Pam Combs' Musings on the ISHLT Annual Meeting
Pam Combs, PhD, RN
Jewish Medical Center
Louisville, KY, USA
Since the inception of the ISHLT annual conference in 1981, members gather to encourage and stimulate basic and clinic research and promote new therapeutic strategies relevant to end-stage heart and lung disease. Since 2005, members within the MCS field are offered a specific session/forum that addresses matters involving this complex patient population. In the year 2017, I look forward to attending the annual conference which will embody collegiality of those interested in promoting new strategies within the field of heart and lung transplantation, and end-stage heart and lung disease. From my vantage point, I can feel the excitement increasing every day from various members.
What makes a conference great? My three answers are the following: 1) The quality of people around me, 2) the quality of the speakers, and 3) the focus of the content.
The quality of the people around me will range from long-time experts to attendees that are just entering the field, a win-win for me. I will have the knowledge available to me from experts, but observe the excitement (that is quite contagious) from new members. Many colleagues are either attending or presenting for the first time and very excited of this experience; their enthusiasm is a delight.
The blend of speakers will not disappoint. The speakers that will be presenting will discuss research that lends to cutting edge information that will leave the audience motivated and well-informed. The first plenary will offer a powerhouse couple from the Baltimore area, a theoretical mathematician from the US Naval Academy will address the role of novel solutions to the donor allocations system in her talk "Share and share alike: Optimizing organ allocation in an area of increasing need." Dorry Segev, a transplant surgeon from Johns Hopkins, will assist the audience in addressing the promise and pitfalls of transplant center by using social media to interact with patients and the broader community in his presentation "tweets, texts and posts: Does social media improve or complicate communication in medicine?" This is only a small sample of the incredible offering of speakers/presenters.
The majority of the meeting is devoted to submitted content, scientific work. Many members that will be attending the conference for the first time are offered an abundance of topics, too many to state. Since my nursing specialty originates with the MCS field, many areas interest me regarding the upcoming conference. I am particularly interested in the ISHLT/ICCAC symposium "Besides the Surgery - How to make VAD patients successful," as this is dominant within MCS teams and their everyday objective of enhancing positive outcomes. Additionally, the Nursing Health Sciences and Allied Health area will discuss psychosocial risk factors targeted for intervention in the presentations: "When should we call it quits: The efficacy of intervention to ameliorate psychosocial risk factors" and "Live long and prosper: Thriving after pediatric transplantation," which will focus on the psychosocial, behavioral challenges, as well as communication and developmental issues in pediatric transplant patients. These are just a few of the offerings I have marked to attend.
Thirty-six years ago, 15 members of our Society founded a conference that encompassed energetic and enthusiastic scientists yearned for an annual meeting of the minds. Today, we have over 3400 members from over 454 countries, representing over 15 different professional disciplines involved in the care of those with end-stage heart and lung disease. I would like to thank the Scientific Program Committee under the leadership of Dr. Jeffrey Teuteberg for their hard work and dedications that I am sure will be an outstanding experience. ■
Disclosure Statement: The author has no conflicts of interest to disclose.