An amalgamation of education, information, and entertainment, the Annual FOCUS on Respiratory Care & Sleep Medicine Conference is gearing up for its ninth installment May 14 through 16, 2009. Founder Bob Miglino, RRT, BSRT, MPS, president of FOCUS Publications Inc, gave RT the inside scoop on how this unique conference came to be, and what attendees can expect from the conference this year.

“The FOCUS conference was developed through my experiences putting on local and regional respiratory care conferences in the Northeast,” says Miglino. “These local conferences got me thinking about putting on a national conference, one where strong academia would be equally matched with a great deal of fun and entertainment.”

Offering 80 lectures in 10 different tracks, including Holistic Medicine as well as Patient Education and Personal Growth, enables attendees to pick and choose what educational interests to focus on while at the conference.

Tracks of lectures geared to critical care nurses were added to the lineup a few years ago.

“Today, we enjoy attendance by hundreds of critical care nurses, many of whom are actually married to therapists, thus enabling both to obtain CEUs at one conference,” says Miglino.

The 2009 keynote address will be delivered by a member of the Disney Institute on ways that Walt Disney’s philosophies and principles of operation can be applied to health care institutions.

The opportunities for education are abundant at the FOCUS show, but so are the welcomed breaks for entertainment. New in 2009 are two golf tournaments at Disney’s Osprey Ridge course, a 5K foot race, and a private evening at Disney’s Epcot Center. Attendee favorites returning this year include four free meals, complete with beer, wine, and soft drinks; an antique medical exhibit; and a private concert—performed this year by a Beatles tribute band.

Affordability is, of course, an important aspect of any industry conference, and the FOCUS show is no exception. Miglino has found that reminding hotels and other providers that the conference is for allied health professionals who increasingly have to attend conferences on their own nickel usually helps negotiate affordable rates.

“Our success in negotiating with the hotels, entertainers, and suppliers of other conference services has enabled us to pass a great deal of savings on to our colleagues,” says Miglino. “We have really gone all out to save attendees money. In fact, attendees will find that they would not be able to visit Disney World more affordably than through the FOCUS conference.”

Katie Griffith is associate editor for RT. For more information, contact [email protected].