“Attending CHEST 2019 was, in a word, inspiring. Connecting with fellow trainees from across the world was one of my favorite aspects of the meeting. We had some enthralling discussions about the differences in medical education, healthcare systems, and medical research around the world. Additionally, the instruction provided about crafting CVs, interviewing, and building a professional social media presence were all very well done and relevant.”
Megan McLeod—Medical Student
Reflecting on CHEST 2019
As a medical student, attending CHEST 2019 was, in a word, inspiring. Connecting with fellow trainees from across the country—and the world—was one of my favorite aspects of the meeting. Several of the trainees I met were from other countries. We had some enthralling discussions about the differences in medical education, health-care systems, and medical research around the world. A few of us even put our heads together to make it out of the escape room! Additionally, the programming we attended in the trainee lounge about crafting CVs, interviewing, and building a professional social media presence were all very well done and relevant.
Throughout the conference, there were so many incredible sessions it was difficult to choose which to attend. My favorite session was probably the “Pardon the Interruption" discussion about topics in critical care. The physicians on the panel were incredibly knowledgeable, and the structure of the session was highly interactive and fun. It made my interest in critical care skyrocket.
The networking at CHEST 2019 was also phenomenal. Being a part of the grant program, I felt so welcomed by the leadership of CHEST and the CHEST Foundation. They not only made it a point to interact with the grant recipients, but also to connect me with colleagues and friends with shared interests. Being a first-time attendee and student at this professional conference I thought would be intimidating, but the opposite turned out to be true. This experience and the connections I made were beyond what I could have hoped for. I was inspired by the work those I met are doing in academic medicine, within CHEST, and in advocacy. Some even gave me ideas for research projects and connected me with colleagues at my home institution who might be willing to mentor me.
The CHEST Foundation does a great job of pairing award recipients with mentors. Even before the meeting, my mentor reached out and helped guide me to programming I might be interested in so I would have some of my schedule planned before the conference. This was beyond helpful since there was an incredible number of potentially interesting sessions and events from which to choose.
Another positive aspect of the meeting was the quality of the programming for women in medicine. I have attended many talks on this topic as a medical student, and the supportive atmosphere, compelling research, and practical discussions during these sessions especially moved and empowered me. The Women & Pulmonary Luncheon was another of my favorite sessions. The speaker, Dr. Arghavan Salles, shared fascinating research in a witty presentation and had practical advice for those in attendance. I brought this knowledge back to my institution and have referenced her talk multiple times in discussions with fellow female students as well as residents and administrators as we work on equipping women medical students and physicians to be empowered in their responses to inequity or discrimination.
Overall, this grant made it possible for me to attend a meeting where I was welcomed, inspired, and empowered. I have forged connections with colleagues and mentors and am all the more excited about critical care medicine, advocacy, and empowering women in medicine. I look forward to sharing my experience with others, growing with CHEST, and hopefully giving back to this wonderful program.