Presenting Research Posters

A few months ago I presented my second poster at a medical conference. The first was at American Heart Association (AHA) 2018 Scientific Sessions in Chicago. This past one was the American College of Cardiology (ACC) 2019 Scientific Sessions. As a pre-med, standing among residents, fellows, and attendings can be nerve-wracking and intimidating. Presenting two poster does not make me an expert by any means, but I’d like to share some tips!

#1 Review, Review, Review

To present a topic, you should know the ins and outs of what you’re presenting. Know the trends of data, the specifics of procedures, and other important general ideas should be easy to recite off the top of your head.

#2 Know Imaging on Your Poster

As pre-meds, we don’t have as much experience with specific procedures. If you’re using imaging like X-rays, CTs, or ultrasounds, review the images. Many physicians at the conference will zero in on those images.

#3 Discuss Common Questions with Your Attending

Anticipate questions that are likely asked about your research. The most common one I’ve heard is “Can you tell me about your poster?” Prepare a little elevator speech summarizing your research.

#4 Be Confident!

My mentor likes to say “no one knows more about a poster than the person who wrote it.” You are the expert on your poster. Remember that when people call you into question.

I hope these tips help. Presenting posters always makes me nervous. I hope my experiences improve with time. Please feel free to share your tips. Happy presenting!

AHA 2018 Poster Presentation

I have finally returned from my adventures in Chicago! This past Sunday I presented my very first research poster at the 2018 American Heart Association Scientific Sessions. Despite some hiccups in obtaining data, I stood in front of my poster during my designated presentation time – one of the only pre-meds presenting. Though the AHA is primarily focused on interventional cardiology (rather than the specialty I work in), I had some interesting questions and feel like I held my own.

The three day session has a huge variety of events. Admission includes large lectures and sessions by the world’s leading cardiologists, discussions of new and future research, presentations on current research, small session tips on networking and career choices, demonstrations of new technology and medications, as well as outside events.

After waiting for about an hour to get my badge, I headed to a “Main Event” lecture entitled “Hey Doc, My Watch Says I Have AF, What Now?”. I was surprised that I was able to understand the information being presented. I was disappointed that only one lecture pertained to EKG monitoring with the Apple Watch and similar devices. I stayed for the majority of the 2 hour lectures. Using the AHA Conference App, I participated in polls and asked questions. I appreciated how smooth it was, though many presenters did not have time to answer more than one question.

I explored the Science and Technology Hall, where reps from pharmaceutical and medical device companies showed off their new toys. I watched an automatic device deliver chest compressions, played an iPhone game where I could stent patients, and scanned over research and textbooks for sale. There’s an EKG learning program that I’m very interested in purchasing, but didn’t want to buy anything until I talked to my attending.

I didn’t spend all day at the conference, especially because Boyfriend came with me. I didn’t want to bore him any longer. We came back the next morning for my presentation. Thousands of posters are presented each day. I stood next to residents, fellows, and foreign doctors. We asked each other questions more than anything else and chatted about the conference. Many doctors I spoke to were not familiar with catheter ablation of A fib, so I felt more like an “expert.”

Here are some tips if you’re going to your first research conference for a poster presentation!

1) Buy your ticket early.

It’s quite expensive for non-members to attend events like these. However, students are usually offered a lower price. In addition, buying tickets earlier can mean cheaper prices.

2) Use your hospital and/or school’s printing services.

I paid $115 to have AHA print and deliver my poster to the conference. I was unaware that my hospital had a library with a printing service. I could have easily had them print it for free, then hand-carry it to the conference. Next year I’ll know to save me some money.

3) Consider where you’ll stay.

Conferences like these usually make deals with local hotels. Don’t be fooled, the hotels are still horrendously expensive! Fortunately, my hotel was paid for by my very generous attending physician. Others may not be so lucky. The main convenience with staying at an AHA hotel is that the buses at the hotel can take you directly to the conference. You are not required to stay at one of those hotels.

Let me know if you have any questions about my experience or my research!

American Heart Association Scientific Sessions

I’ll be in Chicago this weekend for the AHA Scientific Sessions. You can contact me on Instagram at futuredoctorfoodie. If you’ll be in attendance, I’ll be presenting my research on a poster on Sunday around 10:30 AM!

For those of you who are unable to attend, I’ll be posting about it once I get back!