November 12th, 2011

AHA.11: How Does One Choose What to Do?

Several Cardiology Fellows who are attending AHA.11 this week are blogging together on CardioExchange.  The Fellows include Revathi Balakrishnan, Eiman Jahangir, John Ryan (moderator), and Amit Shah. Read the first post here. Check back often to learn about the biggest buzz in Orlando.

Sitting in the plane, waiting for it to take off, I think of the number of programs, sessions, exhibits, etc., at the AHA.11 conference. Every day, the agenda shows multiple, concurrent sessions to attend. For instance, on Saturday there are both the Early Career Day general session and workshops for peripheral vascular disease fellows in training. For someone going into interventional cardiology, as I am, it would be nice to attend both (and I actually registered for both), but this will not be possible due to the scheduling.

Sunday appears more manageable with only one time, 3:45, where I have a conflict between two programs, Oral Abstracts and Late-Breaking Clinical Trials. Now while you might think that the obvious choice is to attend the Late-Breaking Clinical Trials session, if your co-fellows were presenting at the Oral Abstracts session, I would imagine that you would want to support them. Then each day of the rest of the sessions, Monday thru Wednesday, is scheduled entirely with concurrent events — plenary sessions and oral abstracts.

For now, at the airport, I am still unsure about what I will see. While I will attend some sessions because of my specific interests, I might select others solely based on what my other colleagues are going to attend. Aside from the opportunity to learn the latest medical news and science, national conferences like the AHA are also the one time in the year that I can see friends with whom I attended medical school, residency, or fellowship. What I look most forward to is not necessarily the sessions but seeing these friends and colleagues. National conferences allow for time to socialize with friends and time to meet new colleagues that may lead to future collaboration on research, job prospects, and other opportunities.

How do you balance your different objectives at AHA?

One Response to “AHA.11: How Does One Choose What to Do?”

  1. I agree — while I love the opportunity and diversity of AHA, I dread the decision-making aspect. Clearly, going to one of two desired sessions is better than going to none at all, but it still is painful to turn one session down. And then there is the “what if” game…what if I would have learned something in that session that completely changed the way I see a certain aspect of cardiology? Or made a new connection for a great research project down the line? Perhaps a bit idealistic…

    This time, I hope to take a step back and just be grateful that I am able to attend any of the sessions at all. This will be hard to do! I would like to think that I’ve learned from past experience that I can’t have it all. I can’t attend everyone’s talks/posters, nor can I expect anyone to attend mine. But if I can make at least something, then I’ve benefited.

    We’ll see…