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Conference crowd

‘H programs’ not limited to members of sections or councils; worth checking out

September 29, 2023

Editor’s note: The 2023 AAP National Conference & Exhibition will take place from Oct. 20-24 in Washington, D.C. For coverage, visit and follow @AAPNews on Facebook and at

No one is quite sure why section and council programs held during the AAP National Conference & Exhibition are called “H programs,” said Elizabeth B. Murray, D.O., FAAP, incoming chair of the National Conference Planning Group.

But one thing’s for certain: They are not to be missed.

“Each of the programs are special educational experiences that are organized by our various sections and councils,” Dr. Murray explained. “Everybody is welcome to attend. You do not need to be a member of the group presenting the information to attend.”

H programs are held throughout the conference in addition to the 350-plus general education sessions. The programs may delve into medical advances in subspecialties such emergency medicine or neonatology or offer information to those at a specific stage in their career like young physicians or seniors. Some of the content focuses on hot topics or new research that can help general pediatricians in their daily practice.

The section or council sponsoring the program determines its format, content and length. Some programs last several hours, while others run over several days. Attendees can choose how much of a program they want to attend.

“I've seen panel discussions. I've seen interactive workshops and classic didactic sessions,” Dr. Murray said. “Some groups choose to involve some trainees in the presentations. There's a whole variety of options out there, and that's why it's really important to take a look at the listing of all the different H programs, because there'll be a lot of different experiences for different types of learners and all sorts of great content.”

Dr. Murray recalls attending an AAP Council on Communications and Media program where she met Richard E. Besser, M.D., FAAP, chief health and medical editor for “ABC News.”

“I got to meet some legendary medical communicators and just talk to them,” she said. “It's an amazing opportunity to get to talk to people doing the work that you're interested in and doing.”

Dr. Murray recommends taking some time to review the conference schedule to see what the H programs have to offer. You can peruse programs by day or search for a specific topic. The schedule also lists how much continuing medical education credit can be earned for attending an entire program and has links to agendas.

Among the benefits of attending H programs are opportunities to have discussions with the presenters, meet pediatricians who have the same interests as you and learn about the latest and greatest on various topics, Dr. Murray said.

“I encourage everybody to try something new,” she said. “You might be really surprised.”

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