Virtual IDWeek – A First, and Memorable Experience

Dr. Jonathan Ryder, 2nd year UNMC ID fellow

by UNMC ID First Year Fellow Dr. Jonathan Ryder

My first experience with IDWeek was nothing like I expected it to be (given its virtual nature), yet it provided a fantastic experience, full of learning opportunities from the world’s experts. First, I will comment that we are fortunate at UNMC infectious diseases fellowship to be provided protected time to attend IDWeek as first year fellows. Being able to access a highly educational event pays dividends down the road by hearing from content experts and seeing previews of novel diagnostics and antibiotics.

IDWeek 2020 kicked off with Fellows’ Day, in which we were able to learn about how other fellows cope with the COVID-19 pandemic, how the job market is shaping up in these unprecedented circumstances, and listen to some truly unusual and challenging cases from other fellows. The next day of IDWeek included the 24-hours of COVID-19 Chasing The Sun event, a whirlwind of COVID-19 information. Listening to Dr. Fauci speak was an amazing opportunity as well as learning about summaries of treatment options and controversies of transmission routes.

The rest of the week allowed for attendance of sessions electively to our areas of interest. My favorite sessions were on infectious complications in people who use intravenous drugs, the risk of infective endocarditis in bacteremia, and AmpC beta-lactamases. UNMC’s own Dr. Mark Rupp gave an enthralling SHEA lectureship that is highly recommended. I spent a lot of time learning about staphylococcal bacteremia and endocarditis, as these were areas I have encountered frequent questions as a first year fellow.

Overall, IDWeek 2020 was a success, even with it being my first virtual conference. The sessions had amazing speakers with high yield content. The part that I missed out on the most was opportunities for networking, arguably the most valuable part of a conference. I wish I could have met future mentors and other ID fellows. However, I was quite impressed with the organization and efficiency of the virtual conference. I look forward to attending ID Week 2021 in San Diego (hopefully) next year!

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