From Isolation to Inclusion: Practitioners Get What They Need at Annual Conference
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In early March, Society President Cari Levy, MD, PhD, CMD, will head to Atlanta, GA, for the 2019 annual conference. She would happily make the trip even without the title, and it all goes back to the vivid memories of her first conference over 15 years ago: “I had been to other organizations’ conferences and felt like a number. I came to the Society’s program, and the difference was significant and immediate. I remember sitting on a bench with another member, and it was so easy to talk. I thought, ‘This is my home. These are my people.’”
While it certainly is possible to be in a crowd and feel alone, that it not the case at the Society’s annual conference. Post-acute and long-term care (PALTC) is a unique and special field, and its practitioners share a passion for it. Dr. Levy says, “We have a desire to be with ‘our own kind’—other practitioners who understand our love for PALTC and our patients, as well as the challenges we face in our efforts to provide consistently excellent care.”
Dr. Levy often hears that PALTC practitioners particularly want take-aways from the conference: tools, ideas, best practices, and protocols that they can bring home and implement immediately. “They want practical information and tools, and they get them in abundance at the Society annual conference,” she says.
The opportunity to learn from colleagues also is key, and the annual conference is certainly known for its networking opportunities. “It’s important to develop relationships across state lines and with people who have different areas of expertise,” Dr. Levy says. She further notes that many participants go home with new contacts they can reach out to with questions.
Although the conference is consistently popular and highly rated, the Annual Conference Planning Subcommittee never rests on its laurels. For instance, PALTC facilities are seeing more substance abuse issues and the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) is looking to the Society and its members for solutions. That’s why the conference’s Meet the Experts breakfast, set for March 9, features Michael Fingerhood, MD, addressing substance use disorders in this setting and encouraging conversations, answers, and best practices.
Dr. Levy is also looking forward to the International Nursing Home Research Symposium on Pragmatic Trials on March 7. “The Society has long taken the lead on supporting international relationships with PALTC practitioners and researchers, and this symposium is a key component of those efforts. This is a unique and valuable opportunity for our members to share ideas, challenges, and solutions with their colleagues from around the world,” she says. “We have so much to learn from each other.”
The annual conference is empowering and energizing in a time of change and challenges. As Dr. Levy says, “People will come away with hope and optimism, as well as the confidence that we will adapt and thrive. I believe we will come out on the other side of this better and stronger than we ever imagined.” She also thinks people will be inspired by the Shark Tank program, which will focus on cutting-edge technology and ideas. “There is such energy coming into this space, motivating people to be creative and innovative,” she says.
When she isn’t practicing medicine, handling her Society presidential duties, speaking, teaching, or writing, Dr. Levy is a pianist and composer. It’s a hobby that she finds relaxing and that taps into her creativity. She ultimately would like to develop a set list and play at nursing homes.