Society of General Internal Medicine Mid-Atlantic Regional Meeting Review

For the first time, the Society of General Internal Medicine Mid-Atlantic Regional Meeting was held in Pittsburgh on November 15, 2019.

Meeting Pre-Courses

An exciting new introduction to the Mid-Atlantic Regional Meeting were the career development and training pre-courses offered the day before the meeting. The options for the pre-courses were a course in faculty development in medical education and hands-on training in point of care ultrasound (POCUS).

“The faculty development course is our approach to give local faculty an opportunity to lead workshops and demonstrate their expertise in medical education,” said Mid-Atlantic Region President Dr. Thomas Radomski. The course included presentations on diagnosis and remediation of the struggling medical learner, scholarship in medical education, and mentoring across differences.

As for the point of care ultrasound training, inspiration came from a national SGIM initiative to incorporate POCUS in day-to-day practice. This introductory course provided participants with the unique opportunity to benefit from nearly 1-on-1 hands-on instruction. UPMC’s Dr. Michelle Fleshner, who is involved with the POCUS committee at the national level and spearheaded the regional pre-course ultrasound training along with Drs. Thomas Robertson and Gigi Liu, noted that this training focused on both inpatient and outpatient applications of POCUS.

Proud to be GIM Reception

Following the pre-courses, there was a Proud to be GIM Reception at Pittsburgh’s newly opened Oaklander Hotel. Dr. Radomski described the #ProudToBeGIM movement as a means to articulate why someone might choose to work in GIM to people who are still in the process of choosing their careers, and forming a community with other generalists to celebrate all of the aspects of academic general internal medicine.

“I look after a panel of several hundred primary care patients and that’s very important to me, and I also love the research that I do. Research and patient care play off each other very well; they inform each other. In addition, in general internal medicine there’s opportunity to teach and mentor students and residents as they develop into full-fledged physicians,” said Dr. Radomski. “Proud to be GIM is about being vocal and recognizing how much many of us like our job as general internists—doing everything we can to mentor others into GIM careers.”

Society of General Internal Medicine Mid-Atlantic Regional Meeting


On Friday, November 15, 2019, at The University Club at the University of Pittsburgh (Pitt), Dr. Radomski, Meeting Co-Chair Dr. Eloho Ufomata, and Division Chief of General Internal Medicine at Pitt, Dr. Jane Liebschutz, kicked off the meeting with opening remarks. First, Dr. Radomski spoke about the meeting theme—Generalists of Steel: Eliminating Health Disparities and Delivering High-Value Care for All—and how it aligns with the national SGIM conference themes focused on health disparities, social determinants of health, and value in healthcare.  


Then, Dr. Ufomata provided attendees with an overviewing of the meeting programming. Dr. Liebschutz engaged the audience by asking first time SGIM meeting attendees to stand, showcasing the growth of the SGIM community and the opportunities that local regional meetings present. SGIM CEO Dr. Eric Bass followed up with a town hall meeting with updates on the successes and future opportunities for SGIM, as well as a modernized mission: “to cultivate innovative educators, researchers, and clinicians in academic general internal medicine, leading the way to better health for everyone.” 

Two inspiring Plenary TED Talks set the tone for the day. Dr. Nicole Redmond (Medical Officer, NHLBI) presented her talk, “The Edge of Chaos,” highlighting the importance of asking the right questions, finding opportunity in failure, and building a strong, diverse team. The address by Dr. Gaetan Sgro (Academic Hospitalist, VAPHS) was titled “The Case for Crossing Boundaries in Medicine,” which advocated for listening without agenda, to diminish the boundary between clinicians and patients.

The rest of the meeting was divided into small group sessions including oral presentations, two poster sessions totaling 150 posters, two concurrent workshop sessions, and a new-this-year teaching competition.

In the past, presenters have submitted scientific abstracts, clinical vignettes, innovative projects in medical education, but there has never been an avenue to highlight the talents of all of the fantastic teachers. The teaching competition gave four presenters 10 minutes to give a lecture on a topic of their choice.

Teaching Competition

This addition, led by Drs. Amar Kohli and Eloho Ufomata, was unique to the Mid-Atlantic Regional Meeting, inspired by the success of the teaching competitions held by Pitt’s fellowship programs. Dr. Radomski described the competition as a great way to recognize academic skills that do not always appear in the traditional submissions for conferences.

A panel of judges—a combination of local senior faculty and faculty invited from other institutions based on their leadership roles in medical education—scored the speakers based on who gave the most effective presentation. The winner of the inaugural SGIM MIDA teaching competition was Dr. Emmanuelle Yecies. [Photo Credit: Dr. Carla Spagnoletti]


In the closing address, awards were announced for the oral and poster presentations. To highlight a few other awards:

Award for Advocacy and Community Service: Dr. Peggy Hasley

Award for Excellence in Clinician Education: Dr. Paul O'Rourke

Award for Excellence in Clinician Investigation: Dr. Jennifer Goldstein

Additionally, attendees who completed a networking scavenger hunt were entered into a raffle for Pittsburgh-themed gift bags.

Aside from gained knowledge around the theme, a key takeaway of the regional meetings of SGIM is an opportunity to connect and network with other people in the field and learn about high quality work being done at other institutions. At the Mid-Atlantic Regional Meeting, “there’s a chance to foster meaningful collaborations with your regional neighbors,” said Dr. Radomski.

A lot of hard work went into making this regional meeting run smoothly. The program planning committee consisted of a diverse array of institutions across the region with more than 15 institutions represented. Each member of the planning committee served as an institutional champion for the regional meeting in to facilitate cross-institutional networking and to which we credit the success of this meeting.

The next Mid-Atlantic Regional Meeting, led by new SGIM Mid-Atlantic President Dr. Jennifer Goldstein, will be hosted by Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, Maryland in Fall 2020.

Check out the conference coverage on Twitter by searching for #GeneralistsOfSteel and #SGIMMIDA19.

February 10, 2020 • Michelle Woods