In light of the evolving COVID-19 pandemic, it is with great regret that we announce that the 2020 IAMSE Annual Meeting, Scaling New Heights: Envisioning the Future of Health Sciences Education, that was to be held in Denver, CO, USA, will no longer be held in its original face-to-face format. The IAMSE Board and Executive Committee are in unanimous agreement that the best course of action is to cancel the in-person event. The decision to cancel our much-anticipated meeting was not an easy one to make, but our first priority lies with the health and safety of our colleagues around the globe.
I want to recognize and thank so many of you for the work you have put into this meeting over the past two years as planners and presenters. We are especially thankful to Bonny Dickinson who has led conference planning and to the Annual Program Committee for their work. They have responded graciously to our announcement to cancel the face-to-face meeting and are in full support of this decision.
Even though we will not be meeting in person this year, we are pleased to announce that we have shifted our focus to create a virtual event that promises to be robust and educational. Here is what we currently have planned (more details will follow):
- Virtual Plenary Presentations – Each of our four plenary speakers has agreed to present a virtual delivery of their planned presentation as a live webinar.
- Poster and Oral Presentations – In order to afford as many individuals as possible the opportunity to present their work, we are establishing a repository where presenters can deposit their posters or recorded talks.
- Abstracts – As with previous meetings, poster and oral abstracts will be published in a special issue of Medical Science Educator, which is the journal of IAMSE.
- Awards – The awards and grants normally associated with the annual meeting will still be conferred. Individuals will be recognized through online announcements and will be honored at the 2021 meeting.
- Workshops and Focus Sessions – Unfortunately, it will not be possible to include pre-conference workshops and focus sessions in the virtual event because of their need for synchronous engagement. Discussions are currently underway to potentially deliver some of these sessions in the future in a virtual format.
- Payments – All individuals who have paid registration fees for the conference, pre-conference workshops, or other ancillary functions will be reimbursed in full. Alternatively, they will have the option of deferring fees toward the IAMSE Annual Meeting in Cancun, Mexico, June 12-15, 2021.
The virtual event that will replace the in-person meeting will be open to all individuals at no cost. More information will follow in the coming days.
Specific information will be coming to registered attendees regarding reimbursement options. Refunds will be processed as quickly as possible. Please note that you will need to cancel your hotel and airline reservations directly. Any questions regarding these reservations should be directed to the booking company, hotel, or airline that you worked with for your trip.
Business Meeting – Consistent with our bylaws, each June we hold our annual business meeting as a public event to inform members about the current state of IAMSE. We will still hold this meeting, albeit virtually, and will send along more information as it becomes available.
Thank you for your patience and understanding as we continue to evaluate and work through this complex and rapidly changing situation. Most of all, thank you for your engagement with IAMSE. I look forward to seeing you at future meetings.
Neil Osheroff, PhD