Dear Colleagues,


The Global Podiatry Summit (GPS) will be held in Reykjavik, Iceland from March 3-6, 2024. I am one of the co-chairs and we have put together an amazing experience. The President of Iceland, Guðni Th. Jóhannesson, an academic who is passionate about public health and sports, will be giving the opening address. As I write this, we have podiatrists from 28 countries registered and we have Global Perspectives panels on Diabetic Foot, Sports Medicine, Musculoskeletal Disorders, and Podiatric Surgery that will dive into the international differences and similarities in treatments and practice. The official language of the GPS is English.


ABPM is the US member of the International Federation of Podiatrists (FIP) and that comes with discounted registration of only $299 for all ABPM Diplomates. Register here and choose the FIP Member rate. Additionally, the ABPM has approved this activity for a maximum of 20.5 Continuing Education Contact Hours (CECH).


The conference begins in the evening on Sunday, March 3, which means you could arrive on flights from the US or Europe the same day. It ends noon on Wednesday, March 6, which means you could fly back to the US and arrive the same day.


But ... if you're going to a bucket list country, you should enjoy all that it has to offer. 


The meeting managers have put together a great list of optional tours where you can; see one of the top 5 waterfalls in the world, walk over the continental divide, go snowmobiling on a glacier, soak in a geothermal bath, or walk in an (old) lava tube. Speaking of lava, the volcano erupting on the Reykjanes Peninsula poses no risk to Reykjavik or the airport. You can also book those optional tours through the GPS website. 


I've been to Iceland six times, so here is my advice to get the most from your experience:


1. Weather is variable, and in March should be a high of about 32º, but then it's warm in vehicles and in buildings, so be prepared and have layers, especially if you venture out on tours. The conference attire is "climate appropriate/casual". I will be wearing thermal pants and sweaters. The Marriott EDITION is a 5-star hotel that is attached to the Harpa Conference by an underground walkway, but is more expensive. There are other conference hotels for about $200 but are 5-minute walk. 

2. Bring a bathing suit. Definitely try one of the thermal baths, even in ambient freezing temperatures. It will be about 100ºF in the water. The famous Blue Lagoon is affected by the volcano and closed, but the Sky Lagoon is a great alternative that the locals love.

3. Walking is very common all over Reykjavik even in the winter. The streets and sidewalks are heated with geothermal energy and don't freeze. The area in the vicinity of the conference center and conference hotels is very walkable. The main street downtown is called Laugavegur and is full of pedestrians. It's where you can find some unique gifts and a lot of tourist information.

4. Iceland is known for its unique cuisine influence by its isolation and climate. But interestingly, Iceland is also known for its hot dogs and probably the most famous restaurant in Reykjavik is a hot dog stand a short walk from the conference center. It's really delicious!

5. Bars I like:

1. Laugavegur 18 is a bookstore by day and has live music and a nightclub by night. All songs you know and very good! 

2. Kaldi Bar is a favorite of the Kerecis team and they have a special drink that is made with whiskey infused with duck fat, called Duck Season.

3. Kaffibarrinn is a very popular nighttime spot with the locals and tourists. I was there for its 30th anniversary. It's owned by Damon Albarn, lead singer for the British rock band Blur. 

6. Northern Lights (aurora borealis). They are simply majestic and referred to as the holy grail of sky watching! March is prime season to see them.

1.     Flexibility. The lights don't happen on your schedule. You have to be ready to go any night you're in Iceland. If there is cloud cover or limited solar wind, you won't see anything.

2.     Technology: Download one of the Apps that predict the Northern Lights appearance and intensity. I've used Aurora Forecast and Aurora. They're equivalent and I've used one on every trip to Iceland to make sure I don't miss the dancing lightshow overhead. Science can predict the intensity of the lights based on solar activity and that forecast becomes very accurate about 90 minutes in advance. These apps digest all the forecasting information and make fantastic maps (BTW: it works anywhere in the world) and gives you a "heads up" (pun intended).

3.     Timing: Be prepared to stay up late or set an alarm overnight based on when the App predicts the strongest lights.

4.     Location: Get to the right spot. Find a place with limited light pollution. When the aurora is strong, you can see it even in downtown Reykjavik. But find a darker place to walk to or some tour operators will take you outside of the city by bus.

5.     Photography: Bring a good camera, it really does make a difference, but you don't have to. I've gotten great pics just with my iPhone! You'll need to use night/low-light settings or download an App for aurora photography. Your camera and phone has to be really steady in this mode to avoid blurry pictures. A stand or tripod definitely helps.

7. Don't be afraid to talk to anyone or ask questions. Nearly everyone speaks fluent English. Icelandic people are very friendly and helpful. Reykjavik is a cultural melting pot, so you'll meet people from all over. In my experience, Icelandic people and life in Reykjavik more resembles America than Europe. 


I hope you'll join us in Iceland for great education, to network with podiatrists from all over the world, and take advantage of the great culture! Register here and don't forget if you're an ABPM Diplomate or Board Eligible (finished residency in the last 8 years) you get the discounted "Member Rate".


Takk fyrir,


Lee C. Rogers, DPM

Treasurer, International Federation of Podiatrists

Immediate Past President, American Board of Podiatric Medicine

American Board of Podiatric Medicine |
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