DDW News


Pack Like a Pro: Don’t Forget These 5 Things for DDW®

Noor Syed, MD, is a current PGY-4 completing an autonomic neurology and neurogastroenterology fellowship at Stanford University. In July, she will start her general gastroenterology fellowship at the University of Michigan. Her goal is to practice as a GI motility and DGBI expert. Dr. Syed is a San Francisco Bay Area native of California and enjoys spending time outdoors, from hiking in the summer to skiing the Sierra Nevada in the winter. In her spare time, she enjoys experimenting with healthy twists on baking classics. You can connect with her at @noorannemd.
Noor Syed, MD

Whether this is your first Digestive Disease Week® (DDW) or your fifteenth, you’ll do well to follow these quick and practical packing tips and advice, and there may be something you hadn’t thought to bring.

1. Comfortable shoes: I cannot emphasize this enough. Do not make DDW the first time you’re wearing new shoes. This applies to you too, men. Break your shoes in early. Between the Exhibit Hall, poster sessions, talks taking place in every corner of the large convention center, and going to nearby hotels for networking events, there will be plenty of walking. Be sure to have shoes you know are comfortable. Do not hesitate to wear sneakers or athletic shoes with the rest of your business casual attire! I promise it is perfectly acceptable and practical. If you are presenting, pack a spare pair of casual shoes in your bag.

2. Clothing: Pack business casual attire that makes you feel your best. Pack a comfortable travel outfit and one for sightseeing in case you can carve out some time for exploring D.C. (which I highly recommend you do). Dress in layers. This is important because the weather in May can be a bit unpredictable and even inside can vary depending on air conditioning and how packed a room gets. Wear layers so you can remain comfortable and be ready for an impromptu walk outside to get coffee with a new connection.

Pack Your Purple!
World IBD Day falls on Sunday, May 19 this year, coinciding with DDW! Pack your purple and join us in showing support for those living with IBD. Then meet us in the Exhibit Hall for breakfast at 9:30 a.m. to kick off the day (supported by Lilly USA). Purple awareness ribbons will be distributed to the first 3,000 attendees.

3. In your day bag: Some items I’ve found particularly helpful to have with me during the day are a power bank to charge my phone mid-day, a refillable water bottle (I’m not a fan of overpriced vending machines and who has the time to scour the Exhibit Hall for tiny bottles?!), hand sanitizer and a snack. I recommend protein bars or a bag of mixed nuts for something quick and filling. Make sure you also have some extra room in your bag for any swag from the Exhibit Hall (last year, an industry supporter handed out blankets!) or souvenir shopping. Finally, if you receive it in the mail, don’t forget to bring your badge. Badges will be mailed out on a rolling basis (continental U.S. residents only). April 24 is the last day to register to receive your badge in the mail.

4. Clean up your social media accounts and update your professional web pages. This isn’t an item to pack but more of a reminder to do before the meeting. Most people don’t hand out physical business cards anymore (though you can absolutely still do this), but it’s common after you meet someone for them to find you on Twitter/X, LinkedIn, Doximity, etc. so it’s important these pages are up to date and accurately reflect your views. Keep it professional and appropriate at all times, but especially during meetings.

5. Lastly and most importantly, don’t forget to pack your confidence and a genuine smile! DDW can go from being exciting to overwhelming very quickly and this is your friendly reminder to keep calm, confident and smiling. When meeting someone new or reuniting with your annual DDW colleagues, treat everyone with grace, kindness and humility. The GI community is a unique place of warmth, compassion and commitment to innovation and patient care. Be excited to make new connections and be confident in your contributions to the field, even if it’s as simple as showing up. Afterall, showing up and being present is the hardest part.

Bring Credit Cards
Please note that many areas around the convention center will not accept cash; be prepared to conduct transactions on-site via credit card. For your convenience, Reverse ATMs are located outside Hall D and on the concourse level. They dispense prepaid active cards in exchange for cash that can be used wherever debit cards are accepted. DDW Registration is the only spot that will accept cash this year.

I hope you found this advice helpful, and feel free to connect with me on social media (use this year’s hashtag, #DDW2024) and let me know how your experience went.

2 Responses

  1. Hi Noor Syed.
    Thanks for great tips!
    I have one question for you, since me and my colleage are coming from Iceland we didn’t receive our badges in mail. Where do we pick them up?
    Thanks again and we are so looking forward to this great event!
    Kind regards, Lára.

    1. Hi Lára,
      Great Question! If you did not receive your badge, or if you need to make a correction, please go to registration in Hall D, Level 2 for assistance. Welcome to DDW 2024!

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