At this year's Annual Session, focus is on innovative learning
By Phyllis Maguire
This year's Annual Session will offer internists an expanded menu of innovative learning formats and award-winning Annual Session favorites. Here are some of the highlights of this year's meeting, which will be held in Atlanta from March 29 through April 1.
Clinical Pearls. This series will feature an interactive format designed to give internists practical clinical answers to recurring questions. "The clinical pearls are teaching points that have some evidence-based support in the literature but aren't well known to most internists," explained Scott C. Litin, FACP, Chair of the College's Scientific Program Subcommittee and moderator for the Clinical Pearls sessions. "We've asked the subspecialists who will present the sessions to think about the questions they get day in and day out about confusing, recurrent aspects of their specialty."
A different 90-minute Clinical Pearls session will be held on Thursday, Friday and Saturday. At each session, subspecialist faculty will present eight clinical cases on two different conditions, for a total of 16 cases per session. Audience members will have the chance to answer multiple-choice questions after each case using audience-response keypads.
The first Clinical Pearl session will focus on congestive heart failure, valvular heart disease and diabetes. The second session will focus on coronary artery disease and acute coronary syndromes, as well as hepatitis and hepato-biliary disorders. The final session will focus on rheumatology, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and lung cancer.
Clinical Skills. Interactivity will also be a major draw at this year's Clinical Skills sessions, which are being expanded. Some Clinical Skills sessions—those that focus on evaluating and treating the diabetic foot, for instance, and examining the ear, nose and throat—feature "hands-on" stations that allow internists to practice their skills on other session attendees. Some sessions will also feature role-playing and small-group discussions.
In addition, the College is offering several new Clinical Skills sessions this year focusing on pain management and women's health. These sessions are always popular, so College officials encourage internists to register in advance for them.
For even more clinical skills, internists can stop by the Learning Center. This year's center will feature demonstration videos and skills practice sessions on physical exams, office-based procedures and computer software.
Meet and Eat with the Professor. You'll also want to sign up early for the "Meet and Eat with the Professor" series, an offshoot of the popular (and ongoing) "Meet the Professor" sessions, where larger groups hear from distinguished faculty about new clinical approaches or innovative practice techniques. These offshoot sessions, which are limited to 35 attendees each and require advance registration, feature breakfast or lunch with a faculty member.
Multiple Small Feedings of the Mind. The always-popular "Multiple Small Feedings of the Mind" series will be back at this year's meeting. Four 90-minute panel sessions will each cover three different topics, with faculty answering complex or controversial questions for practicing internists. Faculty will cover new therapies for diabetes, strategies to prevent myocardial infarction, and therapies to manage patients with sexual dysfunction.
History of Medicine. Jock Murray, MACP, professor at the Dalhousie School of Medicine in Halifax, Nova Scotia, has once again designed a provocative "History of Medicine" series in medical humanities. At the "Medicine in the Civil War" presentation, faculty will discuss the Battle of Atlanta and the physicians who cared for the injured during it. Other sessions will include "The Health of Presidents," "Evolution of Concepts of Disease" and "The History of the Physical Examination."
Antibiotic resistance. Throughout Annual Session, the College will present courses related to its clinical theme, which focuses on emerging antibiotic resistance. "Antibiotics in Ambulatory Practice: An Evidence-Based Approach" and "The Global Impact of Drug-Resistant Infectious Organisms" will both focus on the problem of antibiotic resistance.
Pre-Session. Before Annual Session kicks off, internists can choose from an expanded menu of nine pre-Session courses that begin on Tuesday, March 27. The "Clinical and Procedural Skills Training" course directed by Patrick C. Alguire, FACP, the College's Director of Education and Career Development, will be held again. Last year, the course received an award for the year's best live continuing medical education program from the Alliance for Continuing Medical Education, an association of CME professionals.
For the first time, a pre-Session dermatology course will focus on the skills and knowledge primary care physicians need to manage common skin problems. Other pre-Session courses will focus on the evidence behind alternative medicine and ECG interpretation skills for practicing internists. Immediately after the ECG course, attendees can also take the four-hour ECG proficiency exam offered by the Institute for Clinical Evaluation. (For more information on the exam, call 888-423-2007 or see www.icemed.org.)
To help internists get through recertification, the College is also offering a two-day recertification preparation course before Annual Session. Internists who have to recertify can also tailor an educational program from other Annual Session courses to help them prepare for the exam.
"The 'very latest' in medical information usually doesn't appear on that's year's examination," pointed out Herbert S. Waxman, FACP, the College's Senior Vice President for Education. "Keeping that in mind, recertification candidates can use the Annual Session program to fill up their personal agenda with high-frequency, high-impact topics that are highly likely to be covered on the exam."
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