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Benjamin Chavez, PharmD, BCPP, BCACP
Associate Professor
Treasurer – CPNP Board

It’s that time of year when you begin to think about attending this year’s CPNP Annual Meeting, April 22-25 in Indianapolis! Trust me, you’re going to be glad you decided to attend! Sometimes it can be hard to figure out how to exactly make the best of your time at the jam-packed Annual Meeting. I’m hoping this article can help to give you some tips to make the most out your Annual Meeting experience.

First, let’s talk about what makes the CPNP Annual Meeting a unique experience. One of our greatest attributes is the relatively small size of the meeting at approximately 800 attendees. This makes approaching national experts and leaders, as well as residency directors in the field, much easier than at other meetings. I encourage you to seek out people you have been wanting to meet when you see them at the poster sessions or another networking event. Our senior members are approachable and want to make this meeting rewarding for everyone involved. I also encourage you to attend the Forum on Our Future, which is a great way to network with senior members of the organization and provide input into the future of CPNP. Poster sessions offer another great opportunity to meet new people. The poster directory provided to you electronically prior to the meeting and in your conference program provides presenters’ names allowing you will find the person you want to speak to at a set time and place. The poster directory is also a great way to see what topics are being presented at the poster session. I recommend scanning the titles of the posters and prioritizing a visit to ones that pique your interest. 

Being a smaller, intimate meeting also means that the programming is tailored for you! Every year the programming committee does an excellent job selecting programming to fit our members’ needs. This includes having a wide range of programming to fit your practice area and interests within psychiatric and neurologic pharmacy. I encourage you to attend as many sessions as you can, especially the Ready, Set, BCPP segment during the Resident Programming Track to learn about becoming board certified. These educational opportunities can help improve your practice and to network with new people. I encourage you to say hi to your neighbor to your left and to your right! They might be new to the meeting as well!

The last suggestion to make the most of your CPNP Annual Meeting experience is to take advantage of opportunities provided to you by the Ideas Exchange sessions. Idea Exchange sessions consist of Discussion Dens which are planned and hosted by CPNP Communities. Discussion Den topics are chosen based on what is most relevant to the profession at the time; therefore topics will not be announced until we are closer to the meeting. Watch for an announcement on Discussion Den topics and attend one to help increase your knowledge on these vital issues facing our profession. Idea exchange sessions also include award platform presentations. These 15-minute presentations allow you to learn more about developments in the field that you may be able to apply to your own practice setting. There is also a Resident Community Meeting on Sunday evening. Don’t let the late start time dissuade you from attending, as this small and intimate gathering can be an ideal place to meet others who are in the same career position as yourself. Even if you don’t feel like you have much to contribute to the conversation, you may still learn something just from listening!

I hope this has been a good primer on how to make the most out of your Annual Meeting experience. I can’t emphasize enough how approachable everyone is at this meeting. Once you are registered for the meeting and gain access to meeting resources, I encourage you to scan the list of attendees and poster presenters to make a list of people you want to potentially meet. Also, make sure to look at the schedule ahead of time and plan what you want to attend to maximize your time in Indianapolis. I hope you meet some new colleagues and/or reconnect with old friends! 

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