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young lady with pearl necklace in nature

“It’s hard to pick a favorite memory from my time at National Conference—from meeting with residency programs to the Expo Hall to Congress, and a personal favorite, the dancefloor at The Midland.”

Tisha Van Pelt, MD
2023 National Conference Resident Chair

National Conference is the perfect blend of advocacy and networking. A stadium full of residencies eager to connect, and a Congress with dedicated residents passionate about changing our world for the better.

When I was considering my specialty, I kept asking myself what I could live without. Could I give up Obstetrics? Nope. Pediatric? No way. Hospital? Absolutely not. And, of course, patient continuity was essential. Family medicine was the only answer. I’m so grateful a specialty exists that was made for people like me.

Once I knew where I was headed, I fully embraced the National Conference experience. I met some of my best friends there. We advocate for policy together and are inspired by the dedication and expertise we each bring to the table. These are not just colleagues, but lifelong friends. That’s how strong the networking is at National Conference.

In addition, this premier family medicine conference helped me navigate new opportunities by giving me a professional platform to discuss the pressing topics affecting medicine. It allowed me to learn and grow on topics I had never even considered before. This led to new opportunities and ways to engage.

I also learned about the power of testimony. Passion is contagious and this is never more strongly seen than during Resident and Student Congress. You can take a room full of strangers and make them allies with thoughtful dialogue. Nothing is more powerful than the community we create with each other.

I tell anyone who’ll listen to attend Congress, especially first timers. Congress is the best opportunity to learn from each other—let’s take advantage of the wealth of knowledge in each other. You can learn as you go, don’t be shy, and you’ll see how a small voice can make the greatest impact on policy. The AAFP is devoted to hearing our voices, so let’s show them how amazing they can be.

Resident Benefits


Refine your clinical skills through sessions designed specifically for you. Connect with colleagues and influence AAFP policy in Resident Congress.


Take advantage of dedicated time to meet with potential employers, learn about fellowships, and explore many post-residency opportunities.


Prepare to transition into practice by learning about resources on debt relief, employment contracts, and developing your CV.