Take It Outside

New 'Out and About' Assembly CME Draws Sell-out Crowds

October 29, 2014 04:13 pm David Mitchell Washington –

Family physician expert Jason Matuszak, M.D., covers a wide range of sports medicine topics, including concussions, neurocognitive assessments and return-to-play guidelines, during an Out and About CME session Oct. 22 at the Koshland Science Museum during the 2014 AAFP Assembly in Washington.

Have you ever traveled to a CME event and spent days on end languishing -- oops -- learning in convention center or hotel meeting rooms? At some point, you wished you could leave the meeting and go do something more fun in the host city, right?

What if you could go off-site, have fun AND earn CME?

Well, now you can. The Academy added Out and About -- off-site CME -- to its schedule for the 2014 AAFP Assembly, and the class quickly sold out. When a second session with room for 80 people was added to the slate, it also quickly filled to capacity.

The Out and About event featured up-to-date information about topics that have made plenty of headlines recently -- concussions and return-to-play guidelines -- and was presented by content expert Jason Matuszak, M.D., clinical assistant professor in the Department of Family Medicine at the University at Buffalo's Amherst, N.Y., campus. After a three-hour didactic session, which also covered neurocognitive assessments and musculoskeletal exam techniques, attendees embarked on self-guided tours of the Koshland Science Museum, which hosted the presentation.

Michele Clingenpeel, M.D., of Fort Collins, Colo., uses the Age Gain Now Empathy System -- or AGNES -- simulator at the Koshland Science Museum. The gesture-based system shows users the effects of aging by limiting their avatar's physical mobility.

"It's fun to mix it up a little," said participant David Jarvis, M.D., of Baraboo, Wis.

"The information on concussions was huge," said Jarvis, who volunteers as a team physician for his son's junior high hockey team. "Anytime anything happens on the rink, they call me," he added. "That's why I took the course, to stay up-to-date on this."

Tamara Lyday, D.O, a regional medical director who practices in a rural area where the nearest neurologist is 20 miles away, said the lecture was "fabulous" and much-needed.

"He (Matuszak) was a great lecturer," said Lyday, of Seymour, Wis. "The information on concussions was worth a whole day of lectures."

Elizabeth Slaymaker, M.D., of Pittsburgh, uses another gesture-based simulator that demonstrates the effects of aging.

Bernie Westerling, M.D., of Fitchburg, Mass., is a team physician for his local schools. When you're in that role, he said, it is vitally important to stay up-to-date on information about head injuries, in particular.

"You have to be current," said Westerling. "It's changing every year. I've been doing this since the 1980s. There wasn't the respect for the seriousness of concussions or the understanding of the injury. If a coach needed a player, they'd put them back in the game.

"They're putting more science into it now, not just the emotion of the game."

Westerling said it can be draining to stay at the same site day after day during a conference. He said he enjoyed the Koshland Science Museum's interactive displays, which cover topics such as climate change and aging.

Plus, he said, "My daughter lives here. I guarantee we'll be back."

Debra Geiger, D.O., of Newtown, Pa., uses a driving simulator that mimicks the effects of aging, including slowed reaction times.

Matuszak said he was drawn to the idea of an off-site session. A board member of the New York State AFP, Matuszak said his chapter has offered a preconference in conjunction with its winter meeting for three years during which attendees are allowed to tour the U.S. Olympic Training Center at Lake Placid, N.Y.

"People get a kick out of it," said Matuszak, who is a team physician for the Buffalo Bisons minor league baseball team. "It's been very popular. We get 40 to 50 physicians for the preconference, compared to 200 to 250 overall."

The AAFP's next annual event, which is being rebranded as FMX: Family Medicine Experience, will be Sept. 29-Oct. 3 in Denver.