MAC Scholar Impressions

Post written by Caitlin Pike

First and foremost, I’d like to thank everyone at the conference for being so warm and welcoming to a new attendee. Being the MAC Scholar Award recipient was a wonderful opportunity that I am incredibly grateful for, and I sincerely appreciate all of the support from the Membership and Recruitment Committee. My only other professional conference was the MLA Conference in Boston, and it was pretty overwhelming. Everyone seemed to already know each other and the schedule was packed! I eventually met some really fun colleagues and had a great time, but while boarding the plane for Pittsburgh I felt the familiar nerves creeping in. I’m happy to report my fears were unfounded.

I began my conference experience by attending a CE course that I signed up for to get a jump on my AHIP credentials. There, I discovered that personal genomics is a new field that medical librarians should become acquainted with as it can affect everything from cancer treatment to preventative medicine.  We also discussed the ethical issues surrounding the use of DNA, and how to combat the science fiction stigma that patrons may be concerned about. This was a great, low-key introduction to a few of my fellow librarians in a small environment.

Post composed by Caitlin Pike

I made sure to add a “New Member” flag to my conference badge, and while I’m pretty sure this helped immensely with introductions and small talks at the Welcome Reception, the wine probably didn’t hurt. I discovered many librarians from my home state, including several known for making a lot of noise as members of the infamous Bearded Pigs band. Overall, it would appear that librarians are a generally friendly, sociable people who excel at making the uninitiated feel comfortable and welcome. It’s almost as if they do it every day.

The plenary speakers were also unique and motivating, with Dr. Andrew Watson presenting new ideas regarding healthcare in a future filled with teleconsultation, long-distance medicine, and the idea of “connected medicine.” I wrote another whole blog post on Lee Gutkind’s lecture, but suffice it to say he was equally as engaging with an entirely different approach.

Attending the chapter conference is a great option for early career professionals with an eye on the future. I am recently employed in a fellowship position that will end next year, so networking opportunities are currently one of my top priorities. I met with a potential AHIP Mentor to learn more about the benefits of Academy membership, and my MAC Buddy happened to be the chapter chair, so I got to see how busy holding an office would be.  One of the best parts of the conference, though, was simply being surrounded by fellow professionals who understand what I do every day. There is definitely something to be said for not having to justify yourself or your job to everyone you meet! Thank you again to everyone who made my first MAC conference a memorable and successful one – I can’t wait to see you all next year!

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