Four Perfect Days at the 2011 ASCP Annual Meeting
Before the plane touches down on the runway, you glimpse the shimmering towers of a city that appeals to pathologists and laboratory professionals alike. Las Vegas draws the young and the old, the rich and the comfortable, the restless and the intrepid, with its spinning roulette wheels, multicolored fountains, splendid showgirls, agile circus acrobats, and gondola rides along a Venetian-style Grand Canal.
The soaring hotels rise along the strip like an alternative universe embracing glamorous cities—New York, Hollywood, Rio de Janeiro, Venice. Inside rich tapestries float across beds with soft pillows. Disciples of Dionysus, chefs serve you internationally and nationally inspired delicacies. Amid these pleasurable choices, you find yourself with four days to experience the best in Las Vegas at the five-star Venetian-Palazzo Resort Hotel Casinos and the best in education at the 2011 ASCP Annual Meeting/World Association of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine (WASPaLM) XXVI World Congress, Oct. 19–22, 2011.
Day One: Keynote Address Takes Top Billing
As you enter the Venetian-Palazzo Hotel, you experience the appeal of vaulted ceilings resplendent with Baroque frescoes and sculpture combined with the modern efficiency of a staff that makes your needs their No. 1 priority. After you enter your hotel room with a bed as imposing and comfortable as a yacht and empty your suitcase into the spacious closet and drawers, you have just enough time for a dip in the pool reminiscent of an idyllic Venetian garden.
Changing into business attire, you attend the memorable Keynote Address from 6 to 7:30 p.m., which sets the tone for the entire 2011 ASCP Annual Meeting/WASPaLM XXVI World Congress.
Immediately following the exceptional Keynote Speech, the Grand Opening Reception captures the old-world charm of Venice. You catch up with friends and make new acquaintances among the 2,000 participants while sampling international delicacies and sipping champagne. Just before bed, you float down the Venetian Hotel's Grand Canal on a gondola.
Day Two: Renowned Humanitarian Dr. Paul Farmer Delivers Scientific Address
After a memorable Venetian espresso and flaky croissant from Grand Lux Café, you hear John Tomaszewski, MD, FASCP, ASCP President, deliver his presidential address, giving you more to consider about personalized medicine and evidence-based research. Reflecting upon how the pathology and laboratory medicine professions are changing, you visit Science Connection Central in the Exhibit Hall. The "Hands on the Future Learning Lab" gives you more knowledge about leading-edge laboratory tools. Afterward, you ponder the solution to the clinical case at Case-of-the-Day kiosk.
Next up is the scientific address by Paul Farmer, MD, PhD, who is dedicated to preventing diseases, providing access to health care, and improving patient outcomes in the poorest places on earth in countries such as Haiti, Peru, and Rwanda. Dr. Farmer and his colleagues at Partners in Health focus on community-based treatment strategies for infectious diseases that reflect his training as both a physician and anthropologist. You are inspired to take the next plane to Haiti, helping to care for patients at the community hospital this selfless, brilliant doctor has built and keeps expanding.
After attending several specialized sessions on topics ranging from personalized medicine to targeted drug therapy to flow cytometry, you're ready to join evening discussions at specialty hubs in the Exhibit Hall. After learning from your international and national peers, it's time to visit knowledgeable vendors in the exhibits. By now, you're longing for Asian cuisine and ready for a change of venue at the Tao restaurant in the Venetian Hotel. What a satisfying finish to another perfect day!
Day Three: Molecular Diagnostics is the New Frontier
Waking up early, you are primed to spend early morning listening to a distinguished panel of international experts and patient advocates provide their perspectives on the challenges and successes involved in establishing equal access to health care—with a focus on cervical cancer screening and treatment—in resource-limited areas. Next you spend three hours learning about molecular diagnostics. What you learn here will change the scope of your practice. It's important that you share these ideas with your colleagues right away, so they can understand why you are launching these innovations in the laboratory to improve patient outcomes.
In the early evening, you attend the Inaugural Address of incoming ASCP President C. Bruce Alexander, MD, FASCP, from University of Alabama at Birmingham. As a leader at ASCP, he is committed to helping you get a seat at the table on the healthcare team. As both an educator and practicing pathologist, Dr. Alexander shares his insights into how you can transform your practice.
Tonight you decide to try Emeril Lagasse's cuisine at Delmonico Steakhouse housed within the Venetian Hotel. The New Orleans-inspired menu calls to mind that vibrant city with its palatial two-story frame homes in the Garden District and winding narrow streets and fine musicians playing on virtually every block in the French Quarter. Afterward for fun, you play a few hands of Black Jack and take a few spins on the roulette wheel.
Day Four: Research Takes Center Stage
Starting the day at a roundtable breakfast with your peers, you are eager to take course offerings on digital pathology and an integrated approach to evaluating and reporting breast biopsy findings. Throughout the day, you view the posters that show leading-edge research in both pathology and laboratory medicine. In your mind, you rank the posters for the quality of their research.
In the early evening at the Closing Party, compare your choices for best posters with the judges' selections. Once the winners are announced, you can enjoy the special entertainment for the evening.
At dinner, you are joining new and old friends at the B & B Ristorante without leaving the Venetian Hotel. Based on the restaurant's award-winning menu from New York City, you savor every bite of salad, seafood pasta, and tiramisu. To extend the evening, you head over to the Tao Nightclub, sitting on the 40-foot terrace and viewing the dazzling Las Vegas strip one more time.
As you return to your room, it's hard not to feel that you have experienced the best in science and the best in entertainment over four perfect days at the 2011 ASCP Annual Meeting/WASPaLM XXVI World Congress.