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Why I Volunteered at the e-Health Conference (and Why You Should Too)

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Health Informatics (HI) is a practice that is still in its early days of establishing itself as a profession. The evolving nature of HI can be attributed to the wide range of expertise that currently exists within the field, and the diverse background HI emerging professionals bring as they transition from different fields and embark on their career post-graduation. Having recently completed my Master of Health Informatics (MHI) degree, I knew I had to make it my top priority to volunteer at Canada’s ONLY National e-Health Conference and Trade Show. By volunteering, I intended to engage with industry experts, learn about current trends in health information technology, and take the opportunity to share the knowledge and experience I gained throughout graduate school. One year later, I’m here to pay it forward, sharing the top three reasons for why you should volunteer at e-Health 2016.

Networking, networking, networking    

As a volunteer, you will be well positioned to network with both industry experts and other emerging HI professionals. Whether you are assigned to manage the registration desk (network central), monitor concurrent and plenary sessions or the Showcase Theatre, you will have the opportunity to grow your network exponentially. Personally, I found it very rewarding to meet other emerging health informatics professionals, who were enthusiastic about their projects and internships. In many cases, the connections I made were eager to provide insight into their journey and their experience working in the field. For some, the e-Health Conference serves as a venue to reconnect with past colleagues. Regardless of your intentions, this annual conference provides an opportunity to get to know the key players in the e-Health industry as well as the companies represented throughout the Tradeshow.

Continuing education

If you’re looking to explore new technology and learn about upcoming opportunities, lending your support as a concurrent and plenary session moderator can work to your benefit. Moderating sessions allows you to listen to presentations delivered by industry leaders and experts. Volunteers in the process of completing their degree can take advantage of this experience by engaging in the question and answer period, allowing them to explore potential ideas for their thesis and coursework. In this role, you will not only have the chance to learn from the educational sessions you support, but you will also have the opportunity to build your conference management and communication skills while volunteering.

Career Building

Last but not least, in return for the time you invest, you will be able to attend the full conference, which is a career-building opportunity in itself. For many of my colleagues, the whole aspect of being able to attend and experience the conference as an attendee was attractive. Admission to events such as the Hacking Health Design Challenge, the Opening Reception, and the Keynote Address allows you to situate yourself in an environment where industry experts will take interest in helping you develop your career. Whether you’re looking to jump into the industry or your next volunteer project, you can use the e-Health Conference as a creative outlet to brainstorm ideas for the next step in your career. Volunteering at the e-Health conference gives you an opportunity to satisfy your curiosity, broaden your horizons and further expand your knowledge in the field of Health Informatics, a dynamically changing industry.

Want to learn more about my experience volunteering at the e-Health Conference? Visit www.irinavoronin.com to contact me.