Meeting Update from Chairman of the Board
March 27, 2020
The Board of Directors has voted to cancel the annual meeting for 2020 rather than postpone until the fall. This decision was not made lightly, and I applaud the leadership of our President, Dr. Jill Dietz, for navigating this difficult decision and for her fiscal responsibility to our Society. The Board felt that there were too many unknowns surrounding the trajectory of the pandemic, financial unknowns for members and the society and too much stress on us as medical professionals to commit to an in-person fall meeting.
More than 1000 members responded to the survey sent out last week regarding the annual meeting and the majority were concerned about the logistics of an in-person meeting this year. We appreciate the input of all the members who took the survey and wrote in comments. We read through them all and have taken them into consideration for moving forward.
In light of the extraordinary challenges we are facing with the COVID-19 pandemic, the Board of Directors believes that it is most practical to keep the current leadership, including committees, in place until the 2021 Orlando meeting at which time new Board and Officer positions will be voted upon and approved at the business meeting. The majority of the content developed for the cancelled Las Vegas meeting, including the pre-meeting courses and general session, will be refreshed and presented next year April 28th through May 2nd in Orlando and updated as appropriate.
Regarding the scientific session and new work from our members, we will make available online all the abstracts that we accepted for presentation at the 2020 meeting and the November issue of the Annals of Surgical Oncology will be dedicated to publications from our Society. Additionally, we plan to increase online CME opportunities in coming months in novel ways using some of the meeting content and scientific sessions that were planned for the cancelled Las Vegas meeting. More to come on that, as we work out logistics.
Our by-laws committee diligently reviewed the by-laws to make sure we are in compliance. We are required to have an annual business meeting with 50 or more members in attendance. We can do that virtually and hope to be able to do that with one of our educational webinars that we have later this year.
Lastly, we appreciate your support and patience as we all continue to navigate uncharted territory during this unprecedented time. My new motto is “extraordinary times call for extraordinary actions” and these are certainly extraordinary times!
Be well and be safe.
Shawna C. Willey, MD, FACS
Chairman of the Board, ASBrS