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HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Thousands of doctors are in Hawaii for a five-day meeting focusing on lung diseases.
While they are learning new medical techniques, they're also getting to know Hawaii at the event, simply known as CHEST 2011. It's the first time that the American College of Chest Physicians has held its annual convention in Hawaii, with about 6,000 members at the Hawaii Convention Center.
"For us, that's outstanding," said Dr. Kevin Chan, CHEST 2011 program chair. "Usually we run around the 5,000 range, so we're very excited."
The meeting has drawn mainly pulmonologists, or lung doctors, but there are also cardiologists and other health professionals from 78 countries, here to focus on lung diseases, such as asthma, COPD, tuberculosis and influenza.
The ACCP said Hawaii was attractive, drawing more delegates than usual, walking around Waikiki and the convention center area with distinctive bright green tote bags.
"We start some of the meetings so it starts a little earlier and ends a little earlier to allow for a lot of activities, family activity, and to enjoy your beautiful islands," Chan said.
The ACCP was founded in 1935, but it took until now for the organization to hold an event in Hawaii. "I will be honest with you. I was a little bit concerned about it because of the distance from, say the east coast of the United States, but we've been very pleasantly surprised," said Chan.
The American College of Chest Physicians is focused on education, but especially hands-on education.
"We are in the area of new technologies, both in the area of bronchoscopy and interventional bronchoscopy, and one of the big areas in this meeting is in simulation," said Dr. Doreen Addrizzo-Harris, CHEST 2011 co-chair. "A lot of the doctors in all of the different disciplines are learning new techniques in simulation, how to teach each other, how to teach trainees."
The meeting's simulation area takes up the entire Kalakaua Ballroom on the convention center's fourth floor. One of the simulators involves bronchoscopy, or using a small camera to examine the lungs. Dr. Momen Wahidi demonstrated a computerized simulator that could show different lung conditions, including the lungs of a 61 year-old smoker.
"I see here a lesion," Wahidi said as he guided a camera down the simulator, which showed the lungs on a computer screen in front of him. "This is not normal. This is plugging the airway. This is a tissue growth inside the airway, which is likely lung cancer."
Wahidi is one of the instructors in using the simulator. "Medicine increasingly wants to rely on simulation, and I think we should. It reduces the error and improves our skills," he said.
In another area, doctors learned how to use ultrasound, with real people acting as patients.
While the doctors are definitely doing business here, the convention's organizer also said the experience of coming to Hawaii has been positive.
"The minute you get off the plane, it's very well understood and easy to see why you would want to come here, and I'm really looking forward to coming back," said Chan.
The convention began on Saturday and will run through Wednesday. Members of the ACCP will also be conducting outreach visits to schools and other areas on Oahu.
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