Thriving at the annual meeting in your early-career years

I.M. Ready is a new regular feature that will explore topics relevant to early-career internal medicine physicians, particularly those within five years of residency graduation.

Tracey L. Henry, MD, MPH, MS, FACP, first joined ACP as a medical student, but it wasn't until she was a resident that she attended her first Internal Medicine Meeting. She felt excited—and a little mystified.

Physicians at the start of their medical careers get to know each other at the Early Career Physicians Networking Luncheon at Internal Medicine 2022 in Chicago Image by Kevin Berne
Physicians at the start of their medical careers get to know each other at the Early Career Physicians Networking Luncheon at Internal Medicine 2022 in Chicago.. Image by Kevin Berne

“Because it's the first meeting, you're not sure what to expect, and when you look through, everything looks so overwhelming. There are so many choices, and you're not sure what you're going to do when you get there,” she said. “But when you get there, it's actually very organized and there's signs everywhere. I thought it was pretty easy to maneuver.”

Like many learners, Dr. Henry first came to the meeting because she was selected to present at the National Abstract Competition. “I felt special. I was like, ‘Wow, they chose me to come all the way here to the national meeting to present on a novel clinical case that I had managed.’ I was proud to share the clinical pearls for the next person who might take care of a similar presentation,” she said.

Internal Medicine Meeting 2023 runs from Thursday, April 27, through Saturday, April 29, with in-person precourses offered on Tuesday, April 25, and Wednesday, April 26. Standard meeting registration, virtual or in person, includes access to all recorded sessions for 30 days, while individuals who register at the Premium level get one full year of access to meeting recordings, along with bonus educational content. (Visit the meeting website for registration and more information.)

Now Dr. Henry is Chair of the Council of Early Career Physicians, and the meeting has evolved since her first foray. Not only has the COVID-19 pandemic prompted a popular hybrid in-person/virtual design, but attendees have more information available at their fingertips than ever through the ACP Meetings app.

The first step is being prepared and knowing where you want to go ahead of time, Dr. Henry recommended. “If you wait till you get there to do it—and that's fine if you're a busy clinician, busy resident, busy medical student—make sure once you finally get there, you get your app in the first 30 minutes or so and really comb through the schedule and map out all the places that you want to go.”

Dr. Henry, who is an associate professor of medicine at Emory University and assistant health director of the Grady Primary Care Center in Atlanta, said she uses the app to select activities based on her areas of interest. “I may go to the health policy section or, if I'm really interested in depression management or preop medicine, then I go there and select and add it to my calendar.”

Attending sessions with colleagues can also be a fun way to connect at the meeting, said ACP Resident/Fellow Member Romela Petrosyan, MD, Chair of the Council of Resident/Fellow Members. “It's helpful to partner with one or more other colleagues to attend sessions of mutual interest,” she said.

And don't worry too much about not being able to attend all the things. “The great thing about IM Meetings is that they offer similar workshops at different times, so if you miss the first preop one or the first heart failure or sepsis lecture, there'll be another one at another time or another day,” Dr. Henry said. “And you can get alerts so that you know where you're supposed to be at any moment in the day to make sure you don't miss out on any programming.”

She highlighted three workshops that the Council of Early Career Physicians is sponsoring this year: “Make an Impact and Get Promoted Via Nontraditional Methods,” “Triaging Financial Priorities for Early Career Physicians,” and “How to Keep Up with Medical Evidence.” (See the sidebar for a list of sessions specifically tagged for early-career attendees.)

Dr. Henry will be codirecting the first session with Matthew Watto, MD, FACP, of The Curbsiders podcast. “That's one I wouldn't miss,” she said. “If you're thinking about academics, whether you're a medical student, resident, fellow, or have been in practice, you should attend because it gives you examples of how to get promoted and make an impact nontradtionally.”

Many early-career physicians can feel stuck at the instructor or assistant professor rank if they don't publish in a peer-reviewed journal—what's known as the “publish or perish” phenomenon, Dr. Henry said. “But I've been successfully promoted to associate professor, and I've done a ton of advocacy work,” she said. “So this is about how to repurpose your community engagement, your equity work, your podcast work and make it scholarly.”

The finance talk is another can't-miss session for early-career physicians and trainees, especially those who are just starting out, said Dr. Henry. “I was telling a medical student the other day that I wish that I had started paying back my Public Service Loan Forgiveness as a resident, because then I would be done by now. … You should start paying [before you're in practice] because it's based upon your income, and as a resident, your income is much lower, and so your payments would be much lower. And it still counts,” she said.

The third workshop will review how busy clinicians and trainees can stay current with the medical literature by creating an individualized plan to receive emails daily, weekly, or monthly, Dr. Henry said. “They're going to give you tips about how to know what's going on and how to use ACP resources to stay abreast of articles.”

New this year, the Career & Professional Development Center will offer attendees a variety of professional development resources. These include Mini But Mighty academic skills sessions, one-on-one career or QI coaching sessions, Meet the Podcaster and Meet the Editor table sessions, a Job Placement Center, and an abstract and poster display.

For those seeking new connections, there will be an early-career networking luncheon and an early-career chapter leaders luncheon, Dr. Henry noted. “You're welcome to come to both if you're an aspiring leader or an actual chapter leader,” she said.

Dr. Henry recommended having a one-liner at the ready when meeting new people. “That may sound a little crazy, but you should be able to summarize yourself in one line … so that you're telling me who you are, what you do, and where you're from,” she said, adding that posting photos on social media and tagging @ACPIMPhysicians, #IMProud, and #IMM2023 can also build community beyond the meeting.

Finally, make sure to bring either print or virtual business cards with your contact information to share with other attendees so that you can stay in touch, said Dr. Petrosyan, who is an attending nephrologist and proceduralist at Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston.

“Be open and inquisitive, approaching the meeting with a growth mindset as you build new friendships along the way,” she said.

Know before you go: Early-career sessions

Day 1: Thursday, April 27

Make an Impact and Get Promoted Via Nontraditional Methods
  • Who: Director, Matthew Watto, MD, FACP; Co-Director: Tracey L. Henry, MD, MPH, MS, FACP
  • What: Embracing expanded definitions of scholarship and “what counts” in medicine, including advocacy and diversity, equity, and inclusion work
  • When: 8 to 9 a.m. PT
  • Where: Room 16

Understanding Clinical Research: Randomized Controlled Trials
  • Who: Moderator, ACP Member Eliseo Guallar, MD, DrPH; Panelists, Christine Laine, MD, MPH, FACP, and Christina C. Wee, MD, MPH, FACP
  • What: Learning about the role of different types of randomized controlled trials in the hierarchy of evidence and how to interpret results critically
  • When: 1:30 to 2:30 p.m. PT
  • Where: Room 29; will be recorded

IMGs in the U.S.: Increasing Diversity and Improving Access to Care
  • Who: Moderator, Priya Radhakrishnan, MD, FACP; Panelists, ACP Resident/Fellow Member Moe Ameri, MD, MSc, and Natalia Solenkova, MD, PhD, MLS, FACP
  • What: Reviewing the ways international medical graduate (IMG) physicians have changed the U.S. health care system and offering resources and a toolkit to support IMGs
  • When: 2:45 to 3:45 p.m. PT
  • Where: Room 16; will be recorded

Allyship Basics and Beyond
  • Who: Moderator, Jabraan S. Pasha, MD, FACP; Panelist, Ashley Walker, MD
  • What: Identifying areas of improvement within allyship and how to effectively address microaggressions
  • When: 4:30 to 5:30 p.m. PT
  • Where: Room 6F; will be recorded

Pathways to Universal Health Care in the United States: Better Is Possible
  • Who: Moderator, Ed Weisbart, MD, CPE; Panelist, Claudia M. Fegan, MD, FACP
  • What: Understanding how the current U.S. health care system falls short in terms of affordability, equity, and access and how both a single-payer and a public option could improve coverage
  • When: 4:30 to 5:30 p.m. PT
  • Where: Room 6C; will be livestreamed and recorded

Day 2: Friday, April 28

Harnessing Mentoring Relationships for Women
  • Who: Moderator, Bisi Alli, DO, MS, FACP; Panelists, Eliza Lo Chin, MD, MPH, MACP; Susan Thompson Hingle, MD, MACP; and Ankita Sagar, MD, MPH, FACP
  • What: Identifying strategies to progress effectively in mentoring relationships with both female and male colleagues
  • When: 8 to 9 a.m. PT
  • Where: Room 6F; will be recorded

Everyone Is a Leader in Transforming the Culture of Medicine
  • Who: Moderator, Lisa Ellis, MD, MS, MACP; Panelist, Ankita Sagar, MD, MPH, FACP
  • What: Identifying how to create inclusive and psychologically safe environments, build trust, and break the culture of silence in medicine
  • When: 9:15 to 10:15 a.m. PT
  • Where: Room 6F; will be recorded

How to Keep Up with Medical Evidence
  • Who: Director, Alfonso Iorio, MD, PhD, FACP; Co-Director, ACP Member Shreya P. Trivedi, MD
  • What: Learning about strategies to keep up with emerging evidence, including the use of ACP resources
  • When: 1:30 to 2:30 p.m. PT
  • Where: Room 16

How to Write a Clinical Case Report
  • Who: Director, Gustavo R. Heudebert, MD, MACP; Co-Director, Andrew Fenves, MD, FACP
  • What: Learning the academic potential of case reports as a trainee and how to identify and write a good case
  • When: 2:45 to 3:45 p.m. PT
  • Where: Room 6F

Day 3: Saturday, April 29

Food as Medicine
  • Who: Director, Shreela V. Sharma, PhD, RD, LD
  • What: Learning about nutrition as it pertains to managing chronic diseases and developing and strengthening nutrition counseling skills
  • When: 11 a.m. to 12 p.m. PT
  • Where: Room 30

Presentation Skills for Clinicians: Making Your Next Teaching Presentation Go Better Than Your Last
  • Who: Professor, Scott C. Litin, MD, MACP
  • What: Learning how to organize an effective teaching presentation and how to constructively critique others' presentations
  • When: 1:30 to 2:30 p.m. PT
  • Where: Room 30; will be recorded

Triaging Financial Priorities for Early Career Physicians
  • Who: Director, Amy K. Holbrook, MD, FACP; Co-Director, Disha C. Spath, MD, FACP
  • What: Developing a framework for prioritizing competing financial goals, including student loan management and saving for retirement
  • When: 1:30 to 2:30 p.m. PT
  • Where: Room 16

How to Get Published: Surviving the Peer-Review Process for Journals
  • Who: Moderator, Christine Laine, MD, MPH, FACP; Panelist, Michael A. LaCombe, MD, MACP
  • What: Learning about the journal peer-review process and how to increase the chances of publication success
  • When: 2:45 to 3:45 p.m. PT
  • Where: Room 6F; will be recorded