My Conference Experience: Behind the Scenes with Justin Dreyfuss, MS

March 17, 2023

Justin Dreyfuss is the Media Communications Manager at the ACGME, where his role includes managing the organization’s social media accounts, supporting the development of communication strategies and public relations efforts, and creating promotional materials. At the Annual Educational Conference, he helps cover sessions for the ACGME Blog, live tweets, takes photos during times that the conference’s professional photographer is covering other sessions, sets up interviews and coordinates with the videographer, and generally gathers the pulse of the conference to share with the graduate medical education community and the public at large. Mr. Dreyfuss joined the ACGME in 2021, so while he’s supported the organization’s efforts at the conference twice already, the 2023 conference was his first in-person event in this role. We asked him to share his experience.

ACGME: How did you find the in-person conference as compared to the virtual events we held the last two years, as far as your own personal experience and in terms of your role?

Obviously, networking is much more difficult virtually, so it was fun to see everyone excited to reconnect or meet new people and make plans for the future. Also, since most of the sessions were recorded ahead of time for the virtual conferences, it was very telling and interesting to get the feel of a room and see the reactions of the crowd as a live session took place.

ACGME: When do you begin preparing for the Annual Educational Conference?

Dreyfuss: Almost as soon as the previous one ends. We try to learn from the conference that just took place, positive and negative, figure out how to share takeaways and information with the public, and then begin on what to do for next year. It’s a yearlong cycle, with things like the Call for Sessions opening months in advance of registration, and then once registration opens, we’re working to disseminate information about the conference as it becomes available.

ACGME: What’s the hardest part of your job as relates to the conference?

The hardest part is figuring out how to take the wealth of information and incredible content and share it efficiently. There’s only so much time between when the schedule is set and the conference takes place, and we want to make sure everyone who may be interested in something happening at the conference hears about it and knows how to register and what the conference is like. The fun and challenging part is sharing the feeling of an enormous in-person event through a tweet or an email.

ACGME: What did you enjoy the most?

I enjoyed going to sessions on topics I don’t know as much about and trying to glean interesting information. There is always a stat or a story that I never imagined, and sharing that with the world via a tweet is fun.

ACGME: What was an average day like for you at the conference?

I begin the mornings making sure everything we have planned ahead of time is ready to go for social media posts and any photography needs I’m responsible for. Then it’s making sure I’m covering several sessions and moving quickly between rooms, so that even if I can’t be there for the whole session, I get a sense of the room and the subject matter. In the afternoon and evening, I’m making sure I haven’t missed sharing something that I made a note of during the day, and getting ready for the next morning.

ACGME: Anything you’re already thinking about doing or planning for differently for next year?

I’d really like to increase the multimedia aspect of the ACGME’s coverage of the conference—sharing more snippets of video or photos, interviews, and stories. We’ve been limited the last few years because of the COVID-19 pandemic, so it’s important to keep reminding people of what the conference actually looks like, and what the benefits are when you attend in person.

ACGME: What do you do after a conference is over?

Take a nap.