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5 Ways to Get the Most Out of Your First National ACOFP Conference

posted Feb 27, 2017, 1:00 PM by Explore More   [ updated Feb 27, 2017, 1:06 PM ]
So it's your first big conference. What should you wear? Is it rude to introduce yourself to someone you don't know? Is it worth the money? Rightfully so, we students spend so much time worrying about grades and excelling in the classroom that we sometimes forget what matters most- personal interaction. Below is my advice for succeeding at our ACOFP convention, and other medical conferences you attend in the future. I drew from my own experiences as well as my conversations with several residents and attending physicians so YOU can make the most out of YOUR trip.

Pack For All Occasions, But Pack Light.
As a rule of thumb, ALWAYS wear business casual unless otherwise stated. Many conferences (especially ours) incorporates workshops covering OMM, joint injections, derm procedures and other clinical skills so be sure to bring a pair of scrubs just in case. Be sure to save room in your luggage because you will receive so much free stuff from medical companies and prospective residency programs throughout our conference too!

Do Your Homework.
"Do your research beforehand and try to remember one fact about people you plan to meet." says Anne Hutchinson, DO, Chief Family Medicine Resident and upcoming ACOFP Resident Governor from Virginia. Do you know who the President-Elect is? Do you know who represents your State? It's important to learn the big players in the organization, your State, and your school. Chances are you'll bump into someone you want to know or a prospective residency program director, will you know who they are?

Come Ready to Network.
"Don't be afraid of the big guys, they love students and want to engage them!" says Rebecca Lewis, DO, a family physician in Oklahoma. This year more than ever, we have opened up more time for students to network with fellow students, current residents and attending physicians. Bring business cards, and don't be afraid to say hello! You know the saying, "It's not what you, it's who you know."

Nail Your First Impression.
"Make this in bold...No limp noodle handshakes, you lose me right there!" says Sean Perrine, DO, a family physician and Future Leader for the ACOFP. Whether it's a fellow student or the President-Elect, engage them in conversation, be yourself, and don't try to impress. Especially for the older physicians you meet, if you've traveled out to convention and showing interest they will help you get involved and do what they can to make you succeed.

Don't Say No!
Every dedicated member of the ACOFP remembers when and how they first got involved, and it's because they never said no! There will be many opportunities to attend dinner, travel the local area or enjoy a beverage with someone you may not know. Take advantage as they will always tell you to pay-it-back to the aspiring students behind you. 

If you have any questions regarding our upcoming conference in Kissimmee or questions in general, please don't hesitate to reach out to me at

About the Author

Andrew P. Crow, OMS-IV and 2016-2017 ACOFP Student Governor attends the Lincoln Memorial University-DeBusk College of Osteopathic Medicine (LMU-DCOM) in Tennessee.