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Medical conference brings hundreds from around the country, world to Roanoke

Event organized Monday for participants to sample local restaurants

ROANOKE, Va. – The International Association of Medical Science Educators conference is bringing hundreds of medical professionals from around the country and the world to Roanoke.

The four-day conference started Saturday and wraps up Tuesday.

An event in downtown Roanoke on Monday night aims to give the conference attendees a taste of Virginia's Blue Ridge region.

Numerous local restaurants will have samples available.

Landon Howard, president of Visit Virginia's Blue Ridge, says he wants the attendees to feel as if they are more than a guest or tourist.

"We want them to feel like they are part of our family while they're here. We're feeling that from our delegates that are here," Howard said. "Some of them have even voiced about bringing their own conventions here as well after they've seen how successful this one has been."

Virginia Tech Carilion School of Medicine senior dean of academic affairs, Dr. Rick Vari, is the association's president and says he offered to host the conference in Roanoke after the original host site fell through.

"Having our colleagues from around the world, we've had a couple of presentations about our school, so I think it really accentuates our reputation, and I think it's been a great thing," Vari said.

Vari said the conference is designed to focus on identifying and addressing challenges of medical education, including how to incorporate research and technology to help students learn.