ASBH 2021 Annual Conference will be a Fully Virtual Experience. Call for Proposals remains open until noon CST on Monday, March 8, 2021.

After careful review of available data, the ASBH Board of Directors has decided to hold the 2021 ASBH meeting as a virtual conference.

The COVID-19 pandemic continues to affect all aspects of our lives. Unfortunately, it is very difficult to predict what life will look like in eight months, given changes in vaccine availability, university/hospital budgeting issues, travel funding availability, and the ever-present risk of new, more virulent, and vaccine-resistant COVID strains. Although vaccines are becoming more widely available, the majority of Americans have been unable to get vaccinated. Many ASBH members who do not have clinical responsibilities are among the last groups in vaccine distributions plans.

ASBH leadership and staff have been monitoring a variety of influencing factors as we plan for our 2021 Annual Conference, scheduled for October 13-16, 2021 in Indianapolis, Indiana. These factors include the health and safety of attendees and staff, equity considerations related to access to in-person meetings, and financial obligations and implications for the organization. In order to get a clearer idea of members’ plans and preferences, ASBH distributed a survey to members in January. Thank you very much to all of you who took the time to complete the survey; your feedback was informative and influential.

ASBH members expressed greater support for a virtual conference than other formats in survey responses. While an in-person meeting would be preferred by some, it became clear that it would not be the safest and most equitable option in the Fall of 2021. The Board decided against a hybrid (virtual and in-person) conference because it was both the most expensive option and the least popular among members who responded to the survey.

We understand that some of you will be relieved by this decision and others will be disappointed. The Board of Directors and the Program Committee will work closely with ASBH staff to plan an engaging and meaningful gathering. We learned a great deal from attendee feedback last year, and we are committed to a creative approach that provides compelling content, networking and professional development opportunities, meaningful engagement with exhibitors and sponsors, and space to engage with friends and colleagues socially. We hope that a virtual format opens opportunities for colleagues who may be unable to attend the in-person Annual Conference.

The Call for Proposals remains open until Monday, March 8 at Noon Central Time. We hope that anyone who did not submit a proposal because in-person meeting attendance would be an impossibility will consider submitting a proposal now. If you have already submitted a proposal, thank you. There is no need to make changes nor to resubmit. Meeting format will not be considered as a factor in acceptance or rejection of proposals. The ASBH “two submission” and “two presentation” rules still apply.

We hope that you remain safe and healthy during these unusual times. Please continue to save the dates (October 13-16, 2021) and stay tuned for more details regarding conference presentations, registration, and other opportunities. We look forward to sharing more information with you in the coming weeks.

Sincerely,

Iltis 2020

Ana S. Iltis, PhD
President

Lamb

Erin G. Lamb, PhD
Program Committee Chair