CHEST Congress Thailand concluded in Bangkok last month with more than 1,000 attendees from 56 countries. Attendees heard experts speak on several clinical tracks, including lung cancer, severe airway disease, pulmonary infections, interventional pulmonary management, and sleep-related disordered breathing. Panel discussions were held covering controversial topics across pulmonary, critical care, and sleep medicine, and close to 400 submitted abstracts were presented. Registration continues to build for the next CHEST international meeting to be held in conjunction with the Hellenic Thoracic Society in Athens, Greece, June 25-27. This meeting will feature clinicians and academicians providing relevant clinical updates to providers throughout that region in more of a “board review-like” format.
Why is it so important that CHEST spread its brand of education to an international audience?
Clinicians are yearning for up-to-date information regardless of geography
Having the opportunity to visit with clinicians from Southeast Asia and Australia, it became clear to me that there is a need for high quality educational opportunities to be shared across the globe. Many attendees in Bangkok had never had the opportunity to attend a CHEST annual meeting within North America; their exposure to state-of-the-art reviews using interactive audience participation was a format that was clearly appreciated. Hands-on educational opportunities through simulation, as well as novel interactive tools such as serious gaming, were modalities not previously available to many attendees and the reviews received were overwhelmingly positive.
Access to cutting-edge training in certain areas in the world has become more limited
Resources for international travel have become more limited. Industry sponsorship in certain regions has dwindled and, for certain countries, the ability to access medical meetings within the United States or other areas in Europe or North America has become burdensome, if not logistically impossible. Bringing the CHEST brand of education to members and other practicing providers outside North America within the represented specialties has allowed access to experts and the most effective formats for education without extended travel and excess cost.
Smaller international meetings allow for more tailored curricula designed to meet local needs
The ability to build the curriculum around specific requests of a national society has allowed for a more focused educational platform designed to meet the needs of what regional leaders feel is the most critical for the highest prevalence of patients seen in that specific area. The international strategy of CHEST calls for an annual congress outside of North America and at least one smaller “board review-type” meeting in a different region elsewhere across the world each academic year. Co-hosting more meetings will not only help address unmet educational needs outside of the United States and Canada but also extend our reach to participants who may not have otherwise had the ability to participate in the CHEST brand of education. During multiple sessions, there were literally dozens of questions for which there was time to address each in real time. The panel discussions were lively, well-moderated, and also stimulated multiple questions and comments from the audience.