42nd Medical-Scientific Conference Opens

Stanley E. Gitlow, M.D., FASAM, reflects on the work and life of ASAM founder Ruth Fox during the Ruth Fox Course for Physicians Thursday.

Stanley E. Gitlow, M.D., FASAM, reflects on the work and life of ASAM founder Ruth Fox during the Ruth Fox Course for Physicians Thursday.

As the chair of the committee that planned ASAM’s 42nd Annual Medical-Scientific Conference, Gavin Bart, M.D., FASAM, knows the highlights of the coming days, but he said the conference itself is the greatest highlight.

“In general, the conference is a phenomenon because there really are no other opportunities for practitioners who deal with patients and families affected by addiction to gather in one place, exchange information and ideas, and network with each other,” he said.

Adding to the momentum of so many addiction professionals gathering is the place they are meeting — Washington, DC  — because health care reform remains a prominent issue in Congress.

“There is increased national attention to addiction and developments in mental health and addiction parity, as well as developments in health care reform that are really going to impact how addiction medicine is practiced. This can create an opportunity for addiction medicine to become more integrated into primary care,” Dr. Bart said.

The conference offers many individual highlights, he said, starting with the Opening Scientific Plenary and Distinguished Scientist Lecture Award, from 9 to 10:30 a.m. Friday in the International Ballroom on the Concourse level.

“The opening plenary brings us addresses from leaders at the National Institutes of Health and the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, as well as the Distinguished Scientist Lecture Award. These are the true leaders in the field who contributed to shaping how the field currently exists.”

Presenting the Distinguished Scientist Lecture, “Using Occam’s Razor on Dual Diagnosis,” is George E. Vaillant, M.D., professor at Harvard Medical School and director of research for the department of psychiatry, Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Boston. In his research, Dr. Vaillant has followed the drinking habits of a group of individuals for more than 60 years.

At the opposite end of the spectrum are Paper Sessions I and II, presented from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. and 3 to 5 p.m. in Georgetown East, on the Concourse level, Friday featuring the work of young researchers, Dr. Bart said.

Another session highlight is the ASAM Awards & ABAM Certification Recognition Luncheon, from 12:15 to 2 p.m. Saturday in the International Ballroom.

One new feature for conference attendees is that they are automatically registered for the ASAM Live Learning Center, giving them 24-hour online access for six months to videos of all sessions, starting three weeks after the conference. This access allows attendees to earn up to 51 continuing medical education credits from the conference.

And in the Exhibit Hall, open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Friday and 7 a.m. to 4:15 p.m. Saturday, attendees can see the educational offerings of dozens of vendors, further expanding the value of the conference, Dr. Bart said.