Really Virtual or Virtually Real: Trainee Welcome Reception A Huge Success!

Shobana Rajan, MD
Chair, Trainee Engagement Committee

Tumul Chowdhury, MD, DM

Member, Trainee Engagement Committee

Trainee engagement is a matter of priority for SNACC. Rendering a warm welcome to our trainees and introducing SNACC and its mission and vision have become an inevitable culture and norm. While it is easier to conduct a welcome reception with everyone present physically, doing it virtually with the same vigor and enthusiasm imposed a tough challenge. While many live events were canceled, the Board of Directors and Executive Committee of SNACC felt that this session should not be missed. Hence, the Trainee Engagement Committee set up a task force to brainstorm and produce a creative and interactive event.

The members of the task force were Drs. Shobana Rajan, Tumul Chowdhury, Indranil Chakraborty, Verghese Cherian, Adele Budiansky, Eman Nada, and Jacqueline Morano. The task force decided not only to introduce trainees to SNACC and its members, but to also connect them to the society's senior leaders. It was decided to run this session in two parts; a common general session followed by a special mentorship session.

Trainee Engagement Task Force

Session I began with a welcome speech by Dr. Shobana Rajan, Chair of the Trainee Engagement Committee. Dr. Deepak Sharma, the outgoing President, then welcomed and congratulated the trainees for their abstracts. Following this, Dr. Chanannait Paisansathan, the current President of SNACC, extended a very warm welcome to the trainees who would be the future leaders of our specialty.

To engage everyone, Drs. Shobana Rajan, Tumul Chowdhury, and Adele Budiansky hosted a fun quiz for all attendees, with questions related to SNACC’s history and neurosciences. Interestingly, these were all played virtually. This was well received with a lot of cheers and enthusiasm. Big smiles and laughter were experienced throughout.

In the second half of the session, trainees were assigned to meet with senior leaders of SNACC - Drs. Michael Todd, Deborah Culley, Martin Smith, Monica Vavilava, Audree Bendo, Andrew Kofke, and Jeffery Pasternak. Each of the mentors had their own chat room and trainees were granted access into each of these chat rooms for one-on-one conversation. Members from the Trainee Engagement Committee played a crucial role in facilitating and moderating these sessions. Overall, this session turned out to be a great success. Looking forward to welcoming you all next year hopefully in person!


1st Session: Trainee Engagement Welcome Activities
“Since we all could not gather for a reception together in person, I was very grateful for the opportunity to connect in this session with other Fellows (and trainees) from around the world. It was a nice casual way to have a brief introduction to everyone. There was a very informal (but competitive) quiz for all to participate in and I think broke the ice really well.” 

Tariq Esmail, Fellow
University Health Network
Toronto Western Hospital, Canada

2nd Session: Trainee Engagement Session with SNACC Past Presidents and Thought Leaders Breakout Rooms

"What a really cool concept! Having limited experience with breakout rooms on virtual platforms, this feature of being able to talk with and ask questions to the past presidents and thought leaders was an opportunity like none other. It isn't often you get the opportunity to hop from one room to the next and have a casual chat about anything with one of these people. I had the opportunity to travel the world in half an hour, connecting with and picking the brains of incredible leaders in a field I am new to. This was not only a neat experience but very motivational at the beginning of my career. I would come back to this session again next year!” 

Tariq Esmail, Fellow
University Health Network,
Toronto Western Hospital, Canada

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