This past week I had the opportunity to go to Baltimore, MD to attend Academic Internal Medicine Week 2017. It was put on by the Alliance of Academic Internal Medicine (AAIM), an alliance made up of five different organizations:
The last time I participated in an academic conference like this was for the 2015 APDIM Chief Resident’s Meeting. Each year, APDIM invites upcoming Chief Residents for several days of workshops and training. They provide education about the role and a sort of network for those who are interested in it.
This year I attended the CDIM meetings in my role as one of the Associate Clerkship Directors at my institution. My first impression was that I felt out of place. I looked around and people who have been in their roles for their entire careers. I saw people who have published numerous articles in the field of medical education. It was, I’ll admit, a bit intimidating.
I flew out on Saturday afternoon and arrived at nearly 11 PM at BWI. Picking up my checked bag from baggage claim took longer than I had hoped. By the time I was able to get a taxi to the Marriott in downtown Baltimore, check in, and get settled in my room it was past midnight. By the time I was in bed and trying to fall asleep it was past 2 AM. My alarm was going to go off just under 4 hours later at 6 AM.
The following morning I headed out to get find registration and pick up my ID badge. I picked up the program and a free bag — one of those bags they always give out each year. I had pre-resistered for a pre-course. Officially, AIMW would kick off later in the afternoon with an opening session in the evening. Starting at 8 AM, I would be at a pre-course designed for new clerkship directors.
One nice thing about sitting down at the new clerkship directors course was that I got to sit down with people who were new to their roles. All — at least as far as I could tell — of them seemed to be there as the Clerkship Director, though. They weren’t there as an associate clerkship director like myself. It was comforting to hear people talk about how they were feeling overwhelmed as they waded through the responsibilities of their new positions. I started to feel like I could understand a little more about how much the clerkship director had to do. I’ll admit there was some relief that I was not attending this conference as a new clerkship director. I think that role would be quite overwhelming for me at this stage of my career.
The rest of the conference was quite a blur. It was fast-paced. There were plenary sessions and workshops galore. I felt like I learned a lot. I tried to scribble or type notes as fast as I could. Hopefully some of it sticks.
I don’t know where life will lead me. I dont’ know where I will be in 10 years as far as my career goes. But I do know that going to a conference like this has the ability to fire you up about what you’re doing. It’s refereshing and re-energizing to be surrounded with people so dedicated to passing on knowledge to their learners.
Maybe one day, in the future, I’ll find myself at another one of these conferences. But instead of being the new guy on the scene, I’ll be a seasoned veteran who is excited to share and teach and help out.