The weeks leading up to our Annual Conference always trigger certain rituals for me.
Deciding which sessions to attend feels like planning an intellectual feast mixed with an exercise in compromise, as I realize there is just no way to attend every session that I want to. Scheduling all my plans to connect over dinner and drinks with current and former colleagues is a logistical challenge I undertake with anticipation and some stress, especially when I’m the one tasked with making restaurant reservations. Thinking about how to pay for it all means digging out the rules around my CME faculty allowance, after first figuring out if I still even have a CME allowance, of course.
In the years that I am presenting, there are the last-minute emails with my co-presenters to arrange a time to run through our slides together on site. The prospect of seeing cherished colleagues and friends from SHM mixes with the fact that I know I will miss my wife and young son while I am away. Overall though, I am filled with a tremendous sense of excitement, a feeling that I enjoy in a sustained way for weeks before the meeting.
My excitement for SHM Converge is just as strong, but different in some great and important ways. The availability of on-demand content means I won’t have to choose one session over another this year – I can have my cake and eat it, too. Without the need to travel, expenses will be considerably less, and I won’t need to be away from my family.
But what I am most thrilled about when I think about SHM Converge is the content. A year of planning by our outstanding SHM staff, leadership, and Annual Conference Committee has produced a lineup of world-class speakers. Our virtual platform will offer a rich interactive and networking experience. Perennial favorite sessions, such as the Great Debate, Rapid Fire, and Update sessions will provide attendees the chance to update their core clinical knowledge across the breadth of hospital medicine.
Many aspects of health equity will be explored. Over 15 sessions and four special-interest forums covering topics such as racial and gender inequities, implicit bias, vulnerable populations, and ethics will help attendees not only understand the issues but also will show them how they can take action to make a difference.
Clinical and operational aspects of COVID-19 will also be covered at SHM Converge as speakers share the tremendous innovation, triumphs, and challenges that have taken place over the past year. Wellness and resilience are, of course, as relevant as ever, and sessions on balancing parenthood and work, learning from personal failures, and how to handle uncertainty and be resilient are among the topics that will be covered.
The essence of what we will do at SHM Converge in May is captured in our new meeting logo, an animation of nodes connecting with each other through lines that travel short and long, and intersect along the way. It’s a great representation of the togetherness, community, and mutual support that is at the core of who we are as SHM – now, more than ever. Thank you for joining us!
Dr. Steinberg is chief patient safety officer at Mount Sinai Downtown, and associate dean for quality/patient safety in GME, Mount Sinai Health System, New York. He is professor of medicine and medical education at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, and course director of SHM Converge.