November 4th, 2012

AHA with Some Perspective

Several Cardiology Fellows who are attending AHA.12 in LA this week are blogging together for CardioExchange. The Fellows include Tariq AhmadReva Balakrishnan, Megan Coylewright, Eiman Jahangir, Amit Shah, and John Ryan (moderator). Read the previous post here. Read the next one here. For related CardioExchange content, go to our AHA 2012 Headquarters page.

This year’s AHA conference is a very different experience for me. It is most likely because this year, my home institution of NYU was severely affected by hurricane Sandy. In a way, my mind hasn’t truly left New York City entirely — our institution is in the process of a major recovery on many levels, not only from the physical damage from the storm has caused but also from the resulting displacement of hundreds of patients, and some uncertainty lingers within the training programs for residents and fellows that staff the three hospitals.

Arriving in LA with a group of my co-fellows provided a much needed respite from the events of the past week. Since this is my second AHA conference, and I remembered that overwhelming feeling when picking up the final Scientific Sessions program. As fellows, we’d like to make these meeting the most productive learning experiences possible, and the consensus amongst the group of cofellows in attendance with me was that there is so much to see and to see and too little time. Although I do agree with Eiman that the app is very convenient, I did I resort back to flipping through the program to get to the summary pages for each day which seem to be more user friendly (and then put them in my app, of course).

Overall, I’ve already noticed several differences at this conference:


  1. Opening session – less flashing lights and theatrics compared with last year’s opening session, which felt at times like a Vegas act
  2. The Expo floor is not in the middle of everything: You can go to the sessions without getting pulled into the distractions of all the pharmaceutical booths. I also think that the space is smaller compared to prior conferences I have been to, which I feel is an improvement — does anyone agree with this?


  1. LA — not the best choice for convention location. One has to rent a car and drive everywhere, if you aren’t going to stay right by the convention center, and everything people say about the traffic is unfortunately true
  2. Poster session location — The “meat and potatoes” for the fellows experience is the poster sessions. Often times, this is our introduction into the research world, and a lot of our hard work and time is put into these posters during our busy training. The poster session at this conference is relegated to what seems like a basement area, and is not easy to navigate through, and seems more confusing than last year’s poster area, and the topic areas are not clearly delineated.

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