By Brandiann Cornell
For medical practitioners, trade shows are a source of vital industry information and a chance to mingle with like-minded folks inside—and outside—of their field.
They’re an opportunity to earn essential CME credits, but they’re also so much more than that. For many, they are a chance to get out of their element, visit new surroundings, forge new relationships, and socialize with their favorite vendors.
Here is our round-up of the best functional medicine trade shows in 2019. Grab a pen and mark your calendars—we can’t wait to see you there!
Integrative Health Care Symposium (IHS)
Come see us every year in Midtown, NY for three exciting days of events. This conference features 46 speakers and includes a smattering of CME events, as well as non-CME events, so medical professionals needing credits will have the chance to snap them up.
The nice thing about the IHS is you don’t need to work a tract to attend and you gain CME credits. You can attend the conference and earn your credits without the pressure of finishing a course and becoming IHS certified. You’ll be able to sit in on topics that interest you, and there are a lot of them. IHS is known for covering a broad range of topics, so you can leave your fear of learning the same subject over and over again at the door.
The Integrative Health Care Symposium is the place for diversified learning and big-name speakers. Over the years, speakers such as Dr. Axe, Deepak Chopra, and Mark Hyman have contributed their wisdom to the IHS.
Beyond the learning opportunity, the conference also features book signings by influential authors in the health realm and evening receptions, offering you the opportunity to connect with your peers. If you’re in the Northeastern U.S., this is the conference for you.
American Academy of Anti-Aging Medicine (A4M)
The A4M holds two conferences every year featuring CME and non-CME events. In partnership with the Metabolic Medical Institute (MMI), the A4M is dedicated to promoting education, and their conferences tend to be extremely informative. To top it off, they have accreditation through the George Washington Institute.
If you’re seeking to become board certified, this is your opportunity. The A4M offers weight management certification, a peptide certification, and advanced injectable certification, all on an international certification level. Being A4M certified is an accreditation that you can use to further increase your credibility in the medical field.
You can also expect highly qualified specialists speaking on a broad range of topics that affect the medical industry as a whole. Founded by Robert Goldman and Ronald Klatz, this conference attracts the likes of Hank Garrett (known for his role as Officer Nielson on Car 54) and Dean Cain, ironically known as Superman.
The greatest perk of the A4M conferences is that they’re held at the same locations every year. This is a significant bonus for medical practitioners seeking a consistent schedule. Each year, they hold a conference in Florida and one in Las Vegas, making it convenient for those seeking to attend one of the largest medical conferences available, in terms of both exhibit hall size and presence.
Institute for Functional Medicine (IFM)
The IFM conferences offer practitioners the unique opportunity to become a certified functional medicine doctor. They hold one large annual conference featuring bite-sized modules that enable attendees to follow different tracts in functional, holistic healing. This conference sees plenty of medical practitioners who might have started out in conventional Western medicine but are looking to branch out into the implementation of supplements over prescriptions.
For those seeking varied paths of learning, the IFM also offers a variety of smaller, more focused modules throughout the year. The benefit of this is multiple touchpoints. Unlike conferences that only conjugate once or twice a year, IFM offers practitioners the opportunity to stay connected. IFM also offers different modules throughout the year, giving practitioners similar opportunities.
The location of the IFM conference changes annually which, unlike the A4M conference, may be a benefit for adventure-seekers.The IFM conference also does an excellent job of creating networking opportunities for attendees. The conference-closing gala is a great chance for practitioners to connect with like-minded industry experts over cocktails and live music.
Smaller Conferences with Big Takeaways
While we have covered the larger functional medicine conferences, the Annual Association for Naturopathic Physicians (AANP) specifically targets naturopathic doctors. The AANP is a fun conference, keeping attendees busy with courses throughout the day and plenty of networking opportunities for naturopathic physicians to connect during the evening.
Held this year in Portland, Oregon, 2019 marks the 100th anniversary of naturopathic licensure in the United States, so you can bet that this will be a special event.
Another conference worth noting is THE NATIONAL by Florida Chiropractic Association, Inc held in Orlando, Florida. This four-day event is a huge opportunity for chiropractors across the country to learn all about what’s new in the industry.
Building Connections Through Functional Medicine Trade Shows
Before deciding which conferences to attend, be sure to check conference schedules for their offerings. These are typically posted well in advance and will give you an idea of what kind of knowledge you will be taking away from each conference. Certain trade shows will offer a broad range of topics, while others will be focused on certain practitioners. Some trade shows will also be certification specific, so if you’re seeking a specific tract, you may want to narrow your focus to conferences offering certifications within those areas.
While CME credits are a focus of these trade shows, they are not by any means the only reason to attend. There are plenty of online opportunities for health practitioners to earn their CME credits online, but an in-person event allows practitioners to connect with like-minded individuals who are likely facing the same struggles within their industries.
These conferences offer the opportunity to learn something new and be exposed to changes within your industry, but they’re also a chance to break out of your comfort zone. You’re being given the opportunity to expand your knowledge while exploring a different part of your country and encountering new experiences. Be sure to soak up every minute of it!