AAFP’s National Conference is a must-attend for third years interested in Family Medicine. My experience at conference last summer was amazing and I want to encourage any third years considering the trip to bite the bullet, spend the money and go to Kansas City. The Expo Hall is packed full of residency programs, the workshops are great for preparing for fourth year and internship and you can apply for a scholarship to decrease the total costs. It’s a great experience and a wonderful opportunity.
The Expo Hall
Nowhere else will you have the opportunity to meet so many program directors and residents in one space. By your third conversation your desires for your residency will evolve and sharpen, making it easy for you to narrow your search amongst the hundreds of booths. Yet the non-geographical arrangement of the residencies makes it easy to end up talking to programs in states you hadn’t considered, creating opportunities to discover programs you otherwise would have never heard of. While I applied to programs that were not at conference, literally every interview I had came out of conversations at the Expo.
Workshops and Clinics at Conference
As a medical student I would suggest you skip the procedural skills courses (each has an additional cost) as your time will be better spent at less formal workshops and getting onto the Expo floor as much as possible. That said, the open workshops were packed with knowledge, with wide ranging topics from traumatic knee injuries, substance abuse, concussions, maternal care and childbirth to wilderness med, women in rural medicine, direct primary care and full spectrum FM procedures. For students there were great talks about preparing your personal statement and CV and interviewing for residency, offered each day of the conference – every time the room was packed to standing.
First Time Attendee Scholarship
Last year both myself and Shannon were awarded a Family Medicine Leads scholarship for first-time attendees. The award helps cut some of the costs of the trip, requires a brief essay and is due this year by May 1st, 2016. There are a few variations of the award, including a Minority Scholarship and competitive Emerging Leader Institute, that certain students can pursue. Good luck, and apply now!