Article Date: 10/1/2013

Upfront
UPFRONT

Ready for Prime Time

Phil, you ignorant slut.

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Peter K. Kaiser, MD

Paul Tornambe, MD

Borrowing heavily from Dan Aykroyd and Saturday Night Live, and with tongue firmly in cheek, Dr. Tornambe uttered these words in response to Phil Rosenfeld, MD, in a debate about macular degeneration treatment at one of the first Retinal Physician Symposiums.

It is this type of friendly banter among the faculty, and more importantly the audience, that makes RPS one of my favorite meetings of the year (Note: I am the program director).

Most retina meetings are an endless parade of didactic lectures with little or no time to question the presenters and even less time for the audience to tell them what they thought of the presentation or how it would fit into their practice.

RPS is different. Each lecture is scheduled for 20-30 minutes, but the presenters only gets half that time for their slides (and in many instances are stopped midtalk). Those of you who have attended RPS know what comes next.

The rest of the time is spent Phil Donahue style, with moderators walking around the audience asking questions and guiding debate. No one is safe in the audience, and by the end of the meeting, everyone is actively participating.

The international participants add an extremely valuable view and often bring up points of which we never even thought. There is no question that these “debates” after each presentation are the best part of the meeting, and they are what make the faculty ask to come back year after year.

In another memorable moment, George Yancopoulos, MD, PhD, a brilliant physician and chief medical officer of Regeneron, (see “Innovation in Retina,” page 14), got into a debate about the conclusions of the CATT study. George is a quick study, and his understanding of the retina space is profound. What followed can only be described as legendary, with the audience, faculty, and George all weighing in.

Many have told me that this CATT debate was one of the most enlightening that they have ever witnessed. Similar discussions surround surgical videos and cases discussions. As everyone thinks they know the right way to do surgery, the debates often uncover new ways to do things and/or debunk others. Because a cocktail reception usually accompanies the end of the day, we can all relax, reconnect, and reflect on the days’ talks.

Next year marks the 10th anniversary of RPS, and we are heading to Washington, DC, for the first time, from May 16 to 18. I am looking forward to the presentations, debates, and camaraderie in our nation’s capital. Hope to see you there.

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Retinal Physician, Volume: 10 , Issue: October 2013, page(s): 7