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College Watch: President's Column

Need help with recertification? Try Annual Session

Other highlights will include hands-on clinical skills courses and "Multiple Small Feedings of the Mind"

From the February 2000 ACP–ASIM Observer, copyright © 2000 by the American College of Physicians–American Society of Internal Medicine.

By Phyllis Maguire

At this year's Annual Session in Philadelphia, a number of new courses will help internists navigate board recertification, get pointers on how to read ECGs and discuss how to fight antibiotic resistance. Here are some of this year's highlights.

Recertification. Because this is the first year in which some internists must go through the American Board of Internal Medicine's recertification or lose their active board certification status, recertification is a major theme of Annual Session 2000.

A two-day pre-Session course will be held April 11-12 to help physicians identify content areas in which they might get help during Annual Session. A faculty panel will present case-based multiple-choice questions from MKSAP 11 to help physicians refresh their knowledge, review basic diagnostic and therapeutic concepts and work through difficult test questions. The course will use a keypad response system that allows audience members to individually answer each question. The panel's moderators will use those responses to identify areas in which audience members need the most help. The moderators will then expand presentations on those topics.

The two-day course will also focus on internal medicine's major subspecialty areas to make studying for recertification more manageable, said Herbert S. Waxman, FACP, the College's Senior Vice President for Education. "We will also include areas that aren't traditional parts of the content of internal medicine but are covered in the blueprint of the ABIM examination, such as psychiatry."

Once Annual Session officially begins on April 13 (the meeting runs through April 16), the College will continue to emphasize recertification with an orientation session on the topic and a number of sessions designed to help attendees prepare for the recertification exam.

Antibiotic resistance. This year's meeting will launch the College's first annual clinical theme: emerging antibiotic resistance. Sessions will focus on the latest information about antibiotic resistance and practical strategies to confront this threat.

One course, "10 Steps to Prevent Antibiotic Resistance in the ICU," will feature College faculty and experts from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which has also made antibiotic resistance a top priority. Other sessions will explore antibiotic resistance in the office setting and examine the appropriate use of antibiotics for conditions such as tuberculosis and sexually transmitted diseases. The importance of immunizations will also be stressed.

Multiple Small Feedings of the Mind. Back by popular demand, Multiple Small Feedings of the Mind is making its third appearance at this year's Annual Session. The program, which was created by the College's Virginia Chapter, answers questions about topics that internists commonly face in their practices. Four 90-minute sessions (one will be held each day of the meeting) will each feature three speakers answering questions on complex or controversial clinical issues.

How do the sessions' designers choose the questions? "It's really fairly simple," said Mark D. Schroeder, FACP, a general internist with Winchester Medical Consultants in Winchester, Va., and this year's Multiple Small Feedings of the Mind coordinator. "We deal with these issues every day, and often there aren't clear answers. We sit down together and ask, 'What do we have trouble with, and what would we like to know?' "

The first day's session will address questions about antibiotic resistance. The session on day two will feature gastroenterology/hepatology; cardiovascular/syncope; and geriatrics. The third day's session will focus on general medicine/chronic pain management; cancer prevention; and cerebral-vascular disease. The session on day four will explore hypertension/ nephrology, rheumatology and thyroid disease.

Clinical skills workshops. Another Annual Session favorite, clinical skills workshops and demonstrations, is being expanded this year. In addition to perennial favorites like skin biopsy techniques, cryosurgery, and gynecologic and musculoskeletal examinations, this year's meeting will feature new sessions on neurologic and sports medicine examinations. Other new clinical skills workshops will show internists how to apply splints and casts and interpret ECGs. Physicians will have a chance to interpret ECGs and compare their interpretations with those of on-site experts.

Two other new clinical skills sessions will focus on osteoporosis and hormone replacement therapy counseling, and on interviewing the challenging patient. Another new clinical skills session on communication, "Discussions with Challenging Patients: Demands for Antibiotics," will be related to the College's clinical theme.

To prevent registration problems for the clinical skills workshops, on­site registration will begin on Tuesday, April 11, and continue on Wednesday outside of the Learning Center. (There is no advance registration before Tuesday.) Registration Thursday through Saturday will take place inside the Learning Center.

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