In early October I attended my first conference as a resident. While most of my peers are planning on attending FMF or other Family Medicine related conferences in the future I chose to use my funding to attend The Examined Life Conference at the University of Iowa from October 6-8. The program was impressive (link) and it was a great experience. I was also impressed with how well run the conference was, staying on schedule and not a single AV issue in the talks I attended.
I enjoyed hearing about the work others are doing in combining the arts and medicine. I attended workshops, lectures on educational efforts, readings and more. Many of the presentations led to insightful discussions that continued into coffee breaks. It was a great place to connect with other interested in the humanities and discuss ideas. I won’t review the whole conference, just a few highlights.
- Phil Dwyer – Artful Grief
The first lecture I attended was by Phil. He spoke of his recently published book Conversations On Dying and blog that collected reflections about the death of loved ones. His book recounts the death of his brother along with a series of interviews with Dr. Larry Labrach (a palliative care physician in Toronto), contrasting their end of life experiences. It was a moving presentation and also presented some data collected about writing about loss. I also sat with him on the flight back to Canada, and we had a good conversation.
2. Ken Browne – Why Doctors Write
Ken presented a 20 minute cut of his unfinished documentary Why Doctors Write at the conference. It was very well received. It was divided into chapters including one of Dr. Danielle Ofri and her patient Jaun, arts in medical education, Internist and poet Dr. Rafael Campo, etc. A strong message and nicely shot. Ken was approachable and we had a great talk about medicine and the arts. I look forward to the film.
A lot of great conversations at the conference. At some of the workshops we shared work in small groups and it was wonderful to see what people came up with in 7 minutes following a prompt. I had a great chat and dinner with a PA and rural Family Doc from the conference and have enjoyed email correspondence with a number of attendees since the conference. The host also put together an app for the conference that made it easy to post to social media, share updates and connect.
Being that this is Aboot Medicine, two of the attendees had air casts on… talk a boot medicine (thanks Rita and Marjorie)
I hope to attend again in the future