An Invitation to Attend #AUA14
The following guest post is by medical student Meena Davuluri, a 2015 MD Candidate at SUNY Upstate Medical University and aspiring urology resident.
Recently, I was invited to attend the annual meeting of the American Urological Association (#AUA14) in Orlando. I was encouraged to attend by Dr. Stacy Loeb, a family friend and mentor. Attending this conference as a medical student was, for me, a top 10 moment. I left the conference nothing short of mesmerized.
A Warm Welcome
I was not quite sure what to expect, but I had heard that the size and sheer magnitude of the AUA would overwhelm me. However, the most surprising aspect of the meeting? Not the size, not the number of venues, not even the phenomenal lectures given, but rather, the incredible welcome that I was greeted with by every urologist at the conference. I was truly captivated by the personalities I met, and the interest the physicians had in talking to me, “just a medical student.”
Getting Connected With Twitter
I had been encouraged by Stacy to join social media prior to the conference. I have to say, it was the best thing I did.
Using Twitter, I have had the opportunity to join the Urology Online Twitter Journal Club (#urojc), and work with Dr. Henry Woo on a journal club summary! I was also lucky enough to come across a new friend and mentor, Dr. Brian Stork.
Through the combined encouragement of these three leaders, I met a number of other urology and social media powerhouses including, but definitely not limited to, Drs. Tim Averch, Christopher Bayne, Matt Cooperberg, Scott Eggener, Todd Morgan, David Miller, Imogen Patterson, Declan Murphy, and Rajiv Singal.
Using Twitter to Share Ideas and Stay Connected
These avid SoMe users showed me how powerful of a tool social media can be. I was able to sit in lectures and tweet about the presentation I was seeing. Later in the evening, this led to great conversations with other conference attendees and presenters. I was able to connect with a number of other urologists virtually, and subsequently meet them in person. The vice versa was true as well – I would strike up a great conversation, then was able to follow that person on Twitter to stay connected.
You always hear younger medical students asking older medical students, residents, and attending for advice. The typical answers are “do research” or “do away rotations.” While I agree that all of that is necessary, this experience showed me that medical students can truly embrace innovations of the 21st century to help immerse themselves in the field.
Social media has made people more accessible. It is almost a crime that more students do not use it. It is an untapped market with immeasurable educational and networking potential.
Looking Forward to #AUA15 in New Orleans
So my AUA takeaway? Well here it is: Social media can open doors that would otherwise be impossible. For me, it meant meeting incredible leaders and researchers in the field of urology. I was truly motivated by the passion, dedication, enthusiasm, and most importantly, commitment by those that I hope to someday call my future colleagues.
All I can say is that I came home, slept for about 15 hours straight, and then started working on my research projects with even more vigor to ensure I can get myself a ticket back to the next AUA.
I mean, can you imagine….more than 16,000 urologists from across the world, in the one and only New Orleans …. #AUA15 #UroWin #NOLA