From the coliseum to the convention centre: a reflection on the current state of medical education conferences and conference-goers.
The advancement of knowledge and development of policy in the field of medical education require critical academic discourse among the most intelligent medical educators; and critical academic discourse requires coffee. In this essay, we reflect on the state of professional development conferences in the field of medical education and the rituals that surround their success. Having begun in ancient Greece, symposia were ripe with debauchery. Today, sedated by the light brown walls of hotel conference centres, symposia are more serious endeavours, engaging men and women in the sometimes turbulent waters of epistemological debate. The abstract submission process (summed up by: 'Yay! It was accepted for presentation' [Deep breath] 'Oh no…it was accepted for presentation'), the 'juggling act' of parent attendees, the acting prowess of abstract presenters and the unapologetic approach to buffet eating are all by-products of the collision of true intellects among medical education scholars. We hold these rituals in high regard and argue that they are required to advance the field of medical education. These rituals bind the walls supporting true progressive thought and innovative research, all fuelled by the glass of wine purchased with that one coveted drink ticket.
Blanchard, RD; Engle, DL; Howley, LD; Whicker, SA; Nagler, A
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