Small Conferences Are More Worthwhile

I ditched the hospital early last Friday and sped over to the Emory Conference Center.  There, gray-haired luminaries and neatly combed trainees filled the lobbies with their crisp suits and smart banter.  This is the scene of the Emory Practical Intervention Course, with all the pomp of a proper nerd ball.  The annual meeting attracts interventional cardiologists from across the Southeast region with live case demonstrations and simulations.  But more importantly, it’s an opportunity for old colleagues to reunite, and for young trainees like me to rub shoulders with them.  There were academic faculty and community interventionists, and they all seemed to know each other.

The EPIC meeting reminded me of another smaller gathering last November—AHA Resuscitation Science Symposium (ReSS).  Tucked away from the massive Scientific Sessions next door, ReSS served a tight circle of investigators studying survival after cardiac arrest.  As I showed off my poster on bystander AED use, I was approached by a man with particularly insightful input.  A glance at his name tag revealed him to be the author of a manuscript I had cited in my work.  Small, intimate meetings foster this type of serendipity.  It’s easy for young trainee to feel intimidated or lost in the crowd at a national meeting.  That’s why smaller conferences (such as the upcoming AHA Basic Cardiovascular Sciences (BCVS) meeting) can have a bigger payoff.