An Apology

Dr. Jacob Schor, Speaker Selection Committee Chair, has been reading abstracts for weeks. There were about 130 submissions and about 20 will be selected. The optimist in him is thrilled by the number and quality of the abstract; the curmudgeon is letting out a big sigh, wondering when it will all be over. . .

There are a number of you reading this that I want to apologize to in advance. Many of you submitted abstracts to speak at the AANP's 2013 Conference at Keystone, Colorado. Many of you will receive form letters saying that you weren't selected to speak. I'm sorry. I hate this part of the job.

I've been reading abstracts for weeks. I forget how much time this takes. Our new committee members are in shock. There were about 130 submissions. In the end we will select about 20 of the abstracts.

While the optimist in me is totally thrilled by the number and quality of these abstracts, the curmudgeon in me is letting out a big sigh, wondering when it will be over and dreading the inevitable blowback from disappointed colleagues who we end up saying no to.

This is not easy and it breaks my heart to have to say no to any colleague who has raised their hand to volunteer to speak.


Thank goodness that this is a committee process and I don't have to take the blame for rejecting any particular speaker. It's our combined score and rankings that are the deciding factor in who is chosen. It's not up to me and as many of you who have sent in abstracts over the years know, I am quick to pass the buck and blame the committee, “Oh, I loved the abstract but some of the other committee members must have given it a low score.”


A large percentage of the submissions are really very good and selecting from them is difficult and probably hinges on trivial things that are unconscious and not fair. For example, one potential speaker has again sent us a photo that's crooked, as if the photographer was holding the camera at a 45-degree angle. As much as I love this submitter, I can't help but take a point off for that display of eccentricity. Or when people can't spell ‘naturopathic' correctly, another point comes off. (I'm reminded of stories about how colleges select their freshmen class by tossing the applications onto a staircase.)


While this creates a challenge for our committee members, it's a grand thing for all of you conference attendees. The committee gets to select from such a wide range of topics, we can bring together really interesting speakers: we get to presentations that will be the most relevant to your ongoing practice of naturopathic medicine. I find this somewhat akin to looking at a menu at a good restaurant, being really hungry and having to choose; it all looks good. (If one's stomach growls with hungry expectation of dinner, what does one's brain do in anticipation of an intellectual feast?)


We will keep you posted as we finalize the schedule in the coming weeks.


One other thing:

Registration is still open for the February 15, Oncology Conference put on by OncANP.  It's at a big resort hotel in Phoenix, they are not only discounting the rooms but they have promised to open the water park for conference attendees.
All of you are invited to come join us for a few days in the sun. For more info on the OncANP Conference
click here.