Arthur Kavanaugh, MD: Rheumatology Winter Clinical Symposium

Arthur Kavanaugh, MD, discusses the Rheumatology Winter Clinical Symposium, which runs from February 16 – 19.

Rheumatology Network interviewed Arthur Kavanaugh, MD, about the Rheumatology Winter Clinical Symposium, which runs from February 16 – 19.

Rheumatology Network: Can you give me a bit of background and information on this year’s Rheumatology Winter Clinical Symposium (RWCS)?

Arthur Kavanaugh, MD: This is going to be RWCS’s 15th year. And the idea was to have a medical meeting where there could be a collegial interaction and more discussion of the important topics. I think they're good scientific meetings where primary data is presented, like the American College of Rheumatology (ACR), where people present a bunch of abstracts. There are also small local meetings, but they’re going to be shorter, and you can't really do much. And so the idea was to have a meeting where you could have a presentation of the newest information, which of course is always important, but also to have a format. So it wasn’t a “talking head” expert going on for an hour on a topic and then a different expert going on for another hour on a different topic. They're short lectures, discussion format, with lots of time for questioning and a mixture of topics to keep things lively. You can't have 7 hours of education without losing people. This is our 15th year of doing it and I think it's going to be the best year yet.

RN: What are you most looking forward to in the upcoming symposium?

AK: One of my favorite sayings is that “all of us are smarter than any of us.” So, one of the best things about going to a meeting like this is getting to chat with colleagues. People raise questions, people talk about individual case experiences, etc. The learning is not just on lectures and data from someone who read it and is just presenting it, but, and that's important as well, but really, these are the interactions that are just fascinating. They drive additional clinical questions and they provide individual experience in ways that data from randomized controlled clinical trials will be able to enrich itself. That part is always the most fun for me. And that's definitely something I look forward to. Probably the thing I look most forward to is chatting about this with colleagues, because everybody always learns.

The fun of being a rheumatologist is that there's not cookie cutter answers for very many of our clinical problems. I still do internal medicine and truly amazing that there are whole areas of internal medicine or clinical questions in internal medicine where it's very algorithmic. So, you almost need a doctor's input to know, for example, what's the right choice for sequencing drugs in an alcohol withdrawal for treating diabetic ketoacidosis. But in rheumatology, we don't have that. So we need to have the ability to kind of think outside the box. And the more we're able to discuss with colleagues, I think the better we do.

RN: Is there anything else that you'd like our audience to know?

AK: There’s still time to attend the RWCS! For those who can't attend in person, we have a hybrid option, but I'm very encouraged that right now we have a really robust live audience. We've also got a sizable virtual audience. And we worked hard to make the virtual platform good and I think it's one of the best virtual platforms. So, for people who just don't have the time or can't make it to the meeting itself, go ahead and participate online. I encourage everyone to come on down.