Perspective No. 1, Farokh Jamalyaria, MD, University of Texas at Houston: The 2014 ACR/ARHP Annual Meeting was a great way to catch up to the cutting edge of clinical rheumatology. Although I did present a research poster, the primary draw of the conference, for me, was the wealth of clinical information.
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Explore This IssueFebruary 2015
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Boston, in November, was as cold as I expected it to be. I’ve lived mostly in warm regions of the U.S., so I haven’t accumulated much winter gear, but what I had was more than adequate for the trip.
The ACR Review Course was the first major session for most attendees; it was likely also the most well attended. Highlights of the day-long course included updates on pregnancy management and outcome in systemic lupus, macrophage activation syndrome, interstitial lung disease in rheumatic disease, clinical genomics, management of salivary gland involvement in Sjögren’s syndrome, management of pseudogout, assessment and management of large vessel vasculitis and treatment of rheumatoid arthritis after diagnosis of malignancy.
The following day, the Year in Review session brought everyone up to speed on new treatments for psoriatic arthritis, the use of biosimilars of biologic agents and “repurposing” new drugs for rheumatic diseases.
The Great Debate was as fascinating to watch this year as it was last year. This year, it was on the topic of belimumab for the treatment of systemic lupus erythematosus. The rest of the conference was studded with excellent and lively lectures on rheumatic diseases, from The Butterfly Effect: Lupus Rashes and Their Mimics to Clinical Challenges in Sjögren’s Syndrome: Neurological Complications and Lymphoma Risk and Rheumatology on the Street. It was impossible to attend every lecture in person. Thankfully, attendees have free online access to the lectures for an entire year via SessionSelect (also see some session reports on pages 50–71 in this issue).
Away from the conference, my co-fellows, attendings and our friends and I enjoyed Boston. Some of us took a guided tour along the Freedom Trail, where we were presented with interesting stories about Samuel Adams, John Hancock and other important figures of the American Revolution. Some of us checked out famous local eateries. We divided a slice of Boston cream pie among four of us. We also visited the oldest bar in Boston. A particularly memorable evening involved a departmental dinner near Faneuil Hall followed by karaoke.
Perspective No. 2, Jayanth Doss, MD, Vanderbilt University Program, Nashville, Tenn: The ACR/ARHP Annual Meeting can be an unforgettable and invaluable experience for a rheumatology fellow. The combination of state-of-the-art plenaries, poster sessions and exhibits is an amazing opportunity to learn more about rheumatology. Networking is a critical activity during the meeting. How many other times will there be thousands of other rheumatology fellows and faculty in the same location? Having a few Annual Meetings under my belt certainly affected how I experienced the 2014 meeting in Boston. As a third-year fellow, here are some of my perspectives:
The first activity of the meeting was an evening session created exclusively for fellows. A few dozen faculty mentors from across the nation were kind enough to precept roundtable sessions on a variety of topics that are relevant to fellows. This also provided a great chance to network with prominent names in our field. Afterward, there was a career fair and reception. With only months until fellowship is complete, meeting with prospective employers was an extremely valuable piece of this meeting. The reception also provided a venue to meet fellows from other programs in a social setting. It sounds like a broken record, but networking, networking and networking were the highlights of this evening.
The Annual Meeting provides too many sessions to count for bolstering rheumatology knowledge. With my first job and rheumatology boards coming within months, I have been motivated like never before to shore up holes in my knowledge. And the best part is, any sessions that I missed are available free online via SessionSelect.
The Workshops and Meet the Professor sessions are a great experience, with topics and skills being taught in small groups in an atmosphere where it is easy to ask questions. Given the great experience I had with these sessions, I will be certain to register for these at future meetings.
One of the most rewarding parts of attending this meeting was the social aspect. I was able to catch up with old friends and colleagues from other institutions in a way that would not be possible without this meeting taking place. The meeting also provides the chance to get to know colleagues from your own institution in a setting away from the workplace. Our division holds an annual dinner, which is always a ton of fun. Finally, the ACR Fellows Subcommittee holds an annual social event for fellows. This year’s location was in South Boston and was a blast—as it always is.
I have had wonderful experiences at ACR/ARHP Annual Meetings in the past, and the 2014 meeting in Boston was no different. I have learned to take better advantage of the strengths of the Annual Meeting. Things that must be done in person, such as networking, meetings and workshops now take precedence over other activities that can be done online at a later time. I had a great experience in Boston, and I am already looking forward to the 2015 ACR/ARHP Annual Meeting in San Francisco on Nov. 6–11.