I want to take a moment to thank everyone who made our 13th annual National Organization of Rheumatology Manager (NORM) Conference in Tampa, FL, a huge success. Some say it takes a village, and our annual conference is no exception.
Actually, it took several teams of dedicated individuals to orchestrate this event. First, I would like to thank our conference committee, who spent countless hours choosing just the right speakers and agenda to make this a wonderful learning and networking experience for all of our members. Second, I want to thank our corporate members, sponsors, and exhibitors who showed their enthusiasm for rheumatology in the support they gave, including decorating their booths to highlight their “Hidden Treasures.” I also want to express my appreciation to members of the NORM board and the various committees who dedicated their time and talent to help make our new initiatives a reality. Their help with the Bootcamp for new managers, the American Academy of Professional Coders’ continuing education units, the Certified in Healthcare Research Compliance certification program, and the Circle of Knowledge was invaluable!
I am sure that most of you remember that Hurricane Florence pushed its way through Wilmington, NC—the hub of preparation for the conference—in September 2018, which gave us all cause for worry. However, in spite of all the hurdles, NORM’s Administrative Director, Tammy Bulger, pulled the conference together seamlessly with the help of her amazing team. Therefore, I want to give special recognition to “Tammy’s Crew,” including Ginny, Bryce, Austin, Andrew, Alyssa, and Chelsea, who not only supported NORM’s efforts throughout the year with social media coverage, the creation of conference materials, and much more, but who worked tirelessly in the midst of very trying circumstances. I also want to thank the members of the NORM board who gladly pitched in during this crisis. That is what NORM is all about—helping and supporting each other.
Finally, I would like to give a shout out to all of the conference attendees, whose energy and willingness to share their ideas and expertise throughout the event were amazing. I was walking through the conference hall and overheard someone say, “Who knew rheumatology could be fun?” It made me smile. Not only are NORM conferences about education, networking, and supporting advocacy, but they are about making new friends and colleagues that will enrich our lives for years to come.