Twenty five. That’s the number to know. Keep it in your mind. 25 tracks! So many choices, so much to learn!
I first attended PRIM&R’s Advancing Ethical Research (AER) Conference in 2008. I remember walking into the venue for the first talk and being blown away by the size of it. It still catches me by surprise and this will be my seventh time attending. Compared to other conferences, it’s the variety of selections that brings me back to the AER Conference again and again: I can pick from so many great topics! Of course, the problem is always narrowing down my choices so I can get registered. My technique is to schedule a primary session and make note of alternate sessions I would be interested in, should the first choice end up not being what I expected. But note: I rarely need to switch.
In addition to offering a multitude of topics, AER also provides a great opportunity to hear from the source(s), including OHRP and FDA. These sessions are always well-attended and give you an opportunity to put a face with a name. Some of these “feds” are even known to break out in song.
And AER is the place to be if you’re looking to keep up with hot topics. As an educator, I attend these sessions to learn what’s coming so I can help our people anticipate and prepare for change. I like to be in the know, and while I never swear to have the all answers, I can usually get there in the end. Since I’m a training department of one, I learned long ago that it’s helpful to teach people to fish (helping them help themselves). But, it’s also nice to be able to tell them where to find the sweet spots!
And, speaking of sweets…there’s no shortage of those at the AER either! There’s usually some sugary treat to be found mid-afternoon. If you can’t wait that long, take a stroll through the exhibitor area. Not only will you make valuable connections for current/future goods or services, you’ll probably also find an abundance of chocolate!
Finally, while we’re talking about making connections, don’t forget to stop by the ribbon table. This is by far the best tip to help you with networking. I’m a natural introvert, so I have to force myself out of my comfort zone to network with strangers. The ribbons give me something to use to strike up conversation. You’ll find me with a collection of ribbons, including the blue “Educator” one. If you’ll be wearing blue too, I’ll be looking for you!
Through the AER blog squad, I’d like to continue to grow and make more connections by blogging. So, look for me…I’ll be wearing a red blog squad t-shirt and the #AER15 ribbon!
Learn more about our AER15 Blog Squad members here.
Mina Busch, program manager, research education and outreach at Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center, is a member of the PRIM&R Blog Squad for the 2015 AER Conference. The PRIM&R Blog Squad is composed of PRIM&R members who blogged here, on Ampersand, to give our readers an inside peek of what happened at the conference in Boston, MA.