Last weekend (well, weekend before last by now) was the annual conference of the ADQ (Association des dermatologistes de Québec.) I don't usually go, but it was in Montreal this time, and I was asked to speak. Cool, I'm now an official conference speaker. Even got paid for it. (Could have put in for travel expenses, but not worth filling out paperwork for "two Metro rides.")
Why don't I usually go? Partly because I don't like to be away from home these days, partly because it's rather bush-league (in retrospect yes-and-no), partly because almost all in French. Why did I go? Partly because it was in town, partly because I was asked to speak on Cutaneous Lymphoma and if I'm going to be the local expert I have to act the part, partly because even local conference do get good and more-than-local-level speakers, and partly because I actually do (mostly) understand French. Also, I usually avoid the business meetings for most assemblies, but with all the shake-ups in the reimbursement system by our brilliant Health Minister, I thought I should go to that part also.
There really were some good talks, even if most of the speakers were local/semi-local (eg Ottawa or Quebec City): medical emergencies on airplanes, better use of lab tests, cutaneous lymphoma (*bows theatrically*), update on immunizations, how to teach Generation Y, biofilms, phototherapy.
I think my talk was well received. The informal feedback was good, but since hard to tell if people just being polite, I'll wait for the official feedback. (Unlike the last CME I gave, don't think I'll get a "sacrée vache, c'etait bon!" partly because that just doesn't translate.) I don't do so many of these that I'm blaise about giving talks: I'm not completely comfortable going into them. (Okay, I keep thinking someone is going to jump up and say "are you freakin' kidding us? What kinda junk is that?" or asking questions I can't answer.); and I greatly appreciate positive comments. The full title of my talk was: Cutaneous Lymphoma: What Every Dermatologist Should Know. (Yes, I spoke in English. I speak French, but not well enough to give a formal presentation.) It was geared to exactly what the title says. Cutaneous Lymphomas are a group of rare diseases, and out of the 2-dozen related obscure entities in this group, what are the ones that the average dermatologist will likely see at some time in his/her career, and what to do about them (besides sending to me). I think I really have developed the ability to take a subject and present the essentials clearly.
The admin part of the meeting was tolerable, but actually I knew most of what they had been presenting, because, uh, I've been paying attention to the emails that have been sent out. It was clear from most of the questions that most people weren't paying attention to those emails. This was a major mistake, because they concern our livelihood.
Although I'm not a very social person, the social aspects were good too. I didn't go the evening dinners and receptions (there was that "I want to be home with my family" thing). At the breaks and luncheons, I did catch up with people I hadn't seen in a while: colleagues of long-standing, and former-residents who are now colleagues. Lunch on Friday was at a very good local restaurant (there was a choice of three, most people went to the better known one, but I never liked that as much so went to Club Chasse et Peche which is a restaurant, not a rod and gun club). Lunch on Saturday was catered in the conference center (Marché Bonsecours in Old Montreal) and was totally unimpressive (I mean, I'm pretty sure even upscale lobster rolls are supposed to have lobster in them.)
I'm happy with what I learned, with the social aspects, and with my presentation. All told, good conference. Next year it's in Quebec City; will have to see if the family is up for going.