Black Round Spectacle Framed View of the British Society of Oral and Maxillofacial Pathologist (BSOMP) 2019 Annual Scientific Conference, Dublin, Ireland
Dr. Oluyori Adegun (University College London Hospitals (UCLH), London)
Another year, another BSOMP annual scientific conference and another constellation of the finest crop of Dental and Medical doctors who ply their trade in the speciality of Oral and Maxillofacial/Head and Neck/ Ear, Nose and Throat (ENT) Pathology.
Far away from Sheffield in the English county of South Yorkshire (the home of the 2018 conference), the 2019 conference took place in the mitotically active city of Dublin, Ireland (this catch phrase coming from Dr Brendan Conn, Edinburgh). A significant majority of the attendees were travelling from the United Kingdom, a non-European Union (EU) country (did I just say non-EU – sorry, Brexit had not happened at the time of conference, PHEW! A sigh of relief I am sure for Dr. Esther O’Regan and Dr. Mary Toner (Dublin), the local organisers of BSOMP 2019).
Depending on your pecking order in the society, BSOMP 2019 would have begun at different times and on different days.
For trainees from various parts of the world including the United Kingdom, Ireland, Scandinavia and Malaysia, the conference started with trainee teaching session on Wednesday, 24th April 2019, themed “Cutaneous and Soft Tissue Pathology of the Head and Neck” by Dr Niamh Leonard and Dr Clare D’Archy. Special thanks to both speakers for making the session case-based and practical, allowing for acquisition of transferable knowledge and skills translatable to daily practice.
For President of the BSOMP, Dr Bill Barrett, immediate past president, Dr Paula Farthing and other members of council including myself, the meeting also started on Wednesday, 24th April 2019, with a marathon session of presentations by various officers providing an update on the running of the society’s business. The local organising committee (LOC) for International Association of Oral Pathologist (IAOP) London 2020 represented by Professor Paul Speight and Professor Eddy Odell updated the council on ongoing plans (Yes, I am excited about the star studded line up of speakers and venue (OOPS!, wasn’t supposed to disclose that in this blog).
The conference formally started on Thursday, 25th April 2019, on the second floor of The Clayton Hotel, Burlington Road where registration took place. All registrants received BSOMP 2019 themed conference bags filled with plenty of goodies (Flahavan’s Irish Oaty flapjacks, Jelly Belly beans, oaty cereal snacks, pens, writing pads, maps and even ferrous sulphate tablets (Hmmm!). Special thanks to the sponsors for their generosity and for those with stands at the event of which there was more than a handful.
Goodies in the BSOMP 2019 BAG (Photo- Lisette Martin)
After registration, there were a series of research presentations from a broad range of topics ranging from targeting specific cancer signalling pathways, exploring how oral microbes may influence cancer progression to exploring links between oral and cervical Human papilloma virus (HPV) and assessing trainee competency. We also heard from the world of non-invasive imaging modalities in the diagnosis of oral cancer (always fascinating to see how the custodians (pathologist) of the gold standard technique, histopathology, respond to novel complementary diagnostic tools). Special thanks and well done to Dr Jenny Graham (Leeds) and Dr James Brown (Edinburgh), both BSOMP trainee members, for presenting some of their interesting research findings. There were also over 40 posters split between 2 viewing rooms showcasing a broad range of clinical/research work and case series/reports presented by dental undergraduates, Dental Core Trainees (DCTs) and Specialist Trainee Registrars (STRs).
Professor Adrienne Flanagan (Photo- Lisette Martin)
Lunch was one of the highlights for me, not for food reasons, but for networking (yeah right! If you believe that …………) and was presented in a buffet style with a variety to choose from, followed by a choice of tea or coffee offered and served at table side by Hotel staff (Hmmm! How very Posh?). This was followed by the Keynote addresses by Professor Daniel Kelly and Professor Adrienne Flanagan on the topic of bone pathology, both of whom explored in great detail their experimental and diagnostics escapades spanning over many years (thought I knew the names of nearly all bone tumours, until Professor Flanagan mentioned BAPomas, I shall definitely be reading this up in the coming weeks and months).
Professor Daniel Kelly (Photo- Lisette Martin)
Breaking away from conference tradition and again special thanks to the local organisers for incorporating an important but understated topic in the line-up of keynote addresses, Micheal Comyn presented a talk titled “Emotional Intelligence for Improved Wellbeing and Better Relationships”. His talk was centred on strategies for combating stress, maintaining good mental health and building resilience using simple but proven measures like sleeping early and for at least 8 hours daily (really!), avoiding coffee and excessive screen time before bed (presumed impossible in the Netflix and Amazon Prime era) etc. Michael also recommended reading “Why Zebras Don’t Get Ulcers by Robert Sapolsky” as a guide to stress, stress related diseases and coping. I, for one, will definitely be reading this book (right! when? “I can’t deal with this, I am stressed already!).
Dinner was held at The Hampton Hotel, Donnybrook with entertainment provided by the Irish House Party. The event kicked off with presentation of awards by the President. Special commendation to all the prize winners and, of course, to our own Dr Robert Kennedy (London), for their hard work. One of the highlights for me at the dinner was having a glass of Irish Guinness Stout (difficult to justify visiting Dublin without having this special beverage, sorry alcoholic drink……………….. (definitely not tipsy yet!). Food was great (three course dinner) and there was plenty to drink, Dublin again delivered on this front.
Well yes that was all for the night, time to go to bed, of course NOT!, how could I not mention the entertainment by the Irish House Party, I certainly didn’t or haven’t forgotten as I am finding it really challenging to get that “Bob Dylan” song out of my head, despite it being two weeks post conference (help!). Their performance, I am sure you will all agree, was very entertaining. Sadly, there were no takers for their invitation to the dance floor (we just weren’t ….. enough at the time). The tapping sounds from the young lady’s foot work still echo in my head; that performance was EPIC (Dr Amrita Jay and Dr Reshma Agrawal (London), would certainly understand the context of the word “EPIC”).
The Irish House Party at BSOMP 2019 Conference Dinner