Annual Conference Brings More Learning with a Dose of Fun

This year’s premier event for addiction medicine specialists has been revamped with exciting changes in format and structure to provide learning in a more interactive, casual, and fun environment. During the newly named Annual Conference—formerly the ASAM Medical Scientific Conference—you’ll take in the latest innovations and scientific developments in more than 60 hours of educational content, but you also are certain to have fun with your friends and colleagues.


Michael Fingerhood, MD, FACP

Beginning a year ago, planners set out to update the program, said Annual Conference Program Committee Chair Michael Fingerhood, MD, FACP.

“By making the education sessions shorter in duration than previous years, we have been able to offer more options and create more hands-on, interactive programming to build knowledge and skills,” said Dr. Fingerhood, Associate Professor of Medicine and Chair of the Division of Chemical Dependency at Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, Maryland.

A not-to-be-missed highlight is the Opening Scientific Plenary from 8:30 to 10 am Friday in Governors Ballroom A-C, Fourth Floor. This dynamic event features three special guests—George Koob, PhD, National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) Director and the ASAM R. Brinkley Smithers Distinguished Scientist Award Winner; Michael Botticelli, Director of the Office of National Drug Control Policy; and Former U.S. Representative Patrick Kennedy, Founder of the Kennedy Forum. ASAM President Stuart Gitlow, MD, MPH, MBA, will lead the Opening Scientific Plenary, which also will include ASAM award winners, leaders in the addiction medicine field, a welcome to Austin from TXSAM Chapter President Jason Powers, MD, and a special recap of the Shatterproof Challenge from CEO Gary Mendell.

The interactive nature of this year’s conference also translates into several mentorship and networking opportunities. During registration, longtime ASAM members will be on hand to pair younger members with those who are more tenured. Also see below for several refreshment breaks, lunches, and evening events to network with colleagues.

ASAM is teaming up with three federal agencies and one international organization in four Collaborative Sessions. Look for two on Saturday—one with the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration and the other with the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA). On Sunday, the NIAAA will offer one session, while the International Society of Addiction Medicine and NIDA will offer another.

During and after the conference, you can expand your learning in two ways. With the new e-Learning Center, view past presentations and simplify the CME certificate process. With the conference mobile app, access all the presentations on your Apple iOS, Anroid, or Kindle device.

“It is important for ASAM to have these collaborations so we can work together to advance our knowledge, awareness, and, with hope, funding for addiction treatment. We all need each other,” Dr. Fingerhood said.

The fun kicked off Thursday when about 70 determined individuals rappelled 22 stories down the side of the Hilton Austin Hotel to raise funds and public awareness in the field of addiction medicine. The daylong event was followed by the Exhibit Hall Welcome Reception and Meet & Eat Dutch Treat Dinners, which return Saturday evening. Check out other fun events planned for the remainder of the week below. To register for any of the fun events listed below, be sure to use the bulletin boards located adjacent to the ASAM registration table.


  • 6 to 7 am: Morning Fun Walk/Run, Hilton Austin, Lobby

Join your colleagues and kick off the day with an energizing walk or run of your choice. Guides will lead participants around designated routes. Interested participants should sign up on site near ASAM Registration. 

  • 6 to 7 am: Morning Yoga/Mediation, Hilton Austin, 8th Floor Pool Deck

Join your colleagues for a morning of downward dogs and warrior poses. All levels are welcome—from novice to advanced (mats will be provided). Interested participants should sign up on site near ASAM Registration. Classes will be limited to 40 participants (first-come, first-served).

  • 10 to 10:30 am: Refreshment Break in the Exhibit Hall, Austin Grand Ballroom, Sixth Floor
  • Noon to 2 pm: Lunch in the Exhibit Hall, Austin Grand Ballroom, Sixth Floor
  • 3 to 4 pm: Ice Cream Novelties & Networking Reception, Exhibit Hall

Visit with exhibitors while sampling a selection of ice cream novelties.

  • 5:30 to 7:30 pm: The ASAM Rodeo Reception, Foyer, Sixth Floor

Put on your blue jeans, and grab your boots and 10-gallon hat. Kick up your heels and enjoy a down-home Texas reception while showing off your best dance steps. Get ready to have a rip roarin’ time with good music, good food, and good fun.


  • 6 to 7 am: Morning Fun Walk/Run, Hilton Austin, Lobby

See above for details.

  • 6 to 7 am: Morning Yoga/Mediation, Room 412, Fourth Floor

See above for details.

  • 7 to 8 am: Continental Breakfast, Governors Ballroom AB Foyer, Fourth Floor
  • 9:30 to 11 am: Refreshment Break in the Exhibit Hall, Austin Grand Ballroom, Sixth Floor
  • 12:30 to 2:30 pm: ASAM Awards Luncheon, Governors Ballroom A-C, Fourth Floor

$75 per person

Draw inspiration from the outstanding accomplishments presented by this year’s ASAM annual award winners and celebrate the 2014 Diplomates of ASAM. Those who wish to attend will need to purchase a ticket at Registration.

  • 1 to 2:30 pm: Brown Bag Lunch & Terrace Chat, Hilton Austin, 6th Floor Terrace

For those unable to attend the ASAM Annual Awards Luncheon, bring your brown bag lunch and chat with colleagues while enjoying the view and engaging in interesting conversation with peers to discuss whatever is on your mind.

  • 6 to 7:30 pm: Meet & Eat—Dutch Treat Dinners, Hilton Austin Lobby

Don’t dine alone—enjoy a casual Dutch Treat dinner with colleagues led by an ASAM Ambassador. Choose from a number of unique Austin eateries and different cuisines to meet new friends as you get a taste of the town. Interested participants should sign up on site near ASAM Registration. (Dinner is at your own cost—not covered by ASAM).

  • 8 to 10 pm: ASAM Movie Night—Featuring The Hungry Heart, Governors Ballroom E, Fourth Floor

The Hungry Heart provides an intimate look at the often hidden world of prescription drug abuse through the world of Vermont pediatrician Fred Holmes, who works with patients struggling with this disease. Enjoy popcorn and refreshments as you watch the film and stay for a lively discussion following the movie with director and ASAM 2015 Media Award Winner, Bess O’Brien; special guest Raina Lowell, one of the women featured in the film; and ASAM moderators, Todd Mandell, MD, Northern New England Chapter President, and Geoffrey Kane, MD, MPH, FASAM, Chief of Addiction Services, Brattleboro Retreat.


  • 7 to 8 am: Continental Breakfast, Governors Ballroom Foyer, Fourth Floor
  • 9:30 to 10 am: Refreshment Break, Governors Ballroom Foyer, Fourth Floor