How far AMPHL has come. As a newly minted medical student, I remember walking into the hotel lobby for AMPHL’s first conference in 2001, and immediately meeting two new friends who were likewise at the beginnings of their careers. That conference took place in a single room and lasted a day. Though I can’t remember the specific topics, we all knew they were relevant to us. The socializing afterwards helped us develop a nearly instant kinship, and that remains my personal favorite aspect of the organization to this day.
Fast forward to the last two conferences, each of which has seen 3-day-long meetings with three concurrent tracks, partnering with local and national organizations to promote businesses and advocacy. Presenters ranged from students to practicing professionals (many of whom were students when AMPHL began) to interpreters. Local students acted as a support team for organizers and presenters. Just walking around, one could see more than just presentations going on.
AMPHL’s meetings have evolved along with the organization. Look around at our next conference, and you will see amazing diversity among us. Some will focus on the spoken word, while others sign. And those languages are not limited to English and American Sign Language. Stethoscope questions, always a favorite topic, will touch on auditory adaptations as well as visual.
Keep watching, though. You’ll see old friends embrace one another, perhaps with children in hand. New friendships will form. Mentors and mentees will meet, possibly without having yet realized it. Colleagues will recognize the presence of communication differences and, as though following some undefined rule, agree to work together to understand one another. Someone will realize that challenges, ones they thought were theirs to bear alone, are shared and, in sharing, made solvable. Those challenges then become opportunities for personal growth, community outreach, scholarly enrichment, and leadership toward a shared vision, one in which our diversity allows us as clinicians and scientists to contribute to a stronger community.
Take a moment. Take it all in. Then, please, come in and join the great conversation.