CHEST 2021: The Beginning of the Rest of Your Career

September 2, 2021 by twilkinson

CHEST 2021: The Beginning of the Rest of Your Career

David Zielinski, MD, FCCP
September 1, 2021

David Zielinski, MD, FCCP

Is this your first CHEST Annual Meeting? Co-Chair David Zielinski, MD, FCCP, shares some words of wisdom recounting his first experience at CHEST and what first-time attendees can expect from the annual meeting.

My very first CHEST meeting was 10 years ago at CHEST 2011 in Honolulu, Hawaii. I clearly remember my first session being a postgraduate course on Respiratory Management of Neuromuscular Disease and having the opportunity for hands-on teaching with devices and techniques. Simulation was unique at medical conferences at that time and has continued to evolve at subsequent CHEST meetings.

Looking back, what really sticks out about this experience is what it started for me in terms of my career and learning. I was in a session with some of the biggest names in the field—people who I always looked up to as a relatively junior faculty. I was encouraged to get more involved at CHEST and with the committees. It put the bug in my ear. A few years later, I started to get involved in the NetWorks. Eventually, I became a faculty member myself alongside these individuals at subsequent CHEST meetings. Meeting these chest medicine professionals also led to more collaborations with them outside of CHEST. I never imagined this during my first meeting ten years ago. I have now been back to every meeting but one since that first one. 

The CHEST Annual Meeting has always stood out for its focus on quality clinical teaching, being ahead of the curve on interactivity, and adjusting to the audience’s learning needs. For me personally, though, the three things that I have always enjoyed are as follows:

Simulation opportunities

One thing that sets apart CHEST 2021 from other conferences is the simulation sessions being offered virtually. These sessions are an opportunity to practice your skills and techniques with some of the best educators anywhere in the world.  I have always come out of these sessions impressed. I encourage you to try it at least once.

The fun

From the receptions, the meeting halls, pop-up events, CHEST Challenge, the games… the list goes on: the fun element of CHEST makes this a much more immersive atmosphere. When the meeting was solely virtual last year, CHEST still aimed to provide fun and will continue to do so this year too. Challenge your colleagues and new friends to games at the CHEST Player Hub online to see which one of you rises to the top of the leaderboard.

The community

CHEST 2021 (and CHEST the organization) helps you make connections and provides opportunities for leadership involvement. CHEST committees are always looking for leaders at all stages of their careers. Attending satellite meetings, like the NetWork open forums that are occurring virtually before the meeting this year, will allow you to begin networking with those with similar interests to your own and hopefully will spark your interest in getting more involved in the future. For many of us at CHEST, the NetWorks were a great place to start, and you can join one in the area that interests you most.

Through my involvement in CHEST, I have become a part of the community, meeting so many other clinicians and educators in my field. I have made great friendships, which keep me coming back every year.

Moving forward 

From the beginning, we have  been planning CHEST 2021 so that if we needed to go entirely virtual, we could do so as seamlessly as possible. With the recent decision to cancel the in-person meeting and go fully virtual, plans are already underway to make CHEST 2021 just as successful as last year’s meeting.

We can give you our commitment that your CHEST 2021 experience will live up to being a world-class event that separates itself from other current online offerings. I will be in attendance and hope to see you online.