It’s that time of the year again. From near and far, thousands of radiation oncologists will gather to share scientific discoveries, reminisce about good times past, and wait in entirely too long of a line to get morning coffee. This year, the annual American Society for Radiation Oncology (ASTRO) meeting will take place in Chicago from September 15–18, with the theme of “Innovate, Collaborate, Transform.” With over 11,000 anticipated attendees, it’s the largest gathering for radiation oncologists in the world. With multiple overlapping sessions and a myriad of choices every day at the conference, it can be overwhelming to say the least. Here are some tips for making the most of the meeting:
1. Get Social
You might not be able to go to all the sessions, but you can certainly stay abreast of important findings and expert opinions via Twitter and other social media channels through #ASTRO19. ASTRO has also announced its social champions for #ASTRO19: https://pbs.twimg.com/media/EBzFODMW4AEgE5Y.jpg. Be sure to follow @ASTRO_org on Twitter and don’t miss this year’s #ASTRO19 Tweet Up on Sept. 15: https://pbs.twimg.com/media/EC5ka0MWkAEKcW9.jpg
2. Schedule Your Day
With so many different options on any given day and time, it’s important to build your schedule in advance of the meeting. Make sure to leave time for coffee or meals with mentors and friends, wander through the exhibit hall and poster areas, and attend sessions. ASTRO has a handy conference planner webpage and the full schedule is available at: https://www.eventscribe.com/2019/ASTRO/agenda.asp?pfp=FullSchedule. Some new highlights this year include sunrise yoga sessions, an interactive format for the presidential symposia — including moderated debates on hot topics — and a keynote address on global health in oncology.
3. Have Fun!
One of the best things about ASTRO is the chance to connect with so many wonderful people in the field of radiation oncology. Networking opportunities abound. Once you’ve picked out the most interesting sessions to attend, you’ll know when there are gaps in your schedule to squeeze in chatting with colleagues and friends. You may even have time to check out the Bourbon & Barbeque Festival or the World Music Festival while in Chicago! Plan ahead, take a deep breath, and enjoy your time at #ASTRO19!
Anna Laucis, MD, MPhil, University of Michigan