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VAM shifted to August amid COVID pandemic, vaccination rollout

By Beth Bales

To enhance the chances of being able to hold the 2021 Vascular Annual Meeting (VAM) in-person, the Society for Vascular Surgery (SVS) has moved the conference, lock, stock and barrel to mid-August.

This pre-eminent event for vascular education now will take place Aug. 18–21 in San Diego, with educational programming on all four days and the Exhibit Hall open Aug. 19–20. Registration is expected to open in early May.

“Members have shared that they really miss the in-person camaraderie, the reunions, the informal networking, the ability to follow up with presenters, to catch up with industry, the affiliated meetings—everything that went by the wayside out of necessity in 2020,” said Ronald L. Dalman, SVS president.

“Our feeling was that the best chance we had to put on an in-person meeting was to move it to later in the summer.”

Post-Labor Day, regional and other meetings begin to fill the calendar. Thus, the mid-August dates, still more than two-and-a-half months after the original timeframe, offered the best compromise, reducing risks to everyone, he said.

Submission Deadlines Extended

With the move to August, the deadlines to submit abstracts and to apply for the SVS Foundation Resident Research Award both have been extended to Feb.17. Learn all about the 2021 VAM at vascular.org/VAM.

He noted that COVID-19 vaccinations have begun. He is hopeful the process will “rapidly pick up speed, efficiency and efficacy.”

Of course, an in-person meeting isn’t guaranteed. Some attendees may remain reluctant to fly and travel, and some may not be permitted to do so.

“There’s still the possibility of a hybrid meeting, or a virtual one. But the vast majority of responses we received is that members are really excited about having an in-person meeting,” added Dalman.

In addition, the San Diego venue provides the perfect opportunity for members to combine attendance with a family vacation, to take advantage of all that Southern California has to offer, he said.

He praised the efforts of staff, particularly director of meetings Debbie Wallentin and meetings manager Lynette Dummer, for their work with all the details of changing the dates. “Essentially, our entire hotel reservation blocks and all the on-site people we hire to run the meeting—everything—was moved en bloc to the end of August. It was a remarkable effort on Debbie’s part to make this a practical alternative.”

(NOTE: The SVS continues to plan full speed ahead for an in-person, high-impact meeting where colleagues can once again connect and learn from each other. The Society is hoping it won’t be necessary, but, if it is, we will be ready to convert the meeting to an innovative and engaging virtual format. The protection and safety of attendees remains our top priority.)