Journalists are pack animals. Where you find one, you tend to find many. This is as true in the world of medical conferences as it is in celebrity coverage.
Hundreds of journalists will register for the big annual meetings such as the American Society for Clinical Oncology, the American Heart Association, and the Radiological Society of North America. Journalists come to these meetings year after year because they’re dependable sources of news on the latest in clinical science.
I cover those big meetings too, but I cover a lot of unheralded meetings as well. I’m the only reporter at the majority of meetings I attend. Many of these meetings are interesting only to physicians within a narrow subspecialty. But many of them have much more general interest, and are productive sources for news of solid clinical advances.
Here’s a list of the meetings I’ve attended within the last five years that were especially productive and at which I was the only reporter, or one of a small handful of reporters. I’ve added a bit of commentary on some of them.
- American Academy of Psychiatry and the Law (At this meeting I was the only reporter in the room to hear Dr. Park Dietz, the famous forensic psychiatrist, discuss his involvement in the Andrea Yates case, after her first trial but before Dr. Dietz admitted that he had given false testimony on the stand, which earned her a second trial.)
- American College of Clinical Pharmacology
- American College of Forensic Psychiatry (Excellent for opinion pieces, not so much for news.)
- American Headache Society (All the top headache docs in the country, always at a very nice resort.)
- American Neuropsychiatric Association
- American Psychosomatic Society
- Association for the Advancement of Behavior Therapy
- International Gynecologic Cancer Society
- NIMH New Clinical Drug Evaluation Unit (Everyone who’s interested in new drug development for mental disorders should attend this conference every year.)
- Pediatric Academic Societies (An absolute gold mine, with nuggets for many specialties beyond pediatrics. Far better than the American Academy of Pediatrics meeting, which is mostly CME.)
- Sleep Disorders in Infancy and Childhood
- Society of Behavioral Medicine (From its title this sounds like a psychiatry or psychology conference, but it really should be seen as an excellent primary care meeting.)
- World Congress of Cardiothoracic Surgeons
- World Congress on the Insulin Resistance Syndrome