July 11, 2022

More Than “Just” a Conference

Katherine Chung, MD

As trainees, you may have apprehensions about attending local or national radiology conferences. Perhaps they seem intimidating and the talks appear irrelevant to you. However, to the contrary, these meetings can be invaluable to residents at all levels of training.

For one, you can network with leaders in your planned subspecialty and seek advice regarding fellowships and future careers. If you are passionate about advocacy, education, research or policymaking, it’s easy to find a mentor whose goals align with yours. You can also network with your peers to exchange ideas and resources from programs across the country.

Whether you’re an R2 starting to apply for fellowship or an R3 studying for boards, it’s reassuring to know that you are not alone in the process. Conferences like the ACR® Annual Meeting offer resident and fellow subsection meetings designed to help trainees network with one another.

Another benefit to radiology conferences is that you learn from the best radiologists in the country. Most conference curricula include educational sessions geared toward trainees. For example, ARRS featured a broad selection of resident-focused talks, as well as more targeted board-review lectures. You will also find sessions designed to help residents transition into the workforce including workshops on finances, job negotiations and interview skills.

Lastly, I encourage you to embrace the freebies. While not the main benefit of attending conferences, they are certainly the cherry on top. For instance, at the RSNA technical exhibits, recruiters and other industry sponsors are eager to meet residents and have a huge presence at the convention hall. Recruiting companies, in particular, host dinners and cocktail hours designed to help you network. Don’t miss out on these opportunities!

While it may seem intimidating, regional or state conferences offer a similar experience but on a smaller, more intimate level. These are ideal for residents who may not have the budget or time commitment to attend national meetings. You might consider one of these smaller meetings as a starting point. I hope that I have convinced you to attend the next conference. Keep an open mind and get ready to make new friends!