Michael Bush

Dr. Michael Bush gives a seminar about diabetes at the Bakersfield Marriott on Saturday during the Multi-Specialty Symposium, a health conference for medical practitioners in Kern County and beyond.

If you’ve ever wondered how your doctors know what treatments to prescribe to you, part of the answer involves them waking up early on Saturday mornings to attend conferences on the latest breakthroughs in medical research.

There’s a problem, though.

Many of these conferences take place far from Bakersfield. And the thing about doctors is, they tend to be busy.

“I go to one (conference) maybe once in two years,” said Dr. Jeet Singh, a Bakersfield cardiologist and director of Continuing Medical Education for Bakersfield Heart Hospital. “It’s very difficult because in a private practice, it’s real work.”

But a new conference held in Bakersfield Saturday morning aimed to give local medical service providers a chance to hear from world-class experts without traveling to coastal cities.

The first Multi-Specialty Symposium took place at the Bakersfield Marriott on Saturday, bringing around 250 pre-registered attendees mostly from around Bakersfield to the hotel for the health conference.

Organized primarily by Centric Healthcare Research and Education Foundation, the event took place over several hours as participants attended seminars with titles like “Updates in Peripheral Vascular Disease” and “Migraines: Prevention and Management.”

They learned new techniques in medical practice with the goal of treating local patients with what they learned.

“It really gives the physicians an opportunity to be able to implement some of those things here locally,” said Michael Bowers, director of public affairs at Centric Health.

The “multi-specialty” symposium grew out of a similar conference that has occurred in Bakersfield over the last six years that focused only on cardiology.

Last year, around 65 people attended.

By expanding the conference to include multiple medical areas, Kern County health leaders hope to bring in more medical professionals from around the county.

If the event is successful, the organizers want to expand it further to two or three days. That could potentially bring medical professionals from across the Central Valley to Bakersfield.

But on Saturday, those who attended had plenty to see.

The keynote speaker was Dr. Eduardo Marban, director of the Heart Institute at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles. Marban is known throughout the world for his medical research.

Other leaders in their fields also gave seminars, lending their star power to the conference.

“It is a privilege to have these kinds of people here,” Singh said.

The event also allowed those who attended to earn credits toward their Continuing Medical Education, a requirement in medical fields in which professionals need to participate in educational training each year.

By holding the conference in Bakersfield, organizers hope local patients can benefit.

Whereas it used to be that patients requiring specialty care sometimes needed to travel to Los Angeles for treatment, if doctors can use what they learned at the conference in local clinics and offices, the two-hour drive out of town for the treatment may be eliminated.

“Folks locally do not have to do that two-hour hike,” Bowers said. “They can now get those procedures done here.”

You can reach Sam Morgen at 661-395-7415. You may also follow him on Twitter @smorgenTBC.

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