I would like to begin by sincerely thanking the Irish Association of Dermatologists and the American Academy of Dermatology for awarding me a registration Scholarship to attend the AAD meeting in California 2018. The jetlag after a long-haul flight was soon washed away with the sight of San Diego Bay in spring sunshine.
My first experience of the scale of the AAD was attendance at the International Scholarship Reception and Dinner in the Mariott Marquis Marina ballroom. This was a really enjoyable evening and a great opportunity to meet other Dermatology trainees from all over the world and hear about their experiences.
After a 7am coffee and a short journey from my hotel on “The Trolley” I was plunged into the meeting itself. Having heard nothing but rapturous praise for the AAD meeting I had high expectations and it did not disappoint. It is hard to fully describe the infectious positivity and enthusiasm that permeates this conference. Having perused the jam-packed programme of speakers, workshops and interactive sessions on offer I felt like I wanted to clone myself so as not to miss anything. I’d highly recommend downloading the ‘AAD App’ to help keep track of events and plan your time there.
I definitely managed to fill a few notebooks with clinical pearls and wisdom and some particularly worthwhile sessions included hot topics in acute and inpatient dermatology, pregnancy dermatoses, acne management and the ‘short common, challenging and controversial short topics in patient management’ to name but a few. Myself and another Registrar did happen upon the ‘“Resident Jeopardy” session which provided a brief insight into the standard of the Board exam in the US (definitely one for after coffee-break!). The Scholarship also covered attendance at the “Updates in Hair Disorders” Course which covered many useful practical tips for diagnosis and management as well exciting research topics. It goes without saying that an AAD highlight was hearing Professor Alan Irvine present at the Plenary and receive the Marion B Sulzberger, MD, Memorial Award and Lectureship.
In addition to the talks the exhibit hall was a parallel experience in itself and not to be missed. San Diego is a beautiful place and a drive over the suspension bridge to Coronado before sunset, La Jolla beach and a few lovely eateries in Gastown and Little Italy will definitely remain in the memory bank also!
The AAD is an invigorating and unforgettable experience and I feel tremendous gratitude for having been afforded the opportunity to attend.