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Preparing Abstracts and Poster Presentations. Keri T. Holmes- Maybank , MD Division of Hospital Medicine Medical University of South Carolina. Learning Objectives. Residents will learn to prepare an abstract for submission to a scientific conference.

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Preparing abstracts and poster presentations

Preparing Abstracts and Poster Presentations

Keri T. Holmes-Maybank, MD

Division of Hospital Medicine

Medical University of South Carolina

Learning objectives
Learning Objectives

  • Residents will learn to prepare an abstract for submission to a scientific conference.

  • Residents will learn to prepare a poster for presentation at a scientific conference.

  • Residents will identify elements of successful abstracts and posters.

  • Residents will identify pitfalls of unsuccessful abstracts and posters.

Key messages
Key Messages

  • Successful abstracts and posters are heavily edited.

  • Successful abstracts and posters follow the guidelines and goals of the scientific conference.

  • Successful abstracts and posters are concise and focus on a few key points.

  • Successful abstracts and posters have clearly linked learning objectives and conclusions.

Why give a presentation
Why give a presentation?

  • Share knowledge

  • Experience presenting

  • Preparation for manuscript publication(34-77% of posters are published in p-r journals)

  • Feedback and criticism

  • ACGME requires residents to participate in scholarly activity

  • Separate yourself from other employment or fellow candidates

What should be presented
What should be presented?

  • Clinical practice, education, or research

  • Common diagnostic, therapeutic, or management dilemmas

  • Unique or important teaching points

  • Increases awareness of condition

  • EBM

  • Unusual presentation, complication, management

  • Proper or new diagnostic strategy

  • Cost effective approach

  • Rare

Where to present
Where to present?

  • Society of General Internal Medicine

  • Southern Society of General Internal Medicine

  • American College of Physicians

  • South Carolina Chapter American College of Physicians

  • Society of Hospital Medicine

  • Subspecialty organizations


  • Very concise statement/summary of the major elements of your vignette, research, or innovation

  • Submit to scientific organization for consideration of presentation at the organization’s conference

Poster vs oral
Poster vs. Oral

  • Oral

    • Only top abstracts

    • Usually 8 minutes followed by question and answer

  • Poster

    • Large formatted

    • Set up with other presenters in lecture hall

    • Set time – attendees will walk by and have opportunity to discuss poster

Getting started
Getting started…

  • Ask your attending if good case

  • Collect history and physical, progress notes, relevant labs and imaging

  • Do literature review

  • Start by writing what made you interested

  • Write the case presentation


  • Each organization has its own specifications

    • Length

    • Format

  • Read directions!!!!

Writing an abstract 4 c s
Writing an abstract – 4 C’s

  • Concise – no excess wordiness or information

  • Clear – readable, well-organized

  • Cohesive – flows

  • Complete – covers the major points

Abstract tips
Abstract Tips

  • Active voice, consistent and correct verb tenses

  • Simple, short sentences

  • Grammar correct - The Chicago Manual of Style: The Essential Guide for Writers, Editors, and Publishers

  • Eliminate unnecessary words

  • Avoid medical jargon

  • Generic RX

  • Don’t use >3 abbreviations-spell out first,common

  • NEVER “first case ever reported”


Abstract content tips
Abstract Content Tips

  • Clear take home message

  • Design around 1-3 key points/objectives

  • Simple and concise

  • Don’t be emotionally attached to details

  • Omit details not essential to the main message

  • Want your audience to understand why your case is of interest to them

Scientific abstract
Scientific Abstract

  • Introduction

  • Methods

  • Results

  • Discussion

Innovations abstract
Innovations Abstract

  • Statement of Problem or Question

  • Objectives of Program/Intervention

  • Description of Program/Intervention

  • Findings to Date

  • Key Lessons Learned

Ssgim vignette abstract
SSGIM – Vignette Abstract

  • Learning Objectives

  • Case Presentation

  • Discussion

Acp vignette abstract
ACP – Vignette Abstract

  • Introduction (can omit and go straight to case)

  • Case description

  • Discussion

Shm vignette abstract
SHM – Vignette Abstract

  • Case Presentation

  • Discussion

  • Conclusion


  • Interesting

  • Short

  • Descriptive

  • Summary

  • Do not give everything away


  • Presenter should be first author

  • Attending should be last author


  • Medical University of South Carolina, Charleston, South Carolina



TemeiaMartin,MD (Resident); William Moran, MD

Medical University of South Carolina, Charleston, SC

Ssgim learning objectives
SSGIM - Learning Objectives

  • Only 1-3 objectives

  • Clear, concise

  • Clear link to conclusions

  • Action-oriented

    • Recognize

    • Diagnose

    • Assess

    • Treat

    • Distinguish

    • Manage

    • Identify

  • NOT – know or understand

Acp introduction
ACP - Introduction

  • Describes context of the case and explains relevance and importance

  • Usually 3-ish sentences

Case presentation
Case Presentation

  • BRIEFLY describe case

    • Pertinent HPI, ROS pos/neg, PMHx, SocHx, FamHx, Rx

    • Pertinent PE findings pos/neg, diagnostic studies, interventions/treatment

    • Patient outcome

  • Only PERTINENT info


  • Emphasize key points

  • Importance of this case

  • Different/unique

  • Implications: teaching, practice, research?

  • Future: do differently?

  • ****Make sure is clearly linked to objectives****

  • Concise

Ssgim abstract criteria
SSGIM Abstract Criteria

  • Clarity of presentation

    • Concise, complete, organized, well-written, focused objectives

  • Significance/relevance to general internal medicine

    • Unique, interesting. Contextualizes and describes impact on clinical practice in internal medicine, teaching/education or future research

  • Teaching value

    • Offers important diagnosis, physical examination, or management pearls

Why not accepted
Why not accepted?

  • Poor presentation

  • Weak discussion

  • Lack of originality

  • Inadequate support

  • Conclusions not tied to learning objectives

  • Objectives not clearly stated

Successful abstracts
Successful Abstracts

  • Follow the guidelines/directions

  • Well-written

  • Meets goals of conference

  • Basis of future work

Poster presentations

  • To distill down to a brief presentation effectively requires clear thinking, careful planning, and concise, efficient communication.

  • Best clinical vignette posters are those that make a small number of points(even just one) clearly and succinctly.

Poster content tips
Poster Content Tips

  • Clear take home message

  • Clear why your case is of interest to audience

  • Design around 1-3 key points

  • Don’t be emotionally attached to the details

  • Omit details not essential to the main message

  • Do not include abstract unless required - redundant

Poster construction
Poster Construction

  • Abstract is the basis

  • Judicious use of more detail

Poster tips
Poster Tips

  • BULLET POINTS – simple and concise - PHRASES

  • Orderly, left to right

  • Organized - Easy to follow flow of info

  • Use white space – not overly dense with text

  • AVOID CLUTTER – simple, user friendly

  • Use no more than 4 colors

  • No more than 3 sizes of font

  • No smaller than 24 point

  • San Serif fonts: ARIAL, Trebuchet MS, Helvetica

  • Make it visual – images, tables


  • Anyone who views your poster walks away with key information

  • 10-10 rule (10 seconds from 10 meters) - Draw them in

  • Goal to share information and have many viewers

Poster outline
Poster Outline

  • Title

  • Authors, institution, location

  • Follows abstract outline plus conclusions


  • Center, All caps, Largest font on poster

  • Smaller font for author, institution, city, and state

  • Upper and lower case for author, institution, city and state

Acp introduction1
ACP Introduction

  • Describe the clinical context and relevance

  • 1-3 sentences/phrases

  • Bullet points if possible

Case presentation1
Case Presentation


  • Clear, concise

  • Only pertinent info

  • Do NOT be emotionally attached to details

  • Omit any information not relevant to main message

Case presentation2
Case Presentation

  • Brief

  • Relevant HPI

  • RelevantPMHx, SocHx, FamHx

  • Ros pertinent positive/negative

  • PE pertinent positive/negative

  • Pertinent Laboratory, biopsy, and imaging

  • Hospital course

  • Treatment


  • Importance of this case to audience

  • Support your conclusions

  • Lessons learned

  • Subheadings for your main message:

    • diagnostic criteria, diagnostic modalities, unusual presentation, description of biopsy results, treatments, guidelines, possible mechanisms



  • May be all your audience sees

  • Emphasize key points


  • ***Real draw to attendees in vignettes***

  • ***Center, top (under title) of poster***

  • Large, clear

  • Use arrows

  • Review with radiologist

Figures and tables
Figures and Tables

  • Use graphs for a purpose NOT to dress up

  • Emphasize learning points

  • Simple - Not too many columns or rows

  • Label graphs very clearly

  • Horizontal labels


  • Really small font

  • If necessary can print on separate sheet and attach to bottom right corner


  • Have your attending review your poster

  • Provide constructive feedback

  • Rehearse your overview

  • Practice for judges questions

Getting your poster made
Getting Your Poster Made

  • Lisa Fennessy, Art Services

  • Send the proof to Lisa Fennessy by email – no pdf

  • Lisa will print proof same day

  • Edit proof (maybe several times)

  • Final proof

  • Send the final one week before need poster


  • Prepare a 1-2 minute summary of your poster

  • Dress professionally

  • Stand by poster – expected by mtg coordinators

  • Be prepared to answer questions from the judges

  • Wait for readers to finish

  • Make eye contact - Put down any food or drink when discussing poster

  • Know the flow of your poster and refer to it

  • Don’t get tipsy before or during presentation

Acp poster judging criteria
ACP Poster Judging Criteria

  • Significance – increase understanding of a disease, improve the diagnosis or treatment

  • Presentation – logical, interesting, clearly written, free of grammatical problems

  • Visual impact – effective, value of figure and graph

  • Interview – knowledgeable, conversant

Ssgim poster judging criteria
SSGIM Poster Judging Criteria

  • Poster Presentation – outstanding organization, excellent poster format, effective illustrations, appropriate amount of words

  • Learning objectives – clearly stated learning objectives, tied to conclusions, supported by data

  • Content – clear, concise case description, all RELEVANT patient information, info well organized

  • Teaching/educational value – valuable to internists, increases understanding of disease, improves diagnosis or treatment of disease state

  • Overall

Ssgim most common pitfalls
SSGIM Most Common Pitfalls

  • Objectives not clearly stated (content)

  • Inappropriate amount of words(too many)

  • Conclusions are not tied into learning objectives (conclusions)******

Preparing abstracts and poster presentations

Insert Poster Title Here

Your name here

Your institution’s name here



Figure 1..

Figure 2.





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  • Society of General Internal Medicine. 2013 Annual Meeting Important Dates.

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