HM16 course director Melissa Mattison, MD, SFHM, assistant professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School in Boston, took some time out of her busy schedule to chat with The Hospitalist about how the annual meeting program comes together, the continued relevance of SHM meetings, resisting the lure of San Diego beaches, and more.
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Question: There’s a lot packed into just a few days at every annual meeting. What is the process for determining what makes it into the program?
Answer: The annual meeting committee starts meeting in the spring, basically around 12 to 13 months before the annual meeting. So even as the current annual meeting is going on, the next one is well under way in terms of planning.
The annual meeting committee then meets every single week, if not more frequently, by conference call to map out and assign jobs and whatnot to the group. We usually start by reviewing workshops. The workshop proposals are received by SHM through an open-access submission process, whereby pretty much anyone can submit a proposal for a workshop. The annual meeting committee reviews all of the workshops. This year, we had 160 or 170 workshop submissions. We were only able to accept 16, I believe. …
Listen to more of our interview with Dr. Mattison.
At the same time the workshops are being selected, we work with the leaders of practice management, the leaders of the academic and research committees, and the leaders of quality and pediatrics committees to have them help us identify content for their various tracks, suggest speakers and talks. After all of that’s done, we move on to the remaining didactic sessions, and we look at what things were popular in previous years, what things had good reviews, which speakers were highly regarded, etc., and spend some time thinking deliberately about tracks that we feel we ought to include again, like the “Young Hospitalists” track and tracks that we think deserve to be included that haven’t previously been included—those that warrant some sort of attention because of widespread appeal and usefulness to the attendee of SHM.
Q: It’s very easy for hospitalists to stream videos of talks, access literature online, and talk about important topics in online chat rooms. In this day and age, what is the advantage to physically taking part in an annual meeting in an actual brick-and-mortar building?
A: The content itself is enough to draw someone. It’s packed content in terms of topics that would be of interest and benefit to the average hospitalist; pretty much any hospitalist who’s practicing medicine will find multiple, multiple sessions of interest and value. And you don’t have to go far for them. You don’t have to go hunting for them. They’re all there. …
Aside from actual didactics and content of the annual meeting, there’s the value of networking and of collaboration and meeting and talking to hospitalists from around the country and around the world. I mean, I think that one of the biggest values I’ve had is just meeting other people who are facing challenges in their work environment that I have [and learning] how they solve their challenges.
I think the [special interest] groups that meet Monday evening at 4:30 p.m. … those are great opportunities to go and meet people who have interests that are similar to yours or concerns that are similar to yours.