Kristin Atkins, MD, Scientific Program Committee, Chair
Value adds positive outcome to an experience. Part of my personal mission of being Scientific Program Committee, Chair is to recognize what we do as individuals for patients, coworkers, and trainees and add components to the Annual Scientific Meeting that provide venues to make all of these aspects even better. The 2016 Meeting is being constructed and aims to:
- Provide hands- on training and group discussions to encourage diagnosis at a high standard,
- Give individuals confidence in their abilities, and
- Provide opportunities that allow for reflection and camaraderie.
The majority of us still love the beauty of cells and you could see the joy in morphology last year at the microscopic workshops and virtual microscopy sessions. They were filled to capacity and ended with attendees still viewing slides. This year, we have increased the number of sessions and the time in each workshop to accommodate this popular learning venue. The workshops on communication and leadership received the highest scores last year and we are bringing them back and adding to them this year. We are sprinkling these opportunities throughout the meeting so that more members can participate. We are adding mini workshops to some of the evenings. These are one-hour discussions on focused topics that will be an after-dinner treat.
In 1999, I attended my first ASC Meeting by myself as a resident. At that time, there were not that many trainees and, to tell you the truth, it was a rather lonely experience. This is in stark contrast to one year later when I attended under the wing of my fellowship director. I met so many cytotechnologists and cytopathologists in Kansas City. What was apparent was the mutual appreciation between technologists and pathologists and the support given to me to get involved in the Society. The difference in the two meetings was impactful. Last year we strived to provide more venues for trainees by creating Trainee Enrichments sessions. These free sessions covered a variety of topics given in a casual setting so that trainees could connect with ASC members and each other. My favorite evaluation from these stated, “The trainee enrichment sessions gave me a home. The faculty was so kind and encouraging. Best part of the meeting.” We value the young members and want to encourage more attendance. For our cytotechnology students and cytotechnologists in their first 3 years, we are also offering a free session of hands-on rapid onsite adequacy practice.
I was listening to an actress give tips to an acting class and she kept saying, “It’s not about you, it’s about your audience.” I think this has to be the mantra of the Scientific Program Committee.
- What do our attendees need?
- What venues work best?
- What will encourage more participation
- What will bring value to their meeting experience?
One focus this year is to increase the number of sessions included in the general registration fee. Every session has been scrutinized as to whether it is broadly informational and therefore pertinent to the entire cohort (and; therefore, rolled into the registration cost). We have more panel updates on nomenclature and practice such as with head and neck squamous cell carcinomas and breast cytology, as well as free sessions on FNA technique and practical molecular information all in rooms that can accommodate large audiences. We sometimes have multiple free offerings so that members may choose which topic is most relevant to their practice. Our guest speakers will cover topics ranging from genomics and personalized medicine to social health issues.
There are small break out sessions aimed to highlight us as individuals and what value we each bring to our profession (how nice to focus on what you are doing right and what you are doing well).
Of course, one of the nicest parts about the ASC Annual Scientific Meeting is connecting with friends and expanding our cytology family. We are expanding the time allocated for the Exhibitor Hall and working with the ASC Foundation for the showing of a movie on the HPV epidemic. The Hyatt Regency Hotel in New Orleans will be the headquarters is well thought out and the meeting rooms, exhibit hall, and meeting rooms are all close together making for extremely easy navigation.
I would like to highlight the value I am experiencing from the Scientific Program Committee to bring an incredible Meeting to you this November. This group has already put in over 100 volunteer hours and they are approaching this Meeting with such excitement and thoughtfulness. My job is simple as they are all invested in bringing you value in 2016 in hopes that you leave eager for the 2017 Meeting!