| April 10, 2012
There are some things that computers handle particularly well. Back in the 1970s, I used to help my father prepare his books for the accountant each tax season. We would sit up late into the evening adding columns of numbers and going through piles of canceled checks and receipts. After what seemed like a few weeks of this, everything was ready for the CPA. Now I simply set up Quicken to generate a report of the previous year. Weeks of potential work are boiled down into a punch of the OK button. There are those who would have us believe that online education and conferencing is an equivalent improvement over live conferences. The live conference involves a worsened carbon footprint, we're told, not to mention days away from the office and home.
And yet when I'm in the exam room with a patient, my treatment approach depends as much upon what I learn in the halls of medicine as in the classroom of medicine. I have no doubt that our Program Committee has put together their usual brilliant collection of presentations at our annual Med-Sci Conference later this month. It is for this reason that ASAM will capture every session from the conference to post on its e-Live Learning Center to provide all with the opportunity to learn from the leading addiction specialists and fulfill education requirements from the comfort of their home or office.
What I look forward to, however, are not only the sessions listed in the program but the unscheduled moments spent with friends, colleagues, and mentors as we discuss treatment, policy, and research approaches. These moments are impossible to recreate with a computer, no matter how inventive and imaginative we construct a website. The live meeting represents our chance to share, in person, with our fellow addiction specialists.
One of my pet peeves of some organizations is leadership-by-good-ol'-boy-network. I've worked hard with our Officers and Staff to ensure that we have new and diverse blood in our committee structure and our leadership moving forward. I hope those of you who have been coming to our annual meeting for years will enjoy the new faces of our organizational committees. And if you're interested in being involved, whether it’s your first Med-Sci or your twentieth, please introduce yourself and let me know what your interests are. For if it weren't for the efforts of our members over the years, and if it weren't for those same members speaking out before anyone recognized them, we wouldn't be able to do a fraction of the activities in which we're now involved.
So...come to Atlanta, enjoy the sessions, and don't forget to say hello. I'm looking forward to seeing you there.