The annual conference for the American Association of Diabetes Educators (AADE) is coming up this month in Baltimore, Maryland. It will be five days packed with poster presentations, education sessions and product information geared toward CDEs practicing around the country, with an expected turn out of 3,000 attendees.
We sat down with Joanne Rinker MS, RD, CDE, LDN, FAADE, AADE’s director of practice and content development to find out what suggestions she has for people attending the conference this year. Having attended the conference for 15 years now, she has a pointer or two for new attendees.
Tips for Attending AADE for the First Time
Rinker encourages people to attend all of the evening events. In her experience, it’s these sessions that give you a chance to meet educators from around the country. “We’d share challenges, successes and in the end, e-mail addresses,” she shares. “It’s the best networking opportunity and the friends that you make at the annual conference are friends you’ll look forward to seeing again, all year. It’s like making a friend at camp, as a kid!” she adds.
Rinker also suggests attendees be a part of the AADE mentor/mentee program. “It really helps to have a person that you can text and e-mail with before the meeting, meet up with for coffee or sit with at the general session,” she advises. This can be helpful because the conference has so much to offer and sometimes it helps to talk it through with another diabetes educator.
Another great tip from Rinker is to pack comfortable shoes. “There’s s a lot of walking and you want to be sure you keep your feet happy,” she says.
How Can Attendees Maximize Their Experience?
Rinker urges all attendees to download the AADE Mobile Event App. The app provides everything you need to navigate the meeting using your iPhone or Android device.
The app will help you plan your day, customize your meeting itinerary and even interact with other attendees. You can sync your app to your online planner schedule by going to settings and selecting “planner sync.”
“This is a great way to be prepared and not have to worry about trying to figure out where to go next when they are on site,” Rinker explains, “time is valuable once you get to the conference, so you want to have your itinerary all planned out!”
You can download the AADE 2018 app through your app store by searching “AADE18.”
Next to check out is the onsite meeting guide on the meeting website. “This can be another way to look through the schedule, speakers and session descriptions,” Rinker says.
The tracks and session speakers may help you decide which session is right for you. Lastly, Rinker encourages attendees to check out the poster session.
Presenters will be at their posters Friday-Sunday noon-1 p.m. so that you can ask questions. Rinker says this is a great way to meet people who are doing work similar to what you are doing.
The posters will also be set up by track, so you can head straight to your content area. “Take the time to wander around, you never know where your career will take you and you might learn something new that you want to try,” Rinker advises.
How Best to Navigate the Conference?
Rinker says thinking about which track of educational content is most important to each individual educator is an important way to tackle the conference.
For example, if there is an educator who is thinking about focusing on delaying diabetes and starting a diabetes prevention program, they would want to follow the Prevention/Delay Type 2 Diabetes Track.
This year, Rinker points out while organizing the session progression, the sessions were placed in an intentional order so that attending each session in any particular track would be sequential.
For example, if someone is interested in diabetes prevention, attendees will learn everything they need to know in order from start to finish about planning, implementing, sustaining and getting reimbursement for a diabetes prevention program.
“All our tracks are set up this way so that the education is in a sensible progression and to meet the needs of the educator in any stage of learning,” she adds.
Joanne Rinker, AADE
Resources for Those Who Cannot Attend?
For those who cannot attend the conference, many of the sessions will be available for purchase after the conference. They are already available for presale here.
This year, the focus of the conference will be on technology, population health and peer support, and will have hands-on DANA technology labs.
DANA is a new technology platform launching on August 6 that will be a one-stop shop for healthcare professionals to access product information and training, mobile app reviews and more.
“This will be an opportunity for diabetes educators to see, feel and test new devices (pumps, CGM, meters, insulin delivery devices, etc.) with assistance,” Rinker explains. “This is an interactive learning opportunity that we have never had before and it will be very popular,” she notes.
Rinker encourages attendees to visit the exhibit hall. “There will be a lot going on there, and many opportunities to learn something new,” she says.
Exhibitors will share new technology on the horizon, recently FDA-approved devices and more. In the exhibit hall, you’ll find additional special symposia, product theaters, cooking demos, the twitter lounge, educational, research and industry posters and even a place to grab some lunch.
“Enjoy and have fun,” Rinker says lastly. “The AADE annual conference for me is reuniting with my diabetes educator family. I can’t wait!”