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Tuesday Jul 30, 2013

A New Assembly Experience: Discussing Real Issues; Providing Real Answers

Are you joining us for Scientific Assembly this year? If you make it to the Sept. 24-28 event in San Diego, you're going to notice some exciting changes.

Assembly already is the premier learning event for family physicians, but the Academy is transforming its signature meeting to make it a more engaging experience that offers members more than just CME. It will be more interactive with more opportunities to network with our colleagues and simply more interesting and fun.

Assembly, as always, will continue to offer more than 300 evidence-based CME sessions and workshops. But we also can experience other learning opportunities outside the meeting room. Downstairs at the "Hub" in Hall A, CME credit will be available through more than 60 poster presentations and the AAFP Learning Centers, which will offer interactive, self-paced activities about opioid abuse and men's health.

The Hub also will be the place to go if we want to learn more after CME sessions. Select CME faculty will be available for (non-CME) Ask the Expert question-and-answer sessions.

A variety of informational presentations on topics, such as direct primary care and my own presentation on improving payment for family physicians, also will take place in the Hub. Attendees can ask questions after these presentations, as well.

During the lunch hour, tables in the Hub will be designated by scope of practice, type of practice, demographics and more to help us connect with colleagues who have interests and issues similar to our own.

By now, you may have seen -- either on the Academy website or on materials received in the mail -- information regarding Assembly that promises "real issues, real answers, real voices." But what does that mean?

Throughout the Assembly's three general sessions, we'll all be looking at the real issues we face every day. We'll be listening to each other's voices and trying to find solutions. For example, during the first general session, we'll talk about "real issues" based on the top 10 concerns members identified in the Academy's 2013 Member Satisfaction Survey.

Those "real issues" then will be addressed with "real answers" during a panel discussion featuring Samuel Nussbaum, M.D., EVP and chief medical officer for WellPoint; Marci Nielsen, CEO of the Patient-Centered Primary Care Collaborative; and John Bender, M.D., senior partner and CEO at Miramont Family Medicine in Fort Collins, Colo. Once again, there will be opportunities for audience participation.

The "real voices" will be ours. Video booths near the CME meeting rooms and outside the Hub will allow all of us to talk about the issues facing our practices, as well as what gives us the most joy about being a family physician. A sample of those videos will be played during the general sessions.

Your opinion matters, so make sure your voice is heard.

Scientific Assembly already is a highly successful meeting, but the AAFP is not going to be complacent. Academy staff and members are working hard to give us the best experience possible. Even more changes and new features are planned for the 2014 Assembly in Washington. More on that later, but for now, I hope to see you in San Diego.

Glen Stream, M.D., M.B.I.is the board chair of the AAFP.

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