ASM opening an event not to be missed

Organisers of the 35th Annual Scientific Meeting (ASM) are promising something special when FACEM Dr Michelle Johnston takes to the stage to welcome delegates on day one of the conference.

In a break with tradition it will be a politician-free zone, and instead Dr Johnston will bring her unique creativity and passion for emergency medicine when she opens the conference.

‘Doing something a little bit differently’

Dr Johnston has dedicated her career to finding that sweet spot between creativity and critical care medicine.

“I guess people ask me to do things when they want something done a little bit differently,” Dr Johnston says with a smile.

“There was the thought that perhaps we could somehow have a more creative opening ceremony, a ceremony that would be targeted not only just towards the theme of ‘On the Edge’ but an event to simultaneously make people think and to celebrate who we are right now and what ‘On the Edge’ can mean to different people.”

So, what does that all mean? What can people expect? Poetry? Video? Sound? Lighting?

“I have gone through a number of iterations, thinking how we can best celebrate ‘On the Edge’ and I have taken it very much as Perth being on the edge of the planet. I’ve often had this sense of us half tipping off the edge of the planet – perhaps no one would even notice,” Dr Johnston says.

“But on the other hand, being on the edge also means being on the forefront of a wave, and emergency medicine is on the edge, the emergency department is at the front of a hospital, we are often a group that embraces new technologies, edgy-type things, and I want to present that in a way that will be uplifting, to get us all excited about what is going to come over the week while also showcasing what Perth has to offer.

“So I have done something kind of crazy!

“I’m hoping it will be an audio-visual feast.

“There will be a story that perhaps people have not quite heard before, or in the way they’ve heard it told. Our story, and how we came to be where we are today.

“We will also have a magnificent Welcome to Country with Noongar Elder Barry McGuire, which I am extremely excited about. It will be a real highlight.”

Conferences, collaboration still relevant

Dr Johnston said despite the rise of online discussions and social media, events like the ASM were relevant and important as ever before.

“We need these meetings even more,” she said. ‘I think social media and the internet has in one way connected us but in another way has broken some bonds.

“Nothing takes the place of one on one meetings, of the spontaneity that comes with meeting people, mingling both academic and socially, and having the wonder of the unexpected that can only come when you are with a group of people with similar ideas and purpose.

“The Organising Committee for the ASM has been really interested in mixing things up and pushing boundaries, and that will be reflected in the program and the activities surrounding the conference.”