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Family medicine symposiums offer the latest in medicine, research

February 19, 2019

Dr. Kellerman at the 2016 Family Medicine winter symposium

Rick Kellerman, M.D., professor and chair of the Department of Family & Community Medicine at KU School of Medicine-Wichita, speaks during the 2016 Family & Community Medicine Winter Symposium. (file photo)

By Brian Whepley

Keeping up with advances and guidelines in medicine is a challenge for any practicing physician. It can be particularly challenging for family medicine physicians who see a broad range of conditions and patients from newborns to the elderly.

"The tough part about family med is there's so much you need to know," said Aron Fast, M.D., who along with his wife, Annie, practices in Hesston as part of a six-doctor practice with offices there and in Inman, Moundridge and McPherson. "Sometimes you think you know a lot about the topic, but the science and guidelines can change, and you need to unlearn some things as well."

Fast began attending the KUSM-Wichita Department of Family & Community Medicine Winter Symposium while a medical student. Since entering practice about a decade ago, he's attended winter symposiums and spring ones as well. From sessions, he's taken away and put into practice pertinent information about colon cancer screening and care of chronic diabetes, among other topics.

"The winter symposium is the best CME that I go to every year," Fast said.

The winter symposiums last two days, a Friday and Saturday in December, and typically feature up a varied lineup of as many as 20 sessions. The shorter spring events, held on a Friday in April, typically have a specific focus, with this year's being geriatrics. About 150 physicians usually attend each spring and about 200 each winter.

Both provide cost-effective, in-person continuing education. With the upcoming spring one - eight sessions encompassing lectures, presentations and case studies - a physician can earn up to seven CME credits for $100 (KUSM-Wichita residents and medical students attend for free). Rows of research presentation displays

"The symposiums allow us to bring in national experts who have new ways of thinking and new ideas," said Rick Kellerman, M.D., chair of the Department of Family & Community Medicine. The winter symposium began in 1980 and the spring one in 1989, and both provide resident physicians an opportunity to present case studies before a comfortable but discerning audience.

Grant funding helps defray their cost, Kellerman said. The Delos V. Smith Senior Citizens Foundation - named for the actor who appeared in "One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest" and many other productions but later returned to his hometown of Hutchinson - is sponsoring three lectures this spring as part of its mission of supporting geriatric care.

Ruth Weber, M.D., a KU School of Medicine-Wichita family medicine residency graduate now on the teaching faculty at the Medical University of South Carolina, will present two sessions in April, and Rebecca Wester, M.D., a family physician on the teaching staff of the University of Nebraska, will present several others. A longtime faculty member at the KU-sponsored Wesley family residency program, Weber moved to South Carolina two years ago and continues to teach residents and focus on geriatric medicine.

Weber said that, when attending such symposiums, the "concrete sequential thinker" in her likes to come away with information she can apply right away.

One of Weber's sessions will cover a common condition among older patients, urinary tract infections, while discussing how they are readily misdiagnosed, especially among those with dementia, and the result is overprescribing of antibiotics. Weber will also discuss the Beers Criteria, a tool for preventing drug interactions in the elderly, and recent changes in that guideline. She'll also cover other, similar tools used in the U.S. and worldwide.

The goal is to present the type of information that she would like to know, information that can make a doctor say, "Oh, I didn't know that or, wow, this is something I could change in my practice."

Learn more:

The KUSM-Wichita Department of Family & Community Medicine Spring Symposium will be Friday, April 5. To learn more or to sign up, go to the Spring Symposium page.

KU School of Medicine-Wichita
Last modified: Feb 27, 2019
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