KIDNEYcon is so much more than a CE meeting, it is an experience. The passionate group of doctors involved truly strive to make the conference outperform itself each year. When Dr. Arthur asked me to help him plan the inaugural KIDNEYcon, I initially thought it would be a cinch. I even worried that putting on an annual meeting would get monotonous, and lack opportunities for growth. Looking back, I clearly (and thankfully) didn’t know what I was getting myself into. I accepted the position and immediately wandered into a world of firsts for me: my first time to partner with the anatomy lab and secure human cadavers, including jumping through legal hoops as the first person to seek permission for non-UAMS students/staff to work with them; first time to work with standardized patients trained in our simulation center; first time helping design a website and creating marketing materials; and my first time to be responsible for securing annual financing for a large conference. Each year as the meeting grows, I have come to expect crazy outlandish requests from the planning committee, and can frequently be heard trying to talk Dr. Arthur out of many of them for the sake of staying within our budget. Fortunately, he doesn’t often listen to me. Dr. Karakala and I joke about the best method to break news to me regarding their latest great (and often expensive and logistically tough to plan) ideas. I try not to complain too much because I like a challenge, and these difficult to implement ideas are the real reason everyone loves KIDNEYcon. We test the limits and do things that no one else does. Among other things, we bring in real patients, offer numerous specialized workshops, and fly in dozens of expert presenters from around the world. We work really hard to make the meeting a hands-on experience where attendees can learn in realistic practice conditions. It makes the meeting fun and unique. It fosters excitement and enthusiasm among attendees young and old, and it generates an atmosphere of collaboration and camaraderie. Even though it takes an enormous amount of planning, we think this experience stays with attendees and their new knowledge is what we are all about.
Kelly Bulloch, JD, KIDNEYcon Program Manager