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VAM 2020 canceled, summer interactive forums planned

BY BETH BALES AND BRYAN KAY

Citing the health and the safety of SVS members, constituents and their patients as its chief concern, the SVS Executive Board on April 9 canceled the 2020 Vascular Annual meeting in Toronto as a live event.

The decision was made after monitoring the current trajectory and impact of COVID-19 in the United States and Canada, as well as the likely aftermath for SVS members in the months to follow the peak wave.

The SVS Program and Postgraduate Education committees are creating a series of programs built from the meeting’s science and educational offerings. These will be delivered via interactive online forums over the summer. Details on SVS ONLINE (Optimizing Novel Learning In A New Environment) will be available later in the spring.

“While everyone regrets having to cancel VAM this year, this gives us a unique opportunity to explore alternative educational formats and content delivery,” said SVS president Kim Hodgson. “Nothing can ever replace the energy and collegiality of a live VAM, and some education will always be best delivered live, but as we consider the new reality we may be living in, some material lends itself well to virtual delivery.” Obtain more information about the VAM cancellation at vsweb.org/VAM.

Presidential letter

In an early communique, Hodgson had informed members that the uncertainty of the pandemic would ask much of them.

“While vascular surgeons are not, at least initially, on the frontlines of this war, we have to accept that how we respond to this threat may impact the ability of our medical colleagues to both win this war, and do so without compromising their personal safety,” he wrote. “Regardless of the site of service or the approach, our procedures consume resources. So when you are asked to only do emergencies, as many of us will be, please, make us all proud.”

Hodgson spoke of the troubled waters confronting the specialty. “But vascular surgeons are battle-tested leaders, not just on the frontlines, but in critical supporting roles; wherever we are we lead. We are all in this together and there is no reason to be learning this alone,” he said.

“Take comfort in knowing that your SVS is a solidly built bridge spanning these troubled waters, testimony to the wisdom of those who came before us and the investments that have been made, and that we will continue to advocate for the interests of all vascular surgeons and their patients as we cross over to the post-COVID-19 side.”