3rd Annual Keweenaw Medical Conference

Annual Keweenaw Medical Conference

As I look out the window to blowing snow, overcast winter skies, and indirect sunshine, I know August seems like a long way away, but now is the time to start planning for the 3rd Annual Keweenaw Medical Conference in Copper Harbor, MI.  If your schedule is like mine, the CME request, call changes, clinic scheduling, meetings, travel plans, and more need to be planned well in advance to be able to participate in events like this.


Collaboration is the best description that comes to mind.  This is not a single-specialty conference that attracts many like-trained individuals with similar practice needs.  The best part of the conference is the collaboration between different subspecialty providers and primary care to develop new knowledge, viewpoints, and relationships.  We find that many of us have such tight schedules that we rarely have the opportunity to discuss new research or difficult clinical scenarios with many of the subspecialists that share patients with us/each other.  Lastly the future of improvements in health and healthcare is centered in the team approach, and this conference highlights a team-based approach.

If the medical reasons aren’t enough, maybe you just want a good excuse to take an end of the summer vacation to the Keweenaw Peninsula in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula with family or solo.  If you are not familiar with Michigan, make sure you check a map first, because this is a long way from Detroit…  There is a regional airport (Hancock – CMX) if you choose to fly.  Recreational opportunities are abundant in this region: mountain biking – IMBA certified Silver status, hiking, berry picking, gateway to Isle Royale National Park,  Fort Wilkins Historic State Park, kayaking, fishing, golf, off-roading, and others.


Collaboration is fostered by the various medical specialists that participate in the conference.  During the inaugural conference, there was a great interplay between a neurologist and cardiologist on ideas for regional treatment of strokes in our rural environment.  The cardiologist had pioneered the regional treatment of acute MI in our area over the preceding 30 years and had a lot to share. There are many similarities between the approach of both conditions when the “team” is considered: rural ED providers, transmitting EKG/CT scans, EMS transport, early treatment with “clot-busting drugs,” tertiary ED, etc.  There was also collaboration between neurology, anesthesia, and cardiology regarding stroke and stroke risk, atrial fibrillation, and procedural therapies for treatment of atrial fibrillation.

Last year there was a slightly different theme.  Dr. Richard Leach (Chair and Interim Chief for the Department of Women’s Health in the Spectrum Health Medical Group, and Professor and Department Chair of Obstetrics, Gynecology and Reproductive Biology at Michigan State University) was the guest speaker.  One of his lectures focused on epigenetics (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Epigenetics) which are the changes in expression of DNA, but not due to changes in the exact sequence of the DNA.  This topic dove-tailed into a later lecture by a gastroenterologist on the gut’s microbiome, and some of the epigenetics related to diet.

Lastly there is a strong pre-med student and medical student component.  They get the opportunity to learn and develop relationships with practicing physicians in many different specialties.  They also are exposed to many exiting new areas of research.

Where do I sign up for the Annual Keweenaw Medical Conference?

This is an excellent conference and a great excuse to explore the Copper Country for first-time or repeat visits.  The date of the conference is August 28-30th, 2015 at the Conference Center of the Keweenaw Mountain Lodge (http://atthelodge.com/).  The registration form will be available on the SuperiorMed.org website.  If you are unable to attend this year, but you are interested in sponsoring a pre-medical or medical student let us know.  If have any questions, feel free to contact me or the MAMCS board.  Also if you have attended and want to comment on your experience, please post!!!