I have gone back and forth with attending the American Heart Association (AHA) Scientific Sessions online in 2017 (AHA17), to onsite (AHA18), and this year (AHA19) I attended online again. There was absolutely no comparison between attending AHA18 to the online versions! I was the first to say that going to conference is overwhelming because there is so much to see and so many people to meet. I have since come to appreciate the benefits to attending meetings onsite. Generally, I stay within my session [Atherosclerosis, Thrombosis, Vascular Biology (ATVB) or Hypertension (HTN)]. Attending online gives some limitations, such as being at home, work, or traveling, there is a time restraint as well as multiple distractions. I experienced them all! I was traveling to a conference that conflicted with AHA19, thus the distractions of traveling and keeping up with my meeting responsibilities was a lot to juggle. Once I was home, there was everything that goes along with getting settled back into the routine of things that gave me a distraction. This year was a beast of responsibilities, but before I discourage you from attending a meeting online, let me share some benefits and things that I enjoyed about having the flexibility of being online rather than onsite.
With all the distractions I experienced viewing AHA19 online, the main benefit was that I was able to watch sessions at my own pace as well as read the transcripts while the speaker was talking. In previous years I did not use that function; this year, I used it for almost all sessions, and it was wonderful. To be able to take screenshots of the talk and look things up later was the best tool in my toolbox. Additionally, there was a textbox that allowed viewers to ask questions to the speaker without standing in long lines and potentially not getting a response. That has happened to me more times than not because, as chance would have it, the best speakers and researchers show up to AHA meetings. These are the opportunities to get the best guidance regarding research methodology, mentoring, clinical expertise, and networking with some of the best in every discipline from around the globe.
I had the privilege of sitting in on several topics that sparked my interest. For example:
- Update in Clinical Lipidology – Aspirin: Who Needs it Anymore? Discussing what markers should be considered with prescribing aspirin; role of and how to interpret the stenosis score; and considerations of patients with diabetes, family history of nonclassified plaque
- Clinical Trials—ASPREE (JJ Mcneil, NEJM 2018; MATCH); ISAR REACT 5 Trial; and GLOBAL LEADERS)
Share some of your favorite parts of AHA19 with me in the comments or follow me on Twitter (@AnberithaT); also @ahameetings and @ATVBCouncil. Let’s keep this conversation going. Did you attend online or onsite?
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