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Exponential Growth, Look-Ahead Discussions Highlight Pediatric HM 2012


By any measure, Pediatric Hospital Medicine 2012 was a smashing success. More than 600 attendees descended upon Cincinnati and the Northern Kentucky Convention Center for the seventh annual conference, co-sponsored by the Academic Pediatric Association (APA), the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), and SHM. That represents an increase of more than 30% over the previous attendance record, set last year; similar milestones were achieved by the nearly 300 first-time attendees and more than 100 trainees that were present.

Highlights included a keynote speech from HM pioneer Bob Wachter, MD, MHM, professor and chief of the division of hospital medicine, chief of the medical service at the University of California San Francisco Medical Center, and chair of the American Board of Internal Medicine. Dr. Wachter reviewed both the evolution of the field as well as the current and future state of the specialty. Well-attended plenary sessions illustrated the breadth and depth of interests of pediatric hospitalists, as Samir Shah, MD, and Kenneth B. Roberts, MD, reviewed recently published guidelines for community-acquired pneumonia and urinary tract guidelines, respectively, and Joseph Gilhooly, MD, chair of the Pediatric Residency Review Committee, discussed the future of residency education.

Woven throughout the three-and-a-half-day conference were facilitated discussions about the future of the field, specifically the issue of certification. The Strategic Planning Committee (STP), co-chaired by Suzanne Swanson Mendez, MD, and Christopher Maloney, MD, provided attendees with a broad range of perspectives on numerous future options for subspecialty certification or the status quo. Through an audience response system, the most popular option appeared to be a two-year fellowship.

The presidents of all three sponsor groups—APA’s David Jaffe, MD, AAP’s Robert Block, MD, and SHM’s Shaun Frost, MD, SFHM—commented on the remarkable growth of the field and reviewed the “value adds” of each of the societies for its members. One clear takeaway was the value that each of these societies places in its members and the important role of pediatric hospitalists in the future.

Workshops and breakout sessions commanded a significant amount of interest with a record number of tracks and sessions. Attendees flocked to the always popular “Clinical Conundrums,” as well as focused-topic sessions on Mycoplasma pneumoniae, birth-acquired herpes (HSV), and apparent life-threatening events (ALTE). Innovative, hands-on workshops involved technology, whether through bedside ultrasound, tablets, or medical equipment for children with medical complexities. The practice-management track provided attendees with eminently useful workshops on negotiation and work-life balance.

While the quality-improvement (QI), research, and education tracks covered foundational curricula similar to that of previous years, a refreshing array of young and enthusiastic speakers demonstrated the field’s commitment to growth and development.

Always a showcase for the latest and breaking developments, the panoply of research platforms, from plenaries to breakouts to poster sessions, convincingly demonstrated the clear evolution of a specialized body of knowledge in pediatric HM. A new and immensely popular “Clinical Conundrums” poster session further showcased the evolving extent of clinical expertise in the field.

Breakout lunches furthered the development of collaborative efforts within the specialty, as large numbers of attendees charted the future of pediatric hospitalists in medical education, celebrated the growth and standardization of fellowship programs (with a website!), and coordinated activities within the Pediatric Research in Inpatient Settings (PRIS) and Value in Inpatient Pediatrics (VIP) networks.

Conference program co-chairs Tamara Simon, MD, and Jeff Simmons, MD, received accolades and applause for all of the milestone achievements this year. As the field looks to build upon this success, it will come as no surprise that next year’s conference will convene in New Orleans, The Big Easy—an appropriate moniker for a group that has made rapid progress appear natural.

Dr. Shen is pediatric editor of The Hospitalist.

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