This past weekend, I attended my first College of American Pathologists (CAP) Residents Forum (RF) and Annual Meeting in Orlando, FL.
I had previously served as a delegate to the Student Osteopathic Medical Association (SOMA) House of Delegates (HOD) during medical school when I was my school’s chapter president. I was also the alternate delegate for the state of NJ at the American Osteopathic Association (AOA) House of Delegates when I was on the Council of Osteopathic Student Government Presidents (COSGP). And lastly, for the three years I served on the DO Advisory Board for the American Medical Students Association (AMSA), I wrote DO relevant resolutions for AMSA’s HOD.
In all three of my previous experiences with an organization’s HOD, I actively participated in some shape or form in voicing the opinion of those I represented – whether through writing resolutions or debating and voting on resolutions. In this manner, I, and other delegates like me helped to shape the final form of our organization’s constitution and by-laws. And this is the mindset with which I attended the Residents Forum and even ran for the position of alternate delegate to the CAP HOD on the Residents Forum Executive Council.
However, I must have misunderstood the purpose of the RF and I think it worked out that I did not win the position I ran for. What I had expected and wanted was to participate in a resident caucus to identify the consensus opinion on resident-relevant HOD resolutions similar to my previous experiences as an HOD delegate – to see my fellow residents empowered and engaged in the parliamentary process. Don’t get me wrong…I did enjoy meeting other residents at the RF – that was one of the highlights of my experience and I made some new friends who are also passionate about transforming the future of our profession.
The talks were also informative for many of the first-timers although most of the topics were not new to me and about content that I had heard before during my work with AMSA and my MPH studies. But that doesn’t take away from the fact that it was resident-relevant information that each delegate could take back to their programs for their co-residents. So, my experience was mixed in terms of what I had expected and what I saw as benefits for delegates who attended.
Then, I presented a poster during the CAP conference, listened to the keynote by Dr. Eric Topol (although I did not agree with everything he said, it was thought provoking and informative), attended didactics, and participated in a mock fellowship interview with one of the CAP Board of Governors. But the encounters that I enjoyed most were those when I discussed the future of our healthcare system with physicians that I met. I did end the conference on a good note as I found out that I was chosen as the resident/junior member on CAP’s Council on Education for the next 2 years.