By Jessica Davis, MD, Gastroenterology Fellow, University of Virginia
AASLD: Trainee Member, Training and Workforce Committee
Shh…don’t tell the speakers, but the best part of AASLD happens outside of the lecture halls: networking! As members of a relatively small (and growing!) subspecialty, one of the delights of a career in hepatology is the opportunity for lifelong connections with your colleagues. AASLD brings many of these friends together once a year. Here are our tips on how to make the most of it.
Give yourself a break. It can be tempting to fill your day entirely with interesting lectures, but make sure to schedule downtime into your itinerary. This gives you the opportunity to grab coffee or a meal with friends old and new and provides your brain with much-needed recharge time.
Check in with your colleagues before you go. Reach out to your coworkers at your current and prior institutions. Recall the trainee you met at last year’s AASLD and send them a text. Reaching out ahead of time can help you to maximize the short-time you are at the conference and make sure you have time to see all of your contacts.
Make an effort to make new connections. If this isn’t your first meeting, you may have realized that you will see these colleagues at a minimum once a year at The Liver Meeting® and you never know who may end up at your future institution or who opens a door for you on the interview trail after you grabbed a coffee at last year’s meeting. In addition to providing you with new opportunities, conversations with these colleagues will nourish your research and clinical interests and are one of the best aspects of our career. Don’t miss this chance to reach out!
Visit the Early Career Investigators Lounge. If you are in training or within five years of completion of training (MD or PhD), we invite you to come by and spend some time at the Early Career Investigators Lounge. Network with colleagues and learn more about what resources AASLD has to offer. Enjoy small gatherings with leaders in the field during specialized education sessions. These 30-minute, informal conversations with leaders in the field will offer opportunities to ask questions and engage with people like Dr. Anna Lok, Dr. Scott Friedman, and many more.
Several AASLD Special Interest Groups will be hosting networking and mentorship receptions this year! Check the schedule just outside the lounge for speakers and topics and the reception schedules!