A reflection on the 2016 NCSD Annual Meeting
This year I was selected to be one of the six Disease Intervention Specialists (DIS) to receive a scholarship to attend the 2016 Annual National Coalition of STD Directors (NCSD) Meeting held in Phoenix, Arizona.
I would like to extend my sincere thanks to the NCSD board of directors and to all the staff members that assisted with planning this year’s meeting. My experience being a first time attendee and one of the scholarship recipients was amazing and went well beyond my expectations. It has been a few weeks since my return and I continuously talk about my experience with my colleagues. My attendance at the meeting offered me the opportunity to network with STD program staff from many areas throughout the country. I was pleased to see that this year’s meeting had the largest number of DIS in attendance. It was encouraging to see the level of support that NCSD and the other national organizations are extending to DIS nationally. It was also great to hear about the activities planned to support the growth and professional development of DIS. Some of the most interesting included the DIS certification project and the exploration of a DIS society.
The NCSD meeting agenda was loaded with interesting topics that were geared to the great work that is done by a mass majority of attendees. Many sessions were tailor made to educate DIS and enhance the DIS skillset. Some of the sessions that made the greatest impact on me were “Syphilis through the Ages: An Update on Congenital and Ocular Syphilis, Tips and Tricks for Increasing Productivity and Efficiency in DIS Work, and Beyond the Clinic Walls”. The information that I obtained from these sessions will enhance my interviewing skills, allow me to provide more detailed information to patients and providers, and have a better understanding on the use of the data that DIS work so hard to collect. Attending these sessions allowed me to understand the rationale behind the additional activities that have been assigned to DIS in recent years. I am encouraged and enthused about undertaking these new projects. The sessions also provided me with additional resources that will allow me to expand my knowledge at a later time and at my own pace.
Being a new member of NCSD and a first time attendee has been an honor and a pleasure. My NCSD membership has allowed me the opportunity to have access to the weekly updates, connections with STD professionals that are a phone call away and the tools to access what’s current in STD research and prevention.