This past weekend I was in Philly attending the annual Resident’s Meeting with the National Psoriasis Foundation (NPF), a non profit organization whose mission is to “drive efforts to cure psoriatic disease and improve the lives of those affected.” I haven’t been to any resident specific conferences before, so I didn’t know what to expect, but I was actually blown away by the two day event. I learned so much more in those two days than all the times I tried to study psoriasis on my own, and I finally feel like I have a good grasp of the pathophysiology, presentation, and treatment of the disease. The speakers covered everything and their lectures were well organized and easy to understand. If you ever have a chance to attend conferences, especially if you’re a medical student or resident when funding is available, DO IT. You’ll meet great faculty, network with other fellow residents, learn a ton if you pay attention and take notes and ask questions, and you get to spend some time in a new city. I actually cannot wait until my next conference!
I wrote a few tips about conference attending after the AAD conference last year, and I want to share some things I learned at this conference too.
- Sit in the front row. I usually do everything I can to NOT sit at the front, but my coresidents and I got there just when it started, so the only seats left were the ones in the front. This turned out to be a blessing in disguise. Sitting in the front helped me pay attention and stay off my phone. Try it sometime and you may be surprised.
- Ask questions. I am more quiet by nature in large group settings, so asking questions in front of a hundred people is not my thing. However, sitting in the front row helps because you don’t see all the other people in the conference and you’re right up close to the speaker. If you don’t feel comfortable asking the question in front of everyone, go up to the speaker afterwards, introduce yourself and then ask. You don’t learn if you don’t ask, and the best time to ask if when you’re a trainee.
- Network. I had a fun time meeting some of the other dermatology residents from around the country, from Alabama to California. Dermatology is a small field and you never know who you’ll work with in the future or will call when you need advice.
- Volunteer. I didn’t volunteer for some of the small group exercises and I kind of wish I did, just to challenge myself and do something out of my comfort zone.
Thank you so much to the NPF for putting on this excellent and informative conference about psoriasis, and for funding all of the residents to attend.