Today’s post comes from Taniya S. Nagpal. Taniya is a Post-Doctoral Fellow at The University of Ottawa. She is also the current outgoing OC-SNP Chair of the OC-SNP National Executive.

Every other year, Obesity Canada hosts the Canadian Obesity Student Meeting (COSM). One of our many Obesity Canada – Students and New Professionals (OC-SNP) groups takes on the leadership role for hosting the conference, and next year we will be heading to York University in Toronto (June 17th – 19th 2020). This blog presents top 10 reasons for why you should submit an abstract to present and attend COSM:

  • Just the right size – Attending large national and international conferences are important but oftentimes you may feel like a small fish in a big sea with rows and rows of posters and multiple over-lapping oral presentation sessions. On the opposite end, sometimes conferences may be too small and you may not have the opportunity to present to a new or large enough audience. COSM is not too big and not too small, it’s just right. Attendees are from across the country (the numbers continue to grow) all vested in different areas of research related to obesity. All sessions are for students and new professionals and are organized by topic areas for both posters and oral presentations, with limited overlap so you are guaranteed an audience and visitors at your poster. As well, you are guaranteed both individuals within and outside of your specific research area, making for great opportunities for collaborations and discussions.
  • Trainee focused opportunities – Because this conference is focused on students and new professionals specifically, all sessions have been selected based on expanding opportunities just for you. Unlike one or two trainee-specific special sessions, all sessions are for you. There are multiple workshops (leadership training, mentorship), research competitions (research blitz, oral, poster, chapter and rising star awards) and countless networking opportunities. This is the only national conference for students and new professionals focused specifically on obesity research.
  • The socials are awesome – OC-SNP is known for having some of the best conference socials, and there’s something for everyone. From meals together, evening socials and daily physical activity opportunities – you will have many chances to make new connections. As well, OC-SNP prioritizes networking and makes it easy for you to meet new people.
  • Unique panel discussions – We will have a few panel sessions that are very unique and won’t be found at other conferences. This includes a women in science panel, the physician’s perspective on obesity, knowledge translation and leadership workshop. Leaders within Obesity Canada will be present and ready to share their insights with you. You will also have many opportunities to connect one on one.
  • Mentorship – Mentorship is a key focus area for OC-SNP. The COSM includes two unique and easy ways for you to find great mentors. First, there is the conference connections program that matches you with a conference buddy before arriving, and the second is the annual Mentorship Breakfast – From Grad School and Beyond, which includes table discussions with leading obesity researchers, faculty and health professionals.
  • The Patient Engagement Committee is in attendance – The Patient Engagement Committee is an integral part of the organization. Outstanding speakers from the Patient Engagement Committee will be present and will share their perspectives. This learning opportunity is unique and few national health organizations include the patient’s perspective within the conference itinerary. You will gain different perspectives on your research, areas for future contributions. Moreover, the committee is amazing so again you will make important connections.
  • Leadership opportunities all around – You are the future of science, and COSM assures you can learn how to increase your participation within Obesity Canada. In addition to the Patient Engagement Committee, many of Obesity Canada’s leaders including board members, staff and OC-SNP executives will be present and are eager to meet you. Throughout the conference, there will be presentations on how you can get involved with your local chapter (including a workshop hosted by the executive) and with the organization at-large.
  • Presenting your research to a very engaged audience – COSM of course is for obesity-specific research but includes a variety of areas under this umbrella. You may be studying treatment options, prevention strategies, qualitative research, using surveys and questionnaires, reviews, medicine-focused, specific population groups such as children or older adults, public health, marketing, bioscience, knowledge translation, program evaluation etc. we want to hear it all. Despite our different areas of focus, we all fit together, and this is unique to a research conference that is dedicated to obesity. This also means you will have more opportunities to discuss the greater implications of your research.
  • Your next step may start from here – If you’re looking for your next graduate studies, research or work supervisor and you are interested in staying within the area of obesity, they’re likely going to be there. As Obesity Canada is the leading national source for obesity related advocacy and research, in this environment you will meet those individuals whose papers you cite. Meeting in person will allow you to build a stronger connection. As well, we always highlight areas that need more research, who knows, you may have the answer or will get your next study idea!
  • Fun is an under-statement – Like most tip lists, that last tip is usually something about “Having fun”; well fun is just not a strong enough word to describe COSM. Throughout the conference you will be engaged, excited about research, surrounded by many leadership opportunities, participating in socials and more! Over the busy conference days, time will fly because the schedule is packed with opportunities, all specifically for students and new professionals.

Whether you have been to many conferences or this is one of your first, COSM is for you. Whether you are a post-doctoral fellow or just started your master’s, we want to hear about your current and/or proposed research. Whether you do qualitative or quantitative research, it fits within the program. Whether you’ve been working for a few years or you want to present your undergraduate thesis, there are many opportunities designed just for you to grow in your respective field and career stage. There are travel codes available, as well look out for travel awards. If you have any questions, do not hesitate to contact To register and submit an abstract, please visit