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Have you ever attended a conference for the first time and wished someone on site could give you information you needed about the meeting? As part of ISTSS’s welcome to first-time attendees at the Baltimore meeting in 2002, experienced members of ISTSS who volunteered as meeting mentors were available for questions and comments about the conference and the organization. Meeting mentors were identified by wearing bright pink lapel buttons labeled “Mentor.”

This project received positive response last year, so meeting mentors now are being sought for the 2003 meeting in Chicago. What’s involved? It’s simple and straightforward. Wear the meeting-mentor button and be available for questions or comments from first-time attendees. Mentors also should initiate conversation with first-time attendees, who will wear pink ribbons on their meeting badge, and ask if they need help. It’s that simple. Response from last year showed that these encounters are brief but enjoyable for both parties involved and benefit the organization by creating an environment of accessibility and welcome. To qualify to be a meeting mentor, you should have attended at least two previous ISTSS annual meetings.

First-time attendees should know that the pink “first-time” ribbons are never used as a way of discriminating against or stigmatizing the wearer in any way. To volunteer to be a meeting mentor or find out more about the program, contact Elisa Triffleman, MD, Chair, ISTSS Diversity and Cultural Competence Special Interest Group at elisa.triffleman@yale.edu.