Interview with Dr. Daniel Weiner, Program Chair for the 2016 Spring Clinical Meetings

scm2016The National Kidney Foundation’s 2016 Spring Clinical Meetings (SCM16) will be taking place in Boston, Massachusetts, from April 27 to May 1. This is the 25th anniversary of the conference and this year’s presentations are designed to convey the latest information about state-of-the-art care with the goal of improving outcomes for individuals with kidney disease. The featured keynote speaker is Atul Gawande, MD, who is a professor at Harvard Medical School, renowned surgeon and researcher, and author of Being Mortal and The Checklist Manifesto.

The AJKD Blog interviewed Dr. Daniel Weiner (DW), SCM16 Program Chair and Deputy Editor of AJKD, about the upcoming meeting.

AJKDblog: Can you describe in 10 words or less why you think kidney care professionals should attend the meeting?

DW:  Multidisciplinary, clinically oriented, spring in Boston, interesting and important topics

AJKDblog: How can attendees make the most of the meeting?

DW: The first thing I would say is to make it your meeting.  Choose to take in sessions that interest you but also step a bit out of your comfort zone and explore topics that may be less familiar – or even from different disciplines.  Partake in the interactive lunch talks, which are geared to the application of knowledge. Finally, we have a fantastic keynote speaker planned, Dr. Atul Gawande, whose talk should be a great view of our kidney disease and dialysis practices from someone who is a bit outside the nephrology community addressing ways we can improve patient care and patient safety.

The NKF Spring Clinical Meetings are a great opportunity to explore other disciplines in nephrology. If you are physician, check out what the dietitians or social workers are doing. If you are a dietician, go to the advanced care practitioner or physician sessions, and so on. The NKF meeting is one of the few meetings where this interdisciplinary approach is possible.

AJKDblog: What are you most excited for at the meeting?

DW: I’m excited for Dr. Gawande’s keynote address, which I think will be both eye opening and informative. I also think there are some really fascinating sessions. I’m also excited for a session addressing hot topics in nephrology, including a discussion about APOL1 and a talk on Mesoamerican nephropathy by experts in these fields.

Beyond the specific sessions, the Spring Clinicals are a fun and collegial meeting. There are times set-aside when everyone is in the conference halls, exploring the poster sessions and exhibits without competing with other ongoing sessions and talks.  You don’t feel like there’s something you may be missing at the same time. Overall, the Spring Clinicals just have a nice feel.

AJKDblog: What has been your favorite aspect of being Program Chair? How can someone get involved with helping to plan future meetings?

DW: Several things. I have enjoyed working with the National Kidney Foundation staff, who do a fantastic job putting together the meeting.  Specifically, Jessica Joseph, Danielle Nathan, and Rachel Skumanich are experts at putting together an outstanding conference. Second, the challenge of being the program chair is enjoyable – working with the co-chair, Dr. Dena Rifkin, to help the NKF put together a meeting, and trying to think about how you can vary up the content in such a way that at every point in time that something will always be interesting to an attendee. Finally, I have enjoyed working with the entire program committee to build sessions that will be more interactive, less didactic and more fluid.

For the last question, the planning committee is always open to new ideas.  At any time, you can send in ideas for sessions to the NKF.  Plenty of sessions have been suggested or sketched out by people who have attended prior year’s meetings. That’s a great place to start.


The early bird registration deadline for SCM16 is February 19 – register now to save! There are lower registration rates for fellows, residents, and students.


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