Published: September 15, 2023

Creating Balance in Your Annual Meeting Goals

Making time for wellness at #OTOMTG23.

Daniel C. Chelius, Jr., MD AAO-HNSF Annual Meeting Program Coordinator

I leave the Annual Meeting each fall overwhelmingly grateful for overdue reunions. I am mentally energized from new science and have new ideas and directions to bring to my patients. For the last few years as Coordinator, I could celebrate a rousing success with the Annual Meeting Program Committee and roll the enthusiasm into our next cycle of strategic planning. But wellness? Hardly.

Despite lots of opportunities to learn it and practice it each fall, I do not have a history of what you would even generously call "wellness" at the Annual Meeting.  The closest I came was probably last year in Philadelphia when I managed to roll over my work email inbox, generally chose healthy(ish) options with my meals, ran to and up the “Rocky steps” twice, and tried to sleep at least six hours per night. It was exhausting. 

During the AAO-HNSF 2022 Annual Meeting & OTO Experience, encouraged by his friend and colleague, Jeffrey C. Liu, MD, Dr. Chelius took a jog from the Marriott to the Philadelphia Museum of Art and ran up the “Rocky Steps,” made famous by the 1976 film.During the AAO-HNSF 2022 Annual Meeting & OTO Experience, encouraged by his friend and colleague, Jeffrey C. Liu, MD, Dr. Chelius took a jog from the Marriott to the Philadelphia Museum of Art and ran up the “Rocky Steps,” made famous by the 1976 film. About three weeks after the Philadelphia meeting closed, I got to sit down with my incredibly supportive chief, Anna H. Messner, MD, to figure out how to face and overcome real burnout, both the factors beyond my control and personal wellness, as well as those that I could impact. That’s a good story for another time, and it’s gone superbly thanks to my incredible family and supportive community of colleagues.

I would ideally love for the Annual Meeting to be a time of reunions, renewal, and refreshment for all of us, and optimizing those things will certainly look different for each attendee. But here are some of the ideas I’m focusing on to seek out a bit more wellness for myself in Nashville.

Get the Presentations Done Now, Danny!
For many presenters, this is not an issue. Yet, we still hear refrains of, “I better get to my room to get (tomorrow’s, Tuesday’s, this afternoon’s) talk tidied up. And by ‘tidied up,’ I mean started.” At times, I can convince myself that working on presentations on the plane and late at night at a meeting is an intentional choice to have more time with my family when I’m at home, rather than a bad habit held over from residency grand rounds. I’m working hard this year to have all presentations updated and complete, if not uploaded, prior to leaving for Nashville. I know it will give me more freedom to spend quality time with friends in Nashville and still get to sleep.

Get Active With Friends.
There are lots of opportunities to incorporate activity into our days in Nashville, but two of the best ways to do it with friends and colleagues are “Sunrise Yoga” and “OTOs on the Run.”  You can register for both activities through the Annual Meeting registration site, and I’m ecstatic to report that the early turnout and interest has been excellent. OTOs on the Run returns for the first time since 2019 in New Orleans, Louisiana. The three-mile guided tour of Nashville will have multiple pace groups for all experience levels and will be offered on Sunday, October 1, and Monday, October 2 at 6:30 am (CT). Sunrise Yoga is approachable for both beginners and experts and will be offered on Sunday, October 1, and Tuesday, October 3 at 6:30 am (CT). There are multiple bicycle rental venues available nearby to go on a riding tour of Nashville as well. Go walk the Vanderbilt campus or see historic Broadway. The weather is usually perfect this time of year in Nashville, and the city is beautiful.

Decrease Stress by Planning Ahead.
It is impossible to do everything at the Annual Meeting. There are so many opportunities, both on and off the formal program, to learn, volunteer, connect, debate, socialize…the list goes on. I’m going to take advantage of the Annual Meeting app and online schedule to select my priority events now so that there are fewer surprises in Nashville. Check the committee schedule now (search for “Committee” in the app) to know when you may have early mornings that might require an earlier bedtime. I’m going to plan some rest and activity times into my schedule as well. I always used to worry about the opportunity cost of the learning and CME content I was missing for other activities during the Annual Meeting until a mentor wisely advised me to…  

Use the Recordings!
Almost all of the Annual Meeting education content will be available to registrants free of charge and for CME credit for three years after the meeting on the Academy’s education platform, OTO Logic. Although there’s no replacement for being able to interact with the experts live in Nashville, the meeting recordings are another great way to catch up on content missed in person. With over 20 rooms running congruently, it would be impossible to make it to everything anyway so there’s no reason to stress about it. I’ve been listening to the Philadelphia lectures on OTO Logic during workouts this year, and I am looking forward to following up with some questions for the presenters in Nashville!

Learn About Wellness From the Experts.
There will be a ton of excellent education content on different aspects of wellness during the Annual Meeting this year beginning with Jennifer R. Grandis, MD, as Guest Lecturer for the John Conley, MD Lecture on Medical Ethics during the Opening Ceremony, 8:00 am on Sunday, October 1, at the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum. Wellness themes will continue during the Section General Assemblies, including Sunday afternoon’s Section for Residents and Fellows-in-Training General Assembly and Young Physicians Section General Assembly, and Monday morning’s Women in Otolaryngology General Assembly. This year, we will also host the inaugural Professional and Personal Development Office Hours during which a panel of experts will discuss topics raised by the audience. Although not an exhaustive list, here are some other wellness highlights from the education program:

Professional and Personal Development Office Hours
Alexander G. Chiu, MD, Inna A. Husain, MD, Eileen M. Raynor, MD, Jo A. Shapiro, MD, and Mark K. Wax, MD
12:00 pm (CT),  Sunday, October 1
Music City Center, Room 102AB

Professional and Personal Development Great Debate: Work after Work, Is that Really OK?
Rahul K. Shah, MD, MBA, Dale A. Tylor, MD, MPH, and Sarah K. Wise, MD, MSCR
2:15 pm (CT), Sunday, October 1
Music City Center, Ballroom C1

Motherhood in Otolaryngology: Managing Family Planning, Fertility, and Lactation
Stephanie E. Ambrose, MD, Laura M. Dominguez, MD, Caitlin P. McMullen, MD, and Kathleen M. Tibbetts, MD
3:45 pm (CT),  Sunday, October 1
Music City Center, Room 204

Role of Lifestyle Medicine and Applications in Otolaryngology
Jessica G. Lee, MD, Richard M. Rosenfeld, MD, MPH, MBA, and Julie L. Wei, MD
3:45 pm (CT), Sunday, October 1
Music City Center, Ballroom C1

Work-Life Integration: Persistent Issues and Solutions
Erin K. O’Brien, Cherie-Ann O. Nathan, MD, John S. Rhee, MPH, Jennifer A. Villwock, MD, and Julie L. Wei, MD
1:45 pm (CT), Monday, October 2
Music City Center, Room 204

The Pain of Surgery: Improving Surgical Ergonomics in ENT
Ksenia A. Aaron, MD, Raewyn Campbell, MD, Maura Cosetti, MD, and Deepa J. Galaiya, MD
8:00 am (CT), Tuesday, October 3
Music City Center, Room 204

Maximizing Efficiency: Time-Saving Strategies for Daily Practice
Janet Lee, MD, and Eileen M. Raynor, MD
3:30 pm (CT), Tuesday, October 3
Music City Center, Room 204

Navigating Pregnancy and Parenthood during Otolaryngology Training and Beyond
Noor-E-Seher Ali, MD, Ebone Bady, MD, Dana L. Crosby, MD, MPH, and Tiffany A. Glazer, MD
8:00 am (CT), Wednesday, October 4
Music City Center, Room 106 BC

Strategies for Teaching and Enhancing Wellness
Todd E. Falcone, MD, Katherine Kavanagh, MD, and Noriko Yoshikawa, MD
9:00 am (CT), Wednesday, October 4
Music City Center, Ballroom A1

Whose Life Are You Living? Sustaining a Rewarding Career
Ellis M. Arjmand, MD, PhD, John S. Schneider, MD, MA, and Jo A. Shapiro, MD
9:15 am (CT), Wednesday, October 4
Music City Center Room 106BC

I wish everyone a wonderful time at the Annual Meeting and hope we can all find refreshment and renewal, both during the days of the meeting and well beyond. See you in Nashville!