The MERETI Alumni met at the 2nd regional conference of bioethics held in Beirut, Lebanon on the 16 and17th of September. The conference entitled “Current Controversies in Research Ethics: Research Integrity, Research Ethics Committees and International Clinical Trials” was hosted by the Salim El-Hoss Bioethics and Professionalism Programat the American University of Beirut, Faculty of Medicine, in collaboration with UNESCO and ISESCO.
Since several of the MERETI alumni were giving presentations of their accepted abstracts, a rehearsal session was arranged by Dr. Henry Silverman, the director of the MERETI program, the evening prior to the commencement of the event. As each alumnus practiced his/her presentation, the floor was open to comments and suggestions from other MERETI members. This was one of the best sessions that I personally attended. All suggested comments were very constructive and addressed issues on presenter’s content, speaking effectiveness, and PowerPoint design. A common suggestion was for all speakers to shorten the introduction of their presentations, and focus on the results section. Some alumni were advised to speak at a slower pace while others were directed to stand behind the podium so that the audience are not distracted by the presenter and can focus on the presentation. Additionally, changing the background of the PowerPoint design and increasing the font of the text were also suggested to make the presentations more visible to the audience. Those who had tables and graphs in their presentations were advised to change titles or comments for better comprehensibility. At the end of each presentation each speaker was challenged with anticipated questions that might asked by the audience and the floor was open to discussions on how best to address such questions.
The comments helped to make the speakers’ presentations all the more better the next day, especially regarding adhering to time restrictions. The session was moderated by Dr. Silverman who celebrated the success of the MERETI alumni by inviting everyone out to a delicious Lebanese dinner the following day.
Written by Dr Rehab Abdel Hai, Associate Professor of Public Health, Cairo University and MERETI aluminus of 2009