It’s that time of year again, where I am eagerly anticipating our Annual Meeting—this year being held in Madison April 2-3. The Annual Meeting is one of the ways I first really got connected to the Wisconsin Medical Society, and now I truly look forward to it every year.
For those who haven’t attended an Annual Meeting, the Wisconsin Medical Society Foundation gets things underway the evening before with its annual fundraising event. This is a festive night that includes a silent auction and dinner, along with a dynamic speaker on a topic of interest for physicians. This year, that speaker is Dipesh Navsaria, MPH, MSLIS, MD, who is talking about the benefits of reading for children. I think it’s going to be a great talk. It’s also interesting to note that he and the emcee for the evening, Alicia Arnold, MD, are both Viste Award winners. The Kenneth M. Viste, MD Young Physician Leadership Award is given annually by the Foundation to a young physician who demonstrates commitment to patients, the medical profession and the community. Doctor Arnold is this year’s recipient.
Saturday is when the meeting starts in earnest. Before the first session of the House of Delegates (HOD), there is an introductory session for first-time participants that offers suggestions to get the most out of the weekend. The opening session of the HOD includes elections and reports as well as some special guest speakers and then we break for reference committee meetings, which are where resolutions are presented and debated. Each reference committee then is tasked with reaching consensus and developing a report that recommends whether each resolution should be supported, opposed or referred to the Board of Directors.
After the reference committees, there is a CME program—this year called “Innovations in Health Care”—that will conclude with a poster session.
Saturday evening features the presidential inauguration and award ceremony, which is followed by a celebration with hors d’oeuvres and live music and a great chance to interact with your colleagues from around the state.
On Sunday, the House of Delegates reconvenes with presentation of the reference committee reports. Some resolutions are typically extracted for debate and final dispensation before things come to a close.
I think the Annual Meeting is a fantastic opportunity to learn more about the workings of the Society. It’s a great way to see how an idea can turn into a resolution, which can then become Society policy and may help guide the course of future legislation or the course of our policy in the state. It’s also a way to learn first-hand about parliamentary procedure, and if you ever have a chance to serve as a member or chair of a reference committee, it’s a rewarding leadership experience and a very nice item to have on your CV if you’re looking to advance in your specialty society or in your group.
If you’re coming to the Annual Meeting this year, please seek me out and say “hi.” And if you can’t make it this year, I strongly encourage you to consider attending your county medical society meetings and asking to serve as a delegate next year. It’s truly a rewarding experience.
As always, feel free to contact me if you have questions or concerns or if there’s any way I can assist you.
Doctor Dexter, MD, a board-certified neurologist and sleep medicine specialist, is the Wisconsin Medical Society’s chief medical officer. He also serves as vice chief medical officer, Northwest Wisconsin Region, for Mayo Clinic Health System in Eau Claire, is an assistant professor of neurology at the Mayo Clinic College of Medicine and he continues to practice part-time. He received his medical degree from Mayo Medical School in Rochester, Minn., and he completed his residency and fellowship at the Mayo School of Graduate Medical Education.
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