E. Chester Ridgway Trainee Conference Offers Full Conference Program For Over 400 Trainees From 35 Countries

The American Thyroid Association (ATA) proudly organized and hosted the 2nd Annual E. Chester Ridgway Trainee Conference (Ridgway), held during the 15th International Thyroid Congress (ITC) in October 2015. More than 400 trainees from 35 countries participated in the highly successful Ridgway Trainee Conference and 15th ITC. The newly developed Ridgway program, designed by the ATA Trainees and Career Advancement Committee, combined the previously separate ATA Trainees’ Track and Endocrine Fellows Conference. The program also included new components with the overall objective of advancing the trainee understanding of thyroid physiology, disease and treatment.

The E. Chester Ridgway Trainee Conference (Ridgway) was founded and championed for two decades by Dr. E. Chester "Chip" Ridgway, former ATA President, and mentor and friend to so many endocrinologists. The trainee conference is supported through ongoing contributions from colleagues, past fellow participants, and friends to this very important campaign honoring Chip’s memory and continuing his legacy. The Ridgway creates opportunities for trainees that have a lasting impact on their work and careers.   For several decades, the ATA has supported young investigators who are first authors on abstracts submitted to the annual meeting program.  The Trainees Track has matured over the past 10 years offering robust educational opportunities including interaction with many senior thyroid experts enthusiastically sharing knowledge and collegial experiences with clinical, basic, surgical and pediatric endocrine fellows.

The 2015 Ridgway Conference chairs Drs. Stephanie Fish, Andrew Gianoukakis, Theo Visser and Douglas Forrest constructed a trainee dedicated program that aimed to engage and nurture trainees through various mechanisms. The first day of the Ridgway offered sessions on the latest clinical and basic science research in thyroid disease accompanied by lunch round table discussions where trainees could meet and ask questions of the Ridgway presenters and leaders who have invested in the development of the early career program. Throughout the conference, the Ridgway sessions delivered practical lessons and resources for career development such as case discussion presentations, learning how to get published, and even an ultrasound lecture and practicum.  In addition to the educational aspect of the Ridgway, a key aim is involving the trainees in social events, which are just as important in fostering collaboration and collegiality amongst the trainees and with the leadership.  

Over 150 early career trainees from 20 countries were selected to participate in the Trainee Grant Program. The program provided funding to support the participation of fellows, residents, and medical and graduate students at the 15th ITC. These early career members are first authors on research and cases that were presented at the thyroid congress.  Over 300 of the 870 regular call abstracts noted that the first author was a trainee. A list of the 2015 Ridgway Grant Recipients can be found here http://www.thyroid.org/professionals/trainees-corner/trainee-recognition/

"We were excited and inspired to see our early career members participate in the Ridgway Conference and ITC and become involved in the ATA," says Antonio Bianco, MD, PhD, President of the American Thyroid Association and Professor of Medicine, Rush University, Chicago. "They bring new ideas and renewed energy and represent the next generation of potential leaders, and we encourage their continued attendance and participation."

Furthermore, as a part of the trainee conference the ATA Trainee and Career Advancement Committee hosted the 3rd Annual Trainee Poster Contest to recognize outstanding poster presentations by trainee authors.  New this year electronic posters were uploaded online in the first round prior to the meeting, with the 80 top-scored submissions then judged onsite. 15th ITC Sister Society members and leaders spoke to each of the presenters onsite and evaluated abstracts for scientific merit and presentation. The winning abstract posters are featured on the ATA Trainees’ Corner Website http://www.thyroid.org/professionals/trainees-corner/trainee-recognition/trainee-contest-winners/ and will be recognized in the ATA member electronic newsletter SIGNAL.