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Tips on navigating the conference without getting overwhelmed :

September 19, 2019

Editor's note: The 2019 AAP National Conference & Exhibition will take place from Oct. 25-29 in New Orleans.

You’ve registered for the conference and booked your hotel. Now it’s time to map out your strategy for conquering the 2019 AAP National Conference & Exhibition in New Orleans.

With over 350 educational sessions, hundreds of exhibits and many special events, you may not know where to begin.

Just as you do in practice, consult the experts: members of the National Conference Planning Group. In the following Q&A, Chair Cassandra M. Pruitt, M.D., FAAP, Mika Hiramatsu, M.D., FAAP, Jonathan E. Teitelbaum, M.D., FAAP, Katherine E. Twombley, M.D., FAAP, and D. Michael Foulds, M.D., FAAP, liaison from the Committee on Continuing Medical Education, offer words of wisdom on how to make the most of your time in New Orleans.

Q: Think back to the first time you attended the AAP National Conference. What do you know now that you wish you knew then? 

Dr. Foulds: At my first meeting as a third-year resident, I went to several sessions to “reassure myself” that I knew the material. I found that I did know the material quite well and wasted my time at those sessions. I should have spent more time thinking about what I didn’t know and needed to learn. In those sessions that I attended, I learned a lot.

Dr. Hiramatsu: The AAP child care was the first organized child care I ever used for my child, and it was terrific. I was so proud that pediatricians knew how to do things right.

Dr. Pruitt: I wish that I knew that the H programs (section/council education programs) are open to all members, even if you don't belong to that section or council. They are worth attending, and all are welcome! Also, anything you favorite while logged into the online conference schedule will also show up on the conference app. That way you can plan ahead!

Dr. Teitelbaum: The meeting is huge, a virtual educational smorgasbord. Clearly, there is something for everyone. I would suggest looking over the conference schedule ahead of time; trying to decide on the fly what to attend will make your head spin. Also, I suggest trying to reconnect with long lost colleagues, people you did residency with, etc. Nothing better than sharing a meal and reminiscing.

Q: What advice would you give return attendees?

Dr. Pruitt: There are devices to help attendees who might have mobility issues. You can reserve ahead of time at or visit the Conference Services desk at the convention center. I hear a lot that it is a long walk between the rooms sometimes, and these scooters, etc. can be very helpful.

Dr. Teitelbaum: Try something new. Attend a talk on something that maybe doesn't directly apply to your everyday practice. You may be surprised and inspired.

Dr. Twombley: Make sure to write comments about speakers and presentations in the evaluation in the conference app. We really do read them and make changes based on your feedback!

 Q: In your opinion, what are the top things attendees should not miss during this year’s conference?

Dr. Hiramatsu: The opening plenary on Saturday is going to be amazing with a great  keynote address. Plus, our first-ever pediatrician in Congress U.S. Rep. Kim Schrier, M.D., FAAP, will speak on Sunday. The closing plenary on Tuesday will feature a dynamic, inspirational young woman who has crusaded for sanitary supplies for women. Also, take time to catch up with friends and colleagues from around the country, and enjoy and appreciate the delicious cuisine and dynamic culture of New Orleans.

Dr. Pruitt: The Pediatrics for the 21st Century program on Friday is all about opioids through the ages, and I think it will be highly valuable to any practitioner. I would recommend the session “LGBT 101: Preparing Primary Care Providers With the Knowledge to Care for This Community” (F1069) on Friday. The New Orleans Experience! on Saturday night at the National World War II Museum will be a one-of-a-kind experience!  Attendees will have access to the entire museum campus, and this should be a great event for all ages.

Dr. Teitelbaum: Attend the Pediatric Bowl on Sunday. It will fill you with hope for the future of medicine, and it’s fun!

For more coverage of the 2019 AAP National Conference & Exhibition, visit

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