By: Rafael Pelayo, MD
Thank you to all of you that attended our annual meeting in Sacramento. For those of you who did not make it, you really missed a great time. Please do yourself a favor and don’t miss another one. This year was one of my favorite CSS meetings and I have heard from many attendees who felt the same. Planning for these meetings does take the support staff and our volunteer board a full year. The lion share of the work is done by Leigh Gallagher of Xenicus. She also puts together this newsletter. So please thank her, we would be in a lot of trouble without her steady hand.
As the date of the meeting approaches, of course, we deal with a dozen loose ends and can never really know how the meeting will turn out. As we get into the final week of preparation, for me at least, I am reminded of that feeling when I was a young and was throwing a party. I would be anxious that nobody is going to come to the party despite knowing my friends always showed up. For me, it isn’t until I start to see people arriving at the CSS registration desk that the anxiety turns to excitement. If you have been around me and the other Board members at the CSS meeting it is obvious we are happy to be there with you. Our focus, once the meeting starts, is on the attendees to help them have a meaningful educational experience in a fun environment. Board member and Sacramento resident, Ryan Pierce, personally curated and circulated a list of his favorite restaurants, music venues, and activities for families with children. We coordinated with our generous vendors to have raffles throughout the meeting of prizes they donated. (Signed copies of one of my books served as consolation prizes!)
This year, we had the most trainees present. Not only did some of my fellows from the Stanford Sleep Medicine program attend, but trainees from several other clinical programs were with us. In particular, we had several dentists and orthodontics trainees in attendance. For years, our Board has struggled with how to increase the involvement of dentists in our meeting. We purposefully apply and offer continued education credits for dentists. I believe we got closer to our goal this year. We had a phenomenal lecture on use of oral appliances in neonates with Pierre Robin sequence by Dr. Hyeran Choo. She explained how she hand-makes customized tiny plates to allow these infants to thrive, a topic we never covered before. Another orthodontist, Dr. Audrey Yoon, shared with us her extensive experience with facial growth modification in children with sleep apnea. The work of both of them has been gaining international attention so we were very lucky to hear them speak at our meeting. With the election of Dr. Stanley Liu, MD, DSS to the CSS Board, I expect even greater participation by the professional dental community to our meeting. One of our goals when we plan this meeting is to give an opportunity to our audience to learn from fresh voices from our field. There were several first-time speakers at this meeting that I am hoping will return. For example, we had an enlightening talk amateur astronomer and circadian health activist Mr. Jay Pea on daylight savings. Our veteran speakers did not let us down, Dr. Richard Castriotta deftly discussed the pathophysiology of cardiovascular consequences of OSA. We were particularly honored to have Dr. Jennifer Martin, the President of the AASM speak to us. The AASM has consistently supported our meeting and provided us with internationally recognized speakers. There are several more highlights of the meeting that I could go on about. Please share with us your thoughts and comments about the meeting.
One of our worst fears as we plan the meeting is having unintentional last minute cancellations by any of the speakers. For this year’s meeting we had two speakers unexpectedly not be able to give their talks due to issues related to COVID with less than 24 hour notice. We had to scramble to get to those speaking spots filled so we could honor our original CME approved total credit hours. Fortunately, we did not panic and had two colleagues volunteer to give talks on very short notice. Special thanks must be given to Robyn Woidtke and Kathryn Hansen for stepping up to give these replacement lectures.
Things just seem to click at this hotel and location this year, especially considering it was our first time there. Vendors seemed particularly pleased with the layout of the hotel. The logistical flow allowed attendees to readily interact with the vendors and their exhibits. We did have some missteps, but they are the kind we can easily correct if we get to return there again for a meeting. Ideally, I would have liked more participation from the State government since we were in their neighborhood. Overall, I left thinking maybe we should have our meeting as an annual event in Sacramento every year and that way, eventually, get more exposure and interaction with our government leaders. Remember that the CSS arose from a need to address regulatory issues in the practice of sleep technologists in our State.
Our current plan is to have our 2023 meeting in San Diego. Meetings there have been well attended and you cannot beat the weather there in the Fall. I should mention that for the first time we have a newly elected Board member from the sleep health industry, Dr. Elie Gottlieb. Elie works at Sleep Score Lab in Carlsbad, a company in which I serve as an advisor. More importantly, Elie is based in the San Diego area. So, we can hopefully look forward to him also providing us with a curated list of his favorite places and activities in San Diego.
Thank you to all who participated in this year’s Board of Directors election process. A special thanks to those candidates who expressed interest in serving on the Board. I am happy to announce that Dr. Sam Kashani was reelected. As well, as mentioned above, Dr. Elie Gottlieb and Dr. Stanley Liu, MD, DDS were elected, and, we are so pleased to have Robyn Woidtke, MSN-Ed, RN, RPSGT, CCSH, FAAST back on the Board!
Other news to share with you as I end my term as CSS president is Patrick Moday, BBA, RPSGT, RST, CCSH, CCRC will begin his two-year term as our new president in January of 2023. The president elect for two years will be Dr. Sam Kashani. I look forward to working with them as I transition into a different role.
I want to express, on behalf of the CSS Board, our sincere gratitude to outgoing Board members Dr. Said Mostafavi and Dr. Josh Roland. Board service is the toughest volunteer role, and both of you took on your Board duties with dedication, grace, and seriousness.
Finally, I must give my heartfelt appreciation and love for Dr. Anoop Karippot for his 10 years of volunteer service at CSS. As the outgoing past president, he helped me countless times with his guidance. I know I would have messed up several times if it wasn’t for his advice. Please join me in thanking him for his service to our Society.