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Conference Review: Renal Biopsy in Medical Diseases of the Kidneys

Posted Aug 05 2012 12:00am
I'm not a huge conference goer.   I've been to ASN a few times and have made a brief appearance at the Advanced Nephrology for the Consultant down in San Diego but otherwise haven't seen much of the conference circuit.  But when I got the Columbia flyer for the Renal Biopsy in Medical Diseases of the Kidneys a few years ago I knew it was going to be something I'd have to eventually check out.  It features the core of the GN clinical and pathology brain trust lecturing on what they know best: what GNs look like and how to manage them.  Falk and Jennete on ANCA, Appel and D'Agati on SLE, Rennke on, well, anything.  So this summer I finally got myself organized and funded and took the trip out to Manhattan to see the show.

First, a few general comments.  Staying in Manhattan is expensive.  Like $400 a night expensive.  The conference had a block of rooms reserved at hotel called the Lucerne for $200 a night.  I procrastinated and called the hotel after the deadline listed in the flyer and was politely told that all the rooms were gone and I could now book one for $440 a night if I was interested.  I declined and luckily had a family member take mercy on me and allowed me to stay with them on short notice.  If that hadn't come through I was ready to book a room through Airbnb  which, if you haven't used it, is a cool site where you can find locals renting out space in their homes for cheap.

Second, it is hot and humid in Manhattan in the summer. Crazy hot. Bring wardrobe accordingly. I scuttled between air conditioning on the subway, lecture hall and my hosts place the whole week (I know, soft Californian behavior).

Third, take advantage and see Manhattan. I channeled my inner intern and skimped on sleep to hit the conference then experience the city.  Well worth it.

As for the conference it is certainly one of the best I've ever been to.  It's truly education focused, the talks are given in series rather than parallel like some of the big conferences so you're never at risk for missing anything.  The speakers are, for the most part, amazingly clear and avoid the common sin of nerding out on their own particular pet projects but rather focus on big picture relevance.

It's fun watching the older and younger members of the team interact as they clearly like each other and have a great back and forth.  You also get a sense of how some of the younger faculty like Glenn Markowitz, Andrew Bomback and Leal Herlitz are coming into their own and making their marks on the GN world.

The group aren't afraid to give their opinions when it gets to the grey areas.  Who doesn't want to hear how Gerry Appel manages not so clear cut cases of Lupus Nephritis?

Lots of path slides, which for those like myself about to take boards, is great review.  The faculty clearly take pride in their lectures and are up-to-date current in their lectures with recent literature incorporated.  Lots of interested cases discussed.  Very nice syllabus with all slides included.  If they want to kick up their game they could go for online access to high res versions of the path slides - though many of them you can find in the recent NephSap renal path edition.

My inner intern unfortunately caught up with me on the last day and I missed Saturday morning and had to catch a flight out before the path and case workshops in the afternoon.

My only gripe would be the daily supplied lunch - terrible.  I bailed and braved the heat to find something good to eat, which was actually a lot of fun.  All in all a wonderful conference that I highly recommend.  I kept up a pretty good twitter feed of pearls from the first three days of lectures which you can check out here .



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