The More, The Merrier


Organizers of HM09 hope bigger means better.

SHM’s annual meeting—May 14-17 in Chicago—has been expanded to four days. A task force led by SHM board member and course director Joseph Ming-Wah Li, MD, FHM, recommended the change.

“The sense was, with a one-day pre-course and the annual meeting at two days, we didn’t really have enough time to put in all the content we wanted to put in,” says Dr. Li, an SHM board member and director of the hospital medicine program at Harvard Medical School, and associate chief of the division of general medicine and primary care at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston. “Unlike many other professional society meetings, we have several specialties. We have some physicians taking care of adults and others who take care of children. We also have nurse practitioners and physician assistants. The extra day really allows us to take a ‘big tent’ approach and make sure we have content of interest to a variety of different physicians.”

The longer meeting will allow for additional educational programming as well as two new tracks. The “second chance” track will give meeting participants an opportunity to attend sessions they missed earlier in the week. The research track is designed to give both novice and experienced researchers the chance to hone their skills.

“We’re a very young movement, and research lends credibility to any field,” Dr. Li says. “We wanted the SHM annual meeting to be a venue for HM research. In order to do that, we have to do that in a very public way.”

Also new this year is the American Board of Internal Medicine Maintenance of Certification learning session.

Continuing medical education sessions, typically offered in a block schedule, will be staggered this year. Course lengths will be tailored to specific topics, and the variations should create a better meeting experience by reducing lines in the dining area, exhibit halls, and other areas during breaks, Dr. Li says.

Based on early registration, HM09 will set attendance records this year. More than 2,000 physicians are expected to attend.

Mark Chassin, MD, MPP, MPH, president of the Joint Commission, will deliver the keynote address at 9 a.m. Friday. Dr. Chassin, whose organization accredits and certifies more than 15,000 healthcare organizations and programs, says the time has come for the commission to connect with physicians—specifically hospitalists—in a “better, more effective way.”

“The emergence of hospital medicine as a specialty is probably the most important structural change in medical practice in 20 or 25 years,” Dr. Chassin says. “Since many hospitalists are becoming more engaged in not just practicing medicine one patient at a time, but taking responsibility for oversight of quality programs in their hospitals, we certainly want to hear from them about how we can help them achieve their quality and safety goals.”

Robert Wachter, MD, FHM, professor and chief of the division of hospital medicine at the University of California at San Francisco, a former SHM president, and author of the blog Wachter’s World (, will speak at noon Sunday. His program is titled “Creating ‘Accountability’ in a ‘No-Blame’ Culture: The Yin and Yang of the Quality and Safety Revolutions.” TH

Mark Leiser is a freelance writer based in New Jersey.

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