EHA24 is YOUR congress – here’s how you can make the most of it
Congress season is an exciting time for any field. It’s a time when experts come together to share the latest developments, and also an opportunity to see friends and colleagues who you haven’t seen in a while. However, it can also be a very busy time, and it’s easy to feel a bit lost or intimidated by all the activities. So here is a handy list of tips you can use to make sure you make the most of your next congress – which will hopefully be EHA24 in Amsterdam 13-16 June! So, let’s begin…
1) Take it all in
Congresses are first and foremost designed to impart learning. This includes cutting edge developments from world class research centres, as well as educational sessions on known topics from world renowned experts with decades of experience. It’s your chance to sit back and take in all this knowledge without having to spend hours reading through books and journals – what a treat! Perhaps more importantly, it allows you direct access to the source, as you are able to ask questions and debate with brilliant minds from around the world, particularly at ‘meet the expert’ sessions. At EHA24, the topics on the programme range anywhere from stem cell biology to thrombosis to myeloid neoplasms, all from authorities in each field from all over the globe. What an opportunity!
2) Share your work
As you start out on your career path, getting your work presented or published is a sure way to further your professional development, and congresses are the ideal platform to achieve this. Whether it’s a poster, oral presentation, or abstract, you can make sure you get your hard work the recognition it deserves. This year at EHA24, over 2,300 abstracts have been accepted, including over 1,300 posters and almost 200 oral presentations!
As a junior researcher or clinician, you might feel intimidated standing next to international experts and discussing your work. However, as much as congresses are a place to hear from big names in the field, they are also the perfect place for newcomers to showcase their most recent work and share exciting results. Remember, every expert began exactly where you are now, and they all started by sharing their work at congresses – this is your time to shine. And who knows, you might even end up winning the YoungEHA Best Abstract Award!
3) Make connections
Although there is much to be learnt from seminars, symposia and workshops, there is an educational element of congresses that often goes unnoticed – networking. Imagine being in the same room as thousands of other people who, just like you, are passionate about that particular field (last year there were 11,623 attendees from 117 countries – imagine the buzz!). You get to shake hands and discuss views with world class leaders in your area, as well as with others who are in a similar position as you. At EHA24 you have meeting rooms that you can book free of charge to debate and share your thoughts with fellow colleagues. Furthermore, the YoungEHA Research Meeting is back for its third year running on 13th June, and it’s the perfect chance for you to meet fellow early career researchers with an interest in basic and translational haematology. Whichever way you choose, make sure you put yourself out there and connect – the secret to any congress is to mingle!
4) All work and no play…?
Yes, congresses are a place to develop yourself professionally; but they are also an opportunity to have some fun! Congresses involve early starts, often exhausting travel with significant jetlag, and time away from family – which is why it’s important to enjoy the time away. Outside of all the programmed activities, remember you are in a new place, so make the most of it and make sure you see the sights and experience the local culture. This year the EHA congress is being held in Amsterdam, arguably one of the most vibrant and exciting cities in the world. Enjoy a boat ride through the canals, admire the world famous works of art across dozens of museums, and get on your bike to the nearest park for some peace and relaxation – whatever you do, you are guaranteed to keep entertained!
5) Other helpful tips
- Congresses are full of simultaneous activities, so it pays to plan ahead. Make sure you download the congress app, which allows you to keep track of everything you want to do – that way you can make sure you don’t miss your favourite sessions.
- Stay well fed and hydrated! It’s easy to forget the basics when there’s so much going on, so make sure you make the most of the food and drink provided – your body will thank you for it!
- Check out the exhibitor stalls. Hearing from societies, patient groups and pharmaceutical companies can also be a learning opportunity – and don’t forget all the freebies!
So there you have it, the delegate’s guide to the medical congress. Everyone does it differently, but if you’re short of ideas then this should be a good place to start. And if you’re planning on attending EHA24, make sure to say hello – see you there!
Dr Nuno Borges MBBS MRes