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North American Cystic Fibrosis Conference 2022

Updated: Nov 18, 2022

We're very excited to have a new blog post from Dr Natalie Francis! She has kindly written about her experience at the North American Cystic Fibrosis Conference 2022...

"One of the big perks for me of research was attending conferences. The chance to meet with like-minded people, to hear your idols speak about their work, and to discuss your own ideas with those who share your interests and passions. It’s a pretty attractive prospect... throw in the chance to travel, and I am there!

I have been very lucky in undertaking my PhD in an established department with a long history of undertaking a lot of research, so we are regularly encouraged to submit work to meetings and conferences. I have therefore had the privilege of attending two international cystic fibrosis conferences this year – the European CF conference (ECFS) in Rotterdam, and the North American conference (NACFC) in Philadelphia.

Submitting an abstract is a nerve-wracking thing because your work will be scrutinized by a panel of the top people in our field, and it may get rejected. However, I would encourage everyone to give it a go. Whether it’s a novel research project, a clinical trial, an audit, or a quality improvement project/service review, there is a place for all these things in a conference.

The North American Cystic Fibrosis Conference is the largest cystic fibrosis meeting in the world. Five thousand people attend to share their work and ideas, and to hear about the latest developments. This is a fantastic opportunity to learn and develop your own practice, and to discuss your own ideas.

I attended the conference with two consultants from the department (one of whom is my supervisor), two other clinical research fellows from the department, a physiotherapist and dietician from the MDT team. The whole MDT is encouraged to submit abstracts to both national and international conferences. If we are lucky enough to have our work accepted, we are allowed to attend the conference on the proviso that we then feed back to the rest of the department on the sessions that we attended, so that everyone can learn from the experience.

The conference was held in a (VERY) large convention centre in Philadelphia, and the four day event comprised of various different education and networking sessions including:

1. Posters

2. Lectures

3. Round table sessions

4. Thematic poster sessions

5. Quick fire question sessions

6. Group discussions

7. Prizes

8. Socials

Various working groups and large clinical trials also held meetings for their group members to meet face to face.

I managed to achieve all my goals whilst I was there. I presented a poster and had many encouraging discussions about my work, and ongoing projects. I met people from America and Europe who are working in the same field and discussed future work with them, and my research was mentioned by one American Physician/Researcher in her presentation. I also had the honour of meeting my idol, who is a huge inspiration to me (I am unashamed to say that a bit of fangirling went on). I supported my colleagues whilst they were presenting their work too (it can be intimidating so it’s nice to spot a friendly face in the audience!).

Another important thing about conferences, is the opportunity to spend time with your colleagues outside of work, to get to know them better and to strengthen those team bonds. We also made sure to squeeze in a little bit of touristy stuff, and all went to a basketball game together!

I cannot encourage you enough to give it a go, and to submit something to a conference too. It doesn’t have to just be research; if you have put the effort into a good quality audit/service review/quality improvement project, then you deserve to have your work acknowledged. And you never know where it may lead!"


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