What the Early Career Forum Did for Me
For those of you who are thinking about attending the Early Career Forum (ECF) at the 2019 American Pain Society Scientific Meeting, but are second guessing whether it will be worth it, let me share a bit more about the forum and my experiences.
The ECF is a people-powered event programmed to facilitate the career development of doctoral and medical students, residents and postdocs, and other trainees interested in pain research, treatment, advocacy, and education. The goal of the ECF is to enhance the competitiveness of young pain researchers. The ECF is in place because your success strengthens the Society.
The ECF has produced several rotating modules. This makes attending in sequential years beneficial because there will be new material. As a postdoc I attended twice. I heard from program officers at the NIH who described what and who their institutes were looking to support. I heard from grant reviewers who took us through the review process pointing out common pitfalls in grant writing. Possibly the most impactful events for me were the small group meetings I had with senior faculty. These individuals were assigned to meet with me based on the interests I indicated on my registration. This format gave me an opportunity to ask questions directly to the people who have walked the path before me. Maybe it was just coincidence, but more than one of these faculty members later interviewed me as a faculty candidate.
The ECF begins a day earlier than the official APS Scientific Meeting. There is a social hour after the ECF where trainees and the faculty mingle. This is a good time to investigate the special interest groups (SIGs) that match your interests. There is an additional registration fee associated with putting this program into action. It was well worth it for me.
Steve Davidson, PhD
Assistant Professor | University of Cincinnati
APS Early Career Advisory Group Chair & Liaison to the Board