You’ll attend AAO 2015 for many reasons — be it sharing innovative surgical techniques, learning practice management tips or simply taking peek at what’s hot in the world of ophthalmic equipment. But there’s another reason that’s no less important: building new relationships.
Here are five of the more meaningful — and free! — ways to connect in Las Vegas, Nov. 14 to 17. For a printable guide of young ophthalmologist events and resources, download the YO Highlights brochure (PDF).
1. Connect With Your Peers
AAO 2015 will draw thousands of ophthalmologists, nurses, practice administrators and exhibitors. To help you connect with other young ophthalmologists, the Academy provides two special venues just for YOs.
The YO Lounge. Now in its eighth year, the YO Lounge (Sands Expo, Room 102) provides the ideal place to meet and mingle with other YOs. Show your “YO” ribbon to enjoy complimentary Wi-Fi and access these free networking events sponsored by the YO Committee:
- Meet With an International Expert — Saturday, Nov. 14, 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Gain pearls and learn about pitfalls from experts in the international arena.
- OPHTHPAC® and Surgical Scope Fund Networking Event — Saturday, Nov. 14, 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. YOs meet with Academy advocacy leaders and learn about their efforts to protect quality patient eye care.
- YO ARVO! Exploring Careers in Research — Sunday, Nov. 15, 2:30 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. Network with senior clinicians and ask your questions about a career in research. The event is a collaboration between the Academy’s YO Committee and the ARVO Members in Training (MIT) Committee.
- Managing YO Practice: AAOE Discussions — Monday, Nov. 16, from 12:45 to 1:45 p.m. Get tips and guidance from practice management experts on coding and other crucial business topics.
Global YO Reception. The YO Lounge is also the place to pick up tickets for Sunday night’s Global YO Reception held at 1 Oak in the Mirage Hotel and Casino. During this popular member event, you’ll be able to let loose and enjoy a drink with YOs from around the world. Space is limited, though, so pick up your free ticket early in the meeting!
2. Connect With Leaders
Like no other ophthalmic event, AAO 2015 brings together all the titans in the profession. Here are some other venues where you can pick the brains of these thought leaders:
Academy Learning Lounge (Hall A, Booth 221). Visit the Learning Lounge to engage in interactive discussions and float among presentations in a small informal setting. New topics start every 15 minutes and range from how to manage IOL misalignment to global volunteer experiences. Search for “Learning Lounge” in the online program to get specific times and topics and add them to your calendar.
- Just for YOs: “I’m Done With Training, Now What?” on Saturday, Nov. 14, 4 to 5 p.m. Space is limited — first come, first served!
Academy Café (San Polo 3401). Stop by this annual favorite for lively discussion with the most experienced experts in your favorite subspecialties.
- Just for YOs: “Developing YOur Cataract Practice” on Saturday, Nov. 14, 1:30 to 2:45 p.m. Join a conversation about the challenges facing young cataract surgeons. Bring your smartphone to text questions to the expert panel!
3. Connect With Industry Professionals
If you’re interested in meeting hundreds of industry vendors and product representatives, spend some time at the AAO 2015 exhibition — the largest of its kind in the world.
It’s open Saturday, Nov. 14, through Monday, Nov. 16, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Tuesday, Nov. 17, from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Plan your visit in advance with the Virtual Exhibition. You can search for exhibitors by company name, booth number and product category.
4. Connect With Coding Experts
While on the exhibit floor, you can get expert answers to your coding questions. Stop by the Coding Booth located in the Academy Resource Center (Hall B, Booth 2632).
5. Connect With Classmates
AAO 2015 is also a great place to catch up with classmates. Nearly 200 alumni and related groups (PDF) will meet during the annual meeting.
Connect Virtually Anywhere
Even if you can’t make it to Las Vegas, you can follow the annual meeting and connect with your colleagues online.
- The Academy’s Facebook page is where you’ll find the latest pictures, news and community feedback from the meeting.
- On Twitter, use the official #aao2015 hashtag and follow @aao_ophth for real-time updates and info about all of the impromptu gatherings. For all things YO-related, follow the #aaoyo hashtag.
- Watch and discuss 20 hours of AAO 2015 sessions with the free Virtual Meeting. Virtual moderators will lead conversation during the livestream. If you can’t watch live, sessions will also be archived online until Feb. 15. Sign up to participate and see all sessions included in the live stream.
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About the author: Mike Mott is a former assistant editor for EyeNet Magazine and contributing writer for YO Info.