SAF: The first thing that jumps to mind is that we are very proud of our Annual Meeting Program Committee. We had a near record number of submissions for workshops, clinical vignettes, and scientific abstracts. Our clinical vignette and scientific abstract co-chairs thoughtfully selected from amongst these record number of submissions. This was one of many examples of how our amazing Program Committee members worked with SGIM staff to craft a meeting that had broad appeal to our SGIM community.1 Our meeting theme and content seemed to resonate with the SGIM community, and we are thrilled that 2,585 people attended the meeting, making it the second largest ever!
As we reflect on the meeting content, we are proud that the meeting included content for future and current generalists at all stages with varied career foci.2 Our Saturday keynote speakers were the innovative mid-career duo, Dr. Reza Manesh and Dr. Rabih Geha, who highlighted for us why we do what we do and the vulnerability that makes us human. They reminded us to care for ourselves and those we love because tomorrow is not promised. Most of all they reminded us that we should seek and deserve to have joy. And that finding joy will make us better physicians. Our student/Resident/Fellow chairs curated content for trainees and organized a networking mixer for them on the first day of the meeting. In addition to our traditional mentoring panels, we added a new mid-career mentoring panel, which we both found personally helpful and hope to see again in the future. In addition, our special mentoring panel on Careers in Medicine and Government drew many attendees from all stages of careers who wanted to learn more about various paths to careers in government. We feel these aspects of the meeting embodied SGIM’s mission to cultivate innovative academic generalists, “leading the way to better health for everyone.”
We are also very proud of two meeting innovations that we successfully implemented. The first is the SGIM Community Forum discussion. This discussion showcased that SGIM is a community where all voices are welcome and where we are willing to have challenging conversations. SGIM members brought forth passion and advocacy about issues that they see harming or threatening their communities. Our leaders and senior members candidly shared how they wrestle with issues that can be addressed within our own organization and in partnership with other organizations. The second is the #HousingisHealthcare advocacy initiative.3 Under the leadership of our local host advocacy co-chairs, we proactively worked with the SGIM Health Policy Committee, our communications team, and a local advocacy organization to choose, plan, and implement an advocacy focus for the meeting. In doing so, we laid the groundwork upon which future meetings can build focused advocacy.
EB: What are the most memorable aspects of the meeting for you?
MS: The enthusiasm of attendees was palpable, and it reminded us of the main reason we faithfully attend the SGIM meeting annually. We attend to gather with our SGIM family: to catch up with old friends and colleagues, to spend time with current friends and colleagues, and form relationships with future friends and colleagues. We celebrate their milestones and achievements, such as the 25th anniversary with SGIM of our Deputy CEO, Kay Ovington, and the many awardees listed in this issue of the Forum. This feeling of community was clearly shared by all attendees, many of whom requested a way to easily contribute to SGIM during the meeting. Our SGIM staff responded immediately and created a QR code for contributions during the meeting. Our SGIM president, Dr. LeRoi Hicks, shared this QR code during our final plenary sessions. By the end of the meeting, more than $4,000.00 was contributed by SGIM members! On every level, our SGIM members showed that they value the SGIM community and meeting experience. As co-chairs, it feels very special to have helped shepherd the experience.
EB: How do you feel that the meeting aligned with its theme of “Meeting the promise of tomorrow?”
SAF/MS: Our plenary speakers delivered thoughtful keynotes that highlighted how we as generalists need to and can meet the promise of tomorrow. In his presidential address, Dr. Leroi Hicks shared his lessons on leadership and challenged us to choose when to step up to be leaders as well as when to step back. Dr. Howard Frumkin described the climate challenges we face and how they impact the communities we serve, but he ended on a message of hope that provided a vision for a way forward. Dr. Nakela Cook built on this momentum in her Malcolm L. Petersen lecture. She engaged us in a conversation about patient engaged research and gave us a broad array of ideas about how we as clinicians and researchers can engage with our patients about topics that matter to them.
Our plenary keynotes were among numerous sessions that delivered inspiration for the future. Our trainees stood out at the meeting. Their well-polished and innovative presentations and workshops reminded us that our future is bright. Despite the barriers to achieving our vision of a just health system in which all people can achieve optimal health, we learned that our response should be “Yes, and…” Our 2023 Annual Meeting was a reminder that as a group of educators, researchers, and clinicians in academic general internal medicine, we have the means and motivation to highlight systemic injustice. We have the talent and tools to find and demonstrate solutions to health inequity. SGIM is the community to support and ensure that we thrive as we meet the promise of tomorrow!
- Fluker SA, Saunders M. Generalist internists meeting the promise of tomorrow at the #SGIM23 Annual Meeting. SGIM Forum. 2023;46 (2):5,14.
- Hicks LS. SGIM 2023: Providing much needed platforms to disseminate scholarly activity in GIM. SGIM Forum. 2023;46(3):1,13.
- Stella SA, Lessing JN, Saunders M, et al. Meeting the promise of tomorrow at the intersection of housing and health. SGIM Forum. 2023;46(3):6,15.
Annual Meeting, Career Development, SGIM
The Society of General Internal Medicine presented numerous awards and grants at…