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Get With the YO Program

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If you’ve been to one of the Academy’s previous Annual Meetings, you know that one of the main events for young ophthalmologists is the YO Program. This year is no different, although the program for the Joint Meeting in San Francisco has some exciting new changes, keyed off the current economy, as well as feedback from last year’s program.

Back by Popular Demand…
After the success of last year’s panel discussion debut, the format returns this year with a look at landing your first job. The
panel’s presenters were specifically chosen to represent a mix of perspectives, from gender and geographic considerations to practice type. Gail Schmidt, the Academy’s director of ophthalmic society relations, said that this allows for balanced advice and direction that can benefit everyone attending the YO Program.

Panel participants include William Lloyd, MD, moderator; Julia Haller, MD; Kris F. Gillian, MD; and Robert F. Melendez, MD, MBA.

  • Dr. Lloyd is an ophthalmologist from Sacramento, Calif., who specializes in anatomic pathology.
  • Dr. Haller is a retina specialist in Philadelphia, affiliated at both Thomas Jefferson University Hospital, where she chairs the department of ophthalmology, and Wills Eye Institute, where she serves as ophthalmologist in chief.
  • Drs. Gillian and Melendez (of Atlanta and Albuquerque, respectively) are members of the YO Committee.

New for 2009
In addition to the panel, this year’s program includes two other changes. One of the most consistently attended sections of the YO Program has been the session on contracts, buy-ins and negotiating, so this year Robert A. Wade, JD, Esq., has been added to the program to address this topic in depth. Other topics on the agenda include:

  • Coding: Sue Vicchrilli, COT, COS, Academy coding executive;
  • International YO Opportunities: Brad H. Feldman, MD, YO International Subcommittee;
  • Advocacy: Parag D. Parekh, MD, MPA, Young Ophthalmologist Committee ;
  • Introduction to AAOE Resources: Ann M. Renucci, MD, Young Ophthalmologist Committee;
  • And a special greeting from Michael W. Brennan, MD, president of the Academy.

Plus, for the first time, the YO Program is going green. Instead of the printed version provided in past meetings, the YO Program Guide will now be loaded on a USB stick. You can view the guide at your leisure or share it with colleagues who may have missed the program. What you do with the extra meeting bag and suitcase space is up to you.  

Something for Everyone
Whether this is your first meeting or you are meeting veteran, there is something to be gained by everyone. “YOs attend the meeting to network and broaden their range of opinion and experience,” says panel participant Dr. Haller.

“The YO Program, especially the panel presentation, is a good chance to hear other points of view. Plus, you can rub shoulders with your colleagues and others at different points in their life and career.” For first-time meeting attendees, Dr. Haller says the program is “critical.”

But even if you have attended the meeting in the past, the YO Program is still quite beneficial. “There is always something different when you gather a new group who offer different perspectives and advice,” says Dr. Haller. “Plus, the program is very interactive and geared to the needs of the young ophthalmologists, so it’s a great opportunity to get advice tailored to your unique situation.”

Finally, international attendees can benefit from the YO Program as well. Dr. Haller says, “Regardless of what country you hail from, we all face the same basic issues, in terms of patient care and career planning. The basic information and support is what is key, and that’s exactly what you get with the YO Program.”

See You in San Francisco
This year, the YO Program is Sunday, Oct. 25, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the San Francisco Marriott, Room Yerba Buena 4. The cost is $35, which includes lunch and the YO Program Guide USB stick.

If you would like a sneak peak of the program, listen to a podcast from last year’s YO Program in Atlanta.

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About the author: Kimberly Day is a freelance health writer and medical editor and a frequent contributor to YO Info. She is the co-author of Hormone Revolution and ghost writer of Eat Papayas Naked.