Published: July 1, 2024

Pearls for Your Prep: Making Your Experience at #OTOMTG24 Truly Extraordinary

From schedule preparations and general wellness tips to engaging and connecting with your peers, your colleagues offer these pearls to start planning for #OTOMTG24 today!

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Am24 Logo Horizontal Full Color PlaceholderFrom schedule preparations and general wellness tips to engaging and connecting with your peers, start planning for #OTOMTG24 today!

Plan Ahead!

Christina Dorismond, MD, MPHChristina Dorismond, MD, MPHChristina Dorismond, MD, MPH, Annual Meeting Program Committee member: There is so much that happens at the meeting, and I think the best way to tackle that is by planning ahead. I'll take 10 - 15 minutes the night before, and I'll go through the program for the following day. I'll highlight and “favorite” the sessions and events that I'm somewhat interested in or thinking I might want to go to, even if there's going to be time conflicts. Doing this, narrows down the list and that that really helps me tackle all the events that I want to attend.

The big thing to just remember is that you can't go wrong no matter what you attend because so much has gone into creating the program. Anything that you choose is going to be educational or a fantastic networking opportunity. No matter what, it's just going to be so beneficial to you.

David E. Melon, MDDavid E. Melon, MDDavid E. Melon, MD, Chair, Otolaryngology Private Practice Section: You have to be prepared. You're not going to get as much out of the meeting if you don't have a plan. The program website is fantastic, and there are so many resources that you can use to plan accordingly by any number of different filters. You have to come in with a plan of attack, and I think that may even require some of us to pre-read and educate ourselves on some areas that aren’t quite as fresh in our minds so we can Amit Goyal, MS, DNBAmit Goyal, MS, DNBget back up to speed on some concepts to take full advantage of participating in the meeting.

Amit Goyal, MS, DNB, Annual Meeting Program Committee member: If you are attending for the first time as an international attendee, I think the most important advice is to preplan the sessions you want to attend and don't try to do it all. Plan your schedule according to your own need and your own interest—trying to do it all won’t work.

Participate, Participate, Participate

Daniel C. Chelius, Jr., MDDaniel C. Chelius, Jr., MDDaniel C. Chelius, Jr., MD, Annual Meeting Program Committee Coordinator: Be an active participant in this meeting. One of my most memorable Academy experiences was going up to a presenter after a talk on chronic cough and chatting with them about a particularly difficult patient in my practice. That presenter helped me change this patient's life and help them get over it in a very concrete way. I will always be grateful for that experience at the Annual Meeting. I had to get out of my chair and go up and engage. Presenters are open to that, expecting it, and honored when they get a chance to share their expertise and experiences. So engage!

Yelizaveta (Lisa) Shnayder, MDYelizaveta (Lisa) Shnayder, MDYelizaveta (Lisa) Shnayder, MD, Chair, Women in Otolaryngology Section: A new concept was introduced to the schedule a few years ago called, “Office Hours.” This year, they will be referred to as “Stump the Experts,” and they are a tremendous opportunity for a smaller room discussion to access to our expert speakers and faculty and ask case-based and burning questions. This is such a unique element of the Annual Meeting program, so take advantage and participate in the discussions happening around the hall.

Dr. Melon: You can't be reluctant to participate. You have to engage. You can choose to be a passive participant, but you won't get as much out of it if you're not active in the session. Ask questions. Don’t be fearful of participating in discussion and being open with everybody there. These are ultimately your peers.

Dr. Goyal: The OTO EXPO is an important place to engage. It offers the latest advancements in the specialty that may not be available in your home country and opens the world of patient care. It should be on your schedule to frequent the events, education, exhibitors, Scientific Posters, lunch, and more in the OTO EXPO Saturday through Monday. 

James Wang, MD, PhDJames Wang, MD, PhDJames Wang, MD, PhD, Chair-Elect, Young Physicians Sections: While it just is not possible to attend every session, you want to get the most out of the ones you do attend, and to do to that you need to participate and not be intimidated to go up to the microphone and ask questions. It is a small world, and what you realize at the end of the day is that we are all colleagues. By participating and engaging in the discussions, you are supporting your peers, your practice, and ultimately your patients.

Get Out of Your Comfort Zone

Dr. Shnayder: Since I've been a resident, I always try to attend a session that is completely out of my specialty area and completely out of my comfort zone. I am a head and neck surgeon, so I make a point to attend at least one session on either comprehensive otolaryngology or pediatric otolaryngology just to understand what's new and what's going on in the field in those specialty areas.

The Section General Assemblies Are Your Home

Dr. Chelius: The sections are where the Academy comes down to size. Everyone should try to make it to the sections’ General Assemblies. We all belong to a section, one way or another, whether it's the Otolaryngology Private Practice Section (OPPS), Section for Residents and Fellows-in-Training (SRF), Women in Otolaryngology (WIO) Section, or the Young Physicians Section (YPS) or the Board of Governors (BOG) or the International Advisory Board (IAB). If you are an Academy member and attending the meeting, there's a General Assembly for you. That's where you can bring the Academy down to a smaller size and find out how your volunteer efforts can best get employed and best get used at the Academy. So please come to the sections, introduce yourself to the leaders there, and get engaged. Below are the schedules in date/time order:

WIO General Assembly
10:30 am – Noon (ET), September 28, with networking lunch to follow in special-designated area of OTO EXPO

BOG General Assembly
1:00 – 2:30 pm (ET), Saturday 28

SRF and YPS General Assemblies
3:30 – 5:00 pm (ET), September 28, with combined networking event to follow 5:00 – 6:30 pm (ET)

OPPS General Assembly
1:00 – 2:30 pm (ET), September 29

IAB General Assembly
2:30 – 4:00 pm (ET), September 30, with International Reception 6:00 – 8:00 pm (ET)

The Value of Connections

Dr. Wang: I definitely recommend reaching out to your professors who you initially trained with and will be at the Annual Meeting. That's important because that ability and opportunity to network with people you already know will allow you to meet other people and grow your networks through their connections.

Hannah Kuhar Morrin, MDHannah Kuhar Morrin, MDHannah Kuhar Morrin, MD, Chair, Section for Residents and Fellows-in-Training: As you plan ahead, look at specific events, thinking about your research and fellowship interests, and who is speaking when and where and on what topics. Attending sessions of faculty covering areas of your interest gives you the chance to not only listen to their presentations but also make connections by participating in the discussions of their presentation. Those are great opportunities to optimize and make the most of your time.

Dr. Goyal: Bring your business cards to give to your new long-lasting connections with peers and colleagues around the world. Monday is International Day with a lot of different opportunities, events, and education offerings. For international attendees, this is an important opportunity to engage, participate, and connect with colleagues from around the world.

Student-Specific Tips

Michele Carr, DDS, MD, PhDMichele Carr, DDS, MD, PhDMichele Carr, DDS, MD, PhD, Annual Meeting Program Committee member:
Cutting Costs: Make sure that you apply for travel grants and write your essay carefully. If you're presenting, talk to your department and ask if they will contribute to your trip. Ask your medical school. If there is an alumni association – ask them. Don’t be intimidated to ask for travel cost support.

Finding a Buddy: If you know someone who is attending the Annual Meeting, connect with them. If you have a home program, find out who is going and if there are any social events being held by your program. If you are coming from a place without a department, try and find someone who's going that is in your network. When you sign up for the Simulation Course for medical students, “Emergency Airway Management for Medical Students: Oto Chautauqua LIVE!,” join the GroupMe. (Sign up for this course during the registration process – there is no additional cost to attend) If you are taking part of an away rotation after the Annual Meeting, contact that program director and see if you can meet up with them or if they also have any social events that they would like you to attend.


Dr. Melon: You have got to have your sunscreen because Miami is known for its sun.

Dr. Carr: Wear comfortable shoes.

Dr. Goyal: Take some extra days for yourself and roam around Miami. That might be the most important advice.

Dr. Wang: Bring your SPF 50!

Dr. Chelius: Miami is going to a great city and a great place to just experience outside the halls of the meeting as well.

The Take-Aways

Dr. Melon: We should be mindful that while being at the meeting is extremely beneficial, it is always good to focus on what you will be taking home with you and implement. What are you going to be doing different that is going to enhance patient care? How are you going to incorporate key learnings or strategies, or best practices into your day to day? So be prepared, engage, and then ultimately act.

Dr. Chelius: There is too much for any of us to get to everything, and some of the best advice I've ever gotten about the Annual Meeting is to take advantage of the recordings. You will have 350 plus hours of education content available to you on OTO Logic as part of your meeting registration. It's free. You've already paid for it, so don't worry about missing some of the education content when you are in Miami—You can still go watch it later and get access to those experts.

The AAO-HNSF 2024 Annual Meeting & OTO EXPO is the premiere opportunity for professional growth, learning, and networking in the specialty. By planning ahead, engaging actively, and taking advantage of available resources to enhance your practice, as well as finding time to enjoy Miami, you can ensure your own extraordinary experience. For more information about all the Annual Meeting events and programming, visit To take advantage of the best rates available, register by July 31!


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