President's Message

President's Message: 3+ things I like about Philadelphia

Bernard Fuemmeler, PhD, MPH, FSBM, SBM President

If you are getting excited about the upcoming SBM conference in Philadelphia, you’re not alone. A group of us including our SBM staff and our Program Chair, Dr. Akilah Dulin, recently had the chance to tour the conference venue in Center City Philadelphia. Suffice it to say, everyone had a blast and several of us left wanting to move there! Philadelphia has so much to offer, and I am sure you will find some remarkable qualities to it when you visit next spring.

There are more than 3 things I liked about being there, but for brevity I will tell you about some of the aspects we found most enchanting about the city.  

The Food: Oh my gosh, Philly is a foodie town! If the classics, like a cheesesteak covered in Whiz, a salty soft pretzel with spicy mustard, or a classic hoagie are not your forte, rest assured there are plenty of options. Directly across from the hotel, you will find one the countries best indoor food markets: Reading Terminal Market. They have about every type of food you could want, including plenty of dessert options! You will want to take some time to visit and see for yourself. Center City also has some great vegan/vegetarian options and is within walking distance to several great restaurant choices. We had fun touring a few the restaurants, including a very cool restaurant occupying a former bank building .   

The City: So many places to visit and not enough time. People sometimes forget that Philadelphia was our capital for the first 10 years of our nation’s founding. And of course a trip to Philly would not be complete without a visit to Independence National Historic Park where you can tour Independence Hall where our democracy was born, or maybe you will get to ring the Liberty Bell (just kidding…they don’t let you ring it anymore because someone busted it up the last time that happened). You might also enjoy making your way over to the Philadelphia Museum of Art, visit a world-renowned art collection, make your way up the Rocky steps, and get your picture with the bronzed legend himself. If you are planning to do SBM’s Stride for Science run/walk you will also enjoy running along the Schuylkill - don’t ask me how to pronounce it - River and Boathouse Row. The lights are being restored, so it should be a beautiful and memorable run/walk. When we toured, we took the pedal bike along the trail and it was fun, scenic ride!  

The People The other great think about Philly is the people. They don’t call it the city of brotherly love for nothing. William Penn and the “Society of Friends” (aka Quakers) founded the city and, in general, were much more tolerant of religious differences than the colonies to the north and south. This sense of acceptance and friendliness is noticeable. When we visited, people we met were friendly and welcoming – what other city is known for having a LOVE Park. Philly’s cultural diversity is also amazing and has been coined “The City of Neighborhoods.” The numerous neighborhoods have their own distinct character and feel, and Philly residents are diverse with respect to culture and language.

 Finally, you can’t forget about the music - Classical, Blues, Soul, Jazz, R&B, Hip Hop, Rock – Philly has it all and has produced legends in all categories. Load up your playlist and get Jiggy Wit it, because you are not going to want to miss our 45th conference in this great city!  

Yea, I probably sound like Rick Steves or like I’m on the city’s tourism advocacy board – I just can’t help it! It’s just that good, and it’s always sunny! I’m sure, like me, when you leave the city after the conference is over you will be singing “Philly, forget me not, forget me not, forget me not.”  See you in Philly!