SECTION SPOTLIGHT: Section for Residents and Fellows In Training | Reflections on a First-Timer’s AAO-HNSF Annual Meeting Experience
My Annual Meeting experience was outstanding—informative, productive, and frankly, fun.
Mark A. Fadel, MD, JD
SRF BOG Alternate Governor – Legislative Affairs Committee
My initial anxiety at my first Annual Meeting during a pandemic quickly faded after spotting a familiar face from home, one of the few faculty and residents who were able to join. After a year and a half of virtual conferencing due to the COVID-19 pandemic, I finally had the chance to come out from behind the computer screen and present my research at the podium. The intangible encounters with other trainees and students as well as happenstance meetings with other attendings and mentors were pleasant reminders of pre-COVID-19 times. The excitement that infused the Opening Ceremony and Dr. Neha Sangwan’s entertaining lessons on self-awareness of one’s own leadership techniques was palpable—we had returned to our roots of connecting and sharing cutting-edge scholarship in person. Some general assemblies even had standing room only. We stood together (masked) in a shared, joyous comfort of being there together.
I proceeded to attend a variety of enlightening debates, podium presentations, exhibits and simulations throughout my time at the meeting. I reconnected with friends I met in medical school and enjoyed the LA scenery as well. My Annual Meeting experience was outstanding—informative, productive, and frankly, fun. Despite the challenging circumstances with mandated COVID-19 vaccinations and safety precautions, we’ve collectively discovered a great, innovative step forward toward an environment that maximizes the use of our ears, noses, and throats.