By: Melissa Roy, Co-Copy Editor [Graphics Focused]
DIA stands for Drug Information Association. It is an organization that strives to provide both educational and professional development opportunities for individuals working in pharmaceutical and medical product development-related fields, as well as a global, unbiased forum for the exchange of information across multiple disciplines of programming and publications.1 DIA was founded in 1964, and the 50th annual meeting was hosted this past June in San Diego, CA. The conference was held from June 15th to 19th and members gathered from all over the globe to contribute to the world of medicine.
As a student, I had the unique opportunity to attend this conference with access to all sessions at a fraction of the cost. We were given some guidance on sessions that might be of interest, but were told from the very beginning to take some chances and branch out. I took that advice to heart and tried a sprinkling of several tracks that were offered. There were over 21 tracks, from public policy to professional development and orphan diseases. Within the tracks there were over 260 sessions that you could attend over the course of four days. I felt that there were moments where the information provided were beyond my understanding; however, the way people were soaking up the information showcased how valuable the sessions were to the pharmaceutical world. For example, I attended an FDA session on new social media guidelines and wondered how the information could be important, but as they opened the session for Q&A I was amazed that there were a slew of questions to be answered.
These events are a great opportunity for students is to branch out and meet new people. The connections that you make today may become the link to an internship, or even a job, tomorrow. Professionals that attend these conferences are practically inaccessible otherwise, and the meeting provides students an opportunity to find mentors. Each connection, if utilized correctly, can become a stepping-stone.
While this conference was a wholesome educational experience, another major aspect of these conferences is the ability to visit a new city each time. This was my first trip to the West Coast. San Diego is a very welcoming city; we were greeted with signs that read, “San Diego welcomes attendees of the DIA Annual Meeting”. The city is reputed for perfect weather at all times and a gorgeous harbor, and is also known as “America’s Finest City”. San Diego’s nickname is aptly earned and I can’t wait for the next opportunity to return.
Many people asked me what I learned from attending this annual meeting. I gave everyone the same response- it wasn’t so much what I learned but what I experienced that was invaluable. This conference was great because of the total experience. It helped me build more confidence; both through the ability to travel to a new city and by allowing me to interact with people and form new relationships. I expanded my knowledge through the vast variety of information that was made available to me; which I have found useful in my work place and on rotations. Most importantly I simply grew, as a student, a future pharmacist, and a person through all of my experiences at this conference.
- About DIA. Drug Information Association Web site. 2014. Available at: https://www.diahome.org/en-US/About-DIA.aspx. Accessed August 2014.
[pubmed_related keyword1=”DIA” keyword2=”annual” keyword3=”meeting”]