A Message From the STFM Program Committee Chair

By Mike Malone, MD, Program Committee Chair

On behalf of the STFM Program Committee, I wish to thank everyone who provided feedback on our 2024 STFM Annual Spring Conference. We carefully review all feedback to make adjustments and changes for future conferences. In the spirit of transparency, we would like to share some additional information with you about conference planning and respond to some of the reoccurring comments from you.

Why aren't there more meals/snacks/refreshments available throughout the meeting day?

We do make every effort to provide meals/snacks/refreshments for conference attendees to enjoy and would love to be able to offer these items in unlimited amounts all day long. However, it is not financially possible without significantly raising the conference registration. Banquet pricing is much higher than what you would pay for the same items for household use. To give you some perspective, here is the pricing of a few items for a conference:

  • Gallon of Coffee/Tea: $150
  • Soda: $8 each
  • Continental Breakfast: $60
  • Granola bar: $7 each
  • Boxed lunch: $67

Where does my conference registration fee go?

The majority of revenue received from conference registration fees are used to pay the expenses of running a conference, including food and beverage, AV, conference app, and plenary speaker fees. STFM also relies on net revenue from conferences to support other missions of the organization. STFM has a $6 million operating budget, and revenue from membership brings in about $1.5 million. That means STFM needs to make up the difference in other non-dues revenue generating activities like conferences, journal advertising, subscription-based services to pay for other important expenses and initiatives like staff salaries, rent, IT infrastructure, advocacy efforts, our journals, and other key programs that don’t have a charge.

How does STFM choose conference locations?

The STFM Annual Spring Conference locations are booked about five years in advance. Our venue options are limited due to conference size and the large amount of meeting space we require. Our STFM staff work hard to remain educated about properties around the country that bring the best value for the cost, and we negotiate the best contracts possible with hotels, including room rates, reduced food and beverage prices, complimentary meeting room space, and more. STFM also consciously rotates the location of the conference between central, east coast, and west coast.

Why did STFM add an “open/wellness afternoon” to the conference schedule?

STFM recognizes the importance of wellness and self-care for our attendees/members. Wellness is a critical part of preventing burnout and maintaining quality patient care. We wanted to provide intentional scheduled time during the conference, as many attendees note they would utilize this any time for wellness without building it into the conference schedule. STFM has also worked to arrange service activities, meetings, and networking opportunities during this time, for those who wish to remain engaged in STFM activities during the wellness afternoon.

The wellness day did not impact the overall length or number of the days in the conference schedule. STFM made multiple adjustments to the conference schedule to be able to offer a wellness afternoon without extending the conference and while continuing to offer the same number of CME hours. The Program Committee will continue to review feedback on this programming and will make changes for future years as needed.

What is STFM doing to make the conference more inclusive/accessible?

STFM staff and the Program Committee are constantly looking for ways to improve the inclusiveness and accessibility at our conferences. Currently, we have added captioning for all mainstage presentations and we are researching options to expand this for our breakout sessions as well. We include a “special accommodations” question on all registration forms. We then utilized the data collected on the registration forms to reach out to those attendees in need to make prior arrangements, so they are able to attend and participate in all sessions.

STFM staff are currently researching opportunities to offer additional CEU hours specific to our non-physician attendees. The next STFM strategic plan will also include objectives and tactics related to this topic.

Thank you again for attending the STFM Annual Spring Conference, continuing to complete your conference evaluations, and providing this valuable feedback. If you have any questions or comments, please reach out to STFM’s Director of Conferences Melissa Abuel, CMP, at

Mike Malone, MD, Tidelands Health

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