A message from our 2016 Devlin Scholarship Awardee – Anna Hilton, PA-S
I felt honored and fortunate to be chosen as the Devlin Scholarship Award Recipient for 2016 and those feelings grew throughout my extended weekend at the 2017 PAAV Conference. My name is Anna Hilton, I am a second year physician assistant student at Bryant University as well as a Vermont resident who plans to return to Vermont after graduating. Before attending this conference, I was not sure what to expect: education certainly, networking opportunities, hopefully, along with a much-needed break from the stresses of PA school while still continuing to engage in my education. As part of the award, I was invited to attend this conference with the stipulation that I tell you all about it. I am more than happy to do so and hope that by the end of my ramblings, you may feel the urge to come experience both the plethora of clinically useful medical knowledge as well as the mountain escape that Vermont offers.
The conference included brilliant educational sessions that covered everything from the minutia of sinusitis to the complexities of delirium. The speakers were top notch and brought energy to their presentations. I appreciated the many different forms that the sessions took. For example, Dr. Dachs and Dr. Higgins engaged in a meaningful back and forth about current literature, which made understanding statistics much less like an unexciting necessity, but rather a colorful and engaging conversation between friends. I also attended a forensics lecture by New Hampshire’s medical examiner which opened my eyes to another side of medicine: justice. His presentation made it abundantly clear that as providers, we can make mindful small changes to our practices to make a big difference for justice to be served for our patients as victims. Moving on in the day, at one point we briefly learned about planets and galaxies in a funny moment from our physicist, I mean, Otolaryngologist, Dr. Gosselin. His comic relief aside, the sinus lecture he gave was also just as informative. In the end, there were too many great lectures to fit into this small article, but I hope you believe me when I say they were high caliber and tricked me into learning useful medical knowledge while still being entertained.
While the educational aspects of the conference were incredible, the setting took it a step ahead. The Equinox Resort offered a cozy inn feel while still comfortably accommodating around 250 attendees. As a student, their wifi was great and much appreciated, as I somehow snuck this conference in the middle of a clinical rotation. The conference embraces its location. The hotel is set at the base of Mt. Equinox and nearby are Stratton and Bromley ski areas. Although I have yet to see the top of Mt. Equinox, since it sat in the clouds for the duration of my stay, that did not deter me or other conference attendees from getting out between sessions for adventures of choice; for me, that was some much-needed cross country skiing in the perfectly snowy mountain forests. This is something that I have missed since moving to Rhode Island for school.
As a student at the conference, it seemed that we were few and far between. Despite that, this conference was exceedingly student friendly, and the lack of other students I extrapolate may be due to the scheduling demands of PA school rather than the lure of the conference. Attendees of every variety were extremely welcoming and excited to engage with me as a student.  They were approachable and more than willing to share much appreciated insight, guidance and offers for locations for the many clinical rotations in my future. I hope more students read this and seek to fit this incredible conference into their busy schedules in the years to come. And as for the next Devlin Scholarship winner, my advice to you is to go all in for this conference, to learn loads from the lectures, even more from the other attendees, and to get perspective on your future profession that you have worked so hard to become a part of. If you are not convinced yet, student or professional, that this conference is worthwhile, please reach out to me or the other 250 attendees. So many experienced providers stated to me over and over that PAAV’s conferences are consistently the best they have attended, and after this experience, I cannot help but agree.