Networking options link Sessions attendees

Networking_ClinicalGenomicsBootCamp_ToddAndersonScientific Sessions 2015 provided attendees numerous avenues for expanding their professional networks. No matter the specialty or career stage, the collegial atmosphere helped attendees forge new relationships, cultivate connections with colleagues, extend their knowledge, strengthen their professional mission and enhance patient outcomes.

The week of big networking opportunities provided face-to-face interactions in a variety of ways, giving attendees the means to:

Early Career Professionals shared their Scientific Sessions experiences in several Early Career Voice blogs. One looked at the nontraditional presentation style of the first-of-its-kind, four-hour Genomics Boot Camp, where participants learned how to leverage and incorporate cutting-edge genomic technologies into their research programs. Participants engaged with others in small, interactive, case-based discussion settings to inspire active learning and collaboration.

Forgoing a didactic format, the boot camp used Council on Functional Genomics and Translational Biology committee members as peer leaders. Along with these early career members, invited experts in genetic counseling served as facilitators, who circulated the room to guide small groups in their discussions.

Each discussion featured cases highlighting a respective subject. In advance, attendees were required to review 16 online modules based on the AHA Scientific Statement “Basic Concepts and Potential Applications of Genetics and Genomics for Cardiovascular and Stroke Clinicians.”

Noting the resurgence of the flipped classroom and active learning, Kiran Musunuru, MD, PhD, MPH, FAHA, of Harvard University, wrote about the impact of the nontraditional presentation style. In A New Type of Scientific Session, he noted that students came to class prepared to tackle higher-order, interactive, team-based exercises, rather than having to passively listen to an instructor give a lecture.

“Instead, the instructor circulates around the classroom and serves to facilitate discussions among the students as they work through the exercises together. The instructor is no longer a ‘sage on the stage’ but, rather, a ‘guide on the side,’” wrote Dr. Musunuru, who participated in two boot camps. “There is now fairly compelling data showing that active learning greatly improves student engagement, acquisition of knowledge and performance.

“There was a buzz in the air with spirited conversations going on at all of the tables, fingers pointed at computer screens as ideas were traded. There were no passive learners in sight, and instructors were having extended conversations with attendees. Instead of attendees drifting in and out of the room as the hours passed, they were engaged from the very beginning until the very end of each boot camp.

Indeed, Dr. Musunuru remarked on the results of a survey of boot camp attendees. Eighty percent reported they had learned more from the boot camp format compared to a standard lecture-based format. Virtually all said they’d like to attend boot camps in the future.

Six other Early Career Professionals shared their thoughts about Scientific Sessions in these insightful blogs: