value of social media in enhancing lifelong learning in medicine, as well as extending our professional networks.
I don’t know if I’ll ever have the Twitter following of Justin Bieber, Lady Gaga or Pope Francis (nor do I think I’d want to), but I do want to know where my patients are gathering, talking and obtaining healthcare information.
I don’t know if I’ll ever have the Twitter following of Justin Bieber, Lady Gaga or Pope Francis (nor do I think I’d want to), but I do want to know where my patients are gathering, talking & obtaining healthcare information.
Perhaps a close second to the education that will be offered is the opportunity to reconnect with friends and make new connections. With so many colleagues from around the world in one place, I like to fill my spare time with those precious face-to-face meetings that aren’t always so easy to plan throughout the year.
The meeting has more than 30 networking opportunities, and the ACR is continuing to create other ways for us to connect while in Boston. For many of us, the education at the meeting is a catalyst for conversations, which lead to collaborations. I often wonder how many research projects, new ACR ideas and burgeoning careers all started with conversations in the hallways and networking sessions of the ACR/ARHP Annual Meeting.
This meeting doesn’t just happen. The good work of the AMPC is not only supported but driven by the participation of those who submit abstracts, fellows in training who participate in the Knowledge Bowl, those who submit cases to the Thieves Market and everyone else who actively engages in the meeting.
I encourage each of you to join me in being an active participant while at the meeting this year. It could be as simple as tweeting with the hashtag #ACR14 or as involved as submitting an abstract. As an aside, abstract submission is open until noon Eastern on June 24, so it isn’t too late to be a part of this year’s program. For those who will not be submitting abstracts, will you cheer on fellows in training from your institution in the Knowledge Bowl? Will you engage with exhibitors in the Exhibit Hall? Will you join me at the opening session and other networking events? Will you share your favorite moments from the meeting on social media?
I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention our wonderful host city of Boston. Whether it’s Fenway Park, Quincy Market, a visit to Harvard or some clam chowder and a pint of Samuel Adams, Boston is a welcoming and abundant city. For me, no trip to Boston is complete without a visit to the North End for pasta and cannoli or to Legal Sea Foods for any of its abundance. Jeanne loves to visit her old childhood neighborhood in Natick, Mass. I know we can steal a few hours from our schedule of meetings and social events to charge our souls in these places.
These are just a few ways I plan to spend my time at this year’s meeting. Are you ready to start planning ways you’ll do the same? Inside this edition of The Rheumatologist is registration information. Also, visit www.ACRannualmeeting.org for the most up-to-date meeting information. Finally, check out my abbreviated version of this column on the Annual Meeting blog, and comment to let me and other colleagues know how you plan to learn, connect, engage and see at this year’s meeting.
So as the title says, “it’s on,” and I can’t wait to see you all in Boston, where we can all Advance Rheumatology!
Dr. Joseph Flood is a rheumatologist at the Columbus Arthritis Center and adjunct associate professor at The Ohio State University College of Medicine and Public Health, both in Columbus. Contact him at email@example.com.