The member editors and authors who comprise the editorial team for ASH News Daily are all veterans of the ASH annual meeting. To help you make the most of your conference experience, they offer the following tips.
Editor Natasha Szuber, MD, (@NatashaSzuber): “Do: Wear comfortable shoes (my Vans slip-ons came in mad handy last year as I embarrassingly chased down Red, the ASH mascot whom I had been waiting 13 years to meet); dress in layers (because of air conditioning); pack snacks for the early sessions and while you're on the go to avoid the hopeless lineups (my ASH meeting must-have: grocery store canned iced coffee, a caffeinated ASH miracle!); definitely go out of your comfort zone and attend a session you otherwise wouldn't. You will be surprised by how much you can learn from these. Don’t: Noisily unwrap your granola bar in the middle of a session (don't do that); walk down the impossibly crowded hallways while staring at your phone (don't be that person); and, finally, don’t try to do it all, as you will inevitably be disappointed. Instead, try a mix of in-person and virtual sessions, leaving yourself time to catch up with colleagues and friends — arguably one of the greatest highlights of the annual meeting!”
Deputy Editor Juliana Perez Botero, MD (@JuliPerezBot): “Schedule breaks! Meeting fatigue is real. Taking time for meals and other activities such as sightseeing and connecting with friends and colleagues will make for a much more productive and fun meeting experience.”
Diego Adrianzen Herrera, MD, MSc (@diegoah66): “Pack comfortable shoes as there is a lot of walking during the meeting. I plan my day to include meetings with colleagues and other relaxing activities in between scientific sessions. I also recommend marking sessions of interest to review later again in the portal!”
Samer Al Hadidi, MD, MS, (@HadidiSamer): “Plan your schedule in advance, prioritizing key sessions you like to attend and networking opportunities you don’t want to miss.”
Joselle Cook, MBBS, (@JoselleCookMD): “Plan your days ahead of time using the ASH app, and register for the hybrid meeting (in person and virtual). There are simultaneous sessions, and this way, you’ll get to catch up on those that were missed due to conflicts. Also, with the extended-access review sessions, you will have the opportunity to re-visit highlights of the conference on your own time, even after the ASH meeting is over.”
Brittany Ragon, MD, (@BKRagonMD): “Don’t overthink it. I see the annual meeting as an opportunity for community and networking, more so than trying to digest all the extraordinary and novel science at once. In a meeting that is so big, it can be difficult to focus, so set small goals, select just a handful of sessions that you want to catch, and leave yourself the space to enjoy the community you are a part of, or to meander into a session you might not have otherwise decided to attend. Also, I think the approach to the annual meeting depends on the stage of your career and your interests. My advice for residents and fellows is to take advantage of all the trainee events. As faculty, I tend to focus on the time to foster relationships. It is not often you get to be with so many others interested in the same things, so pencil in time with collaborators and friends. I find the plenary sessions to always be inspiring, so I try not to miss them.”
Hilary Whitworth, MD, MSCE, (@HilaryWhitworth): “Review the program in advance and discuss it with your friends and colleagues. It is easy to miss something, so it helps to hear what others find interesting to broaden your plan.”
Nadine Abdallah, MD, (@nadineabdal), Abdul Rafae, MD, (@a_rafaemd), and Megan Sears-Smith, DO, recommend choosing which sessions you will attend before the meeting and keeping a list, scheduling networking meetings ahead of time, and attending the educational sessions. They also highly encourage all fellows and trainees to attend the ASH-a-Palooza event. Finally, because repetition is the key to learning, they too unanimously chime in on the importance of wearing comfortable shoes!