In this article an infectious diseases pharmacists discusses the MAD-ID conference, which is known as The Antimicrobial Stewardship Meeting, Making A Difference In Infectious Diseases (MAD-ID).
Authored by: Timothy P. Gauthier, Pharm.D., BCPS, BCIDP
Article Posted 16 May 2023
People practicing in the area of infectious diseases and antimicrobial stewardship have a lot of options for professional meetings to attend. IDweek and ECCMID are two very large meetings in this space which are favorites for me, but there is also SHEA, ASM Microbe, and CROI amongst many others. There are additional regional meetings like the Belmont Antimicrobial Stewardship meeting. Scroll to the bottom of this post for a list of infectious diseases meetings that have been sourced from Twitter.
The Making A Difference In Infectious Diseases (MAD-ID) meeting is one such option on the infectious diseases meetings menu. It has claimed the tag line “The Antimicrobial Stewardship Meeting.”
As someone who has attended MAD-ID several times including in 2010, 2022 and 2023, I thought it might be helpful to share here online 5 things to love about the MAD-ID conference.
1. Generating Ideas from Poster Session Conversations
This is not a conference with a huge quantity of research posters, but the quality of the work presented at MAD-ID is high. This meeting has maybe around 500 attendees in 2023 (best guess), so the relatively small group of folks meandering the poster hall makes for great small group discussions where people talk about how to apply ideas to their practice settings.
Many of the people here are pharmacists and many of us are continuously looking for medication use evaluation projects, research projects, or quality improvement projects. There are a lot of good projects that are presented at MAD-ID and later emerge as meaningful peer reviewed publications. The high concentration of great minds and topics leads to a lot of good ideas.
2. Putting Faces to Names and Making New Connections
In the virtual world we live in, it is pretty easy to make connections through social media with folks across great geographic distances (shout out to #IDtwitter). Part of the fun is getting to meet your existing virtual connections in real life (IRL). Part of the fun is saying hello and chatting with people who have been generating work you have used in your practice. Part of the fun is just seeing the people present after you have read their articles for years (or maybe even just the previous week!).
One example this year is I got to meet Dr. Lauri Hicks who was the keynote speaker this year. I have been following her work for many years. Every time I see her name on a paper I know it will be interesting to me. She is an amazing human and it was a real pleasure to be able to shake her hand and thank her for all she has contributed to the field. That was possible because of MAD-ID.
Making new connections is the other key human part of MAD-ID. Meeting at poster sessions, in the halls, or during meals, there are a lot of friendly people around with shared interests. Connections made at MAD-ID can be highly fruitful for personal and professional endeavors.
I had the chance to meet two pediatric infectious diseases pharmacists from Saudi Arabia for example, and that was pretty darn cool.
3. The MAD-ID Environment
To quote a MAD-ID communication: “Suggested attire for the 25th Annual MAD-ID Meeting is Resort/Smart Casual.”
The low-stress environment creates a friendly atmosphere to have relaxed conversations. This personable element to the conference is welcomed when many of us work in a fast-paced, high-stress workplace.
4. The Educational Sessions
Perusing the MAD-ID program there were hardly any sessions that were not of real interest to me as an infectious diseases and antimicrobial stewardship pharmacist. The thing I like about the approach here is that it is science-focused and evidence-based, but also practical and good for both junior and senior people working in the space.
All throughout the meeting there are a lot of nuggets to pick up as we gain a greater understanding of the important topics on the program.
5. The Location and Timing on the Calendar
As a Floridian it is fantastic to be able to drive a few hours to get here, but many attendees coming from afar have commented on how it is nice to get some sun on their face and spend time in the warm weather.
Apparently there is a location cycle change coming in ~2025 so the meeting may move after being in Orlando for decades. Next year it is in Orlando but at a different venue. I personally hope they stay in Florida, but time will tell.
If you look at the timing of the meeting being in May of each year, this corresponds well with resident and fellow training programs. The cadence with the residency year allows for opportunities to send research abstracts to MAD-ID. They even have a Fellows Forum before the meeting. To put it in perspective, for example IDweek is in October of each year and is less friendly for resident/fellow research work when these trainees commonly onboard in July of each year.
I think for students also, by this time of the year when they are gearing up for graduation or transitioning to the next year of their didactic training, MAD-ID might be a nice meeting to attend to explore the world of antimicrobial stewardship.
As junior and senior antimicrobial stewards weigh their options with which infectious diseases meetings to attend, for the aforementioned reasons I think MAD-ID is a great option.
Shout out to all the folks who put the time and effort in to make MAD-ID possible. It is a solid event that brings a lot of value to our community of antimicrobial stewards. I am grateful too to my primary employer for allowing me to go.
DISCLAIMER: The opinions and perspectives in this article reflect those of the author and are not necessarily reflective of the opinion or policy of any previous, current, or future employer.
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