In the room: Changes aplenty as VAM returns

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San Diego Convention Center, the venue for VAM 2021

The Vascular Annual Meeting (VAM) is more anticipated than ever after the annus horribilis of 2020 and the pared-back, digital VAM alternative that was SVS ONLINE.

While organizers have previously relayed the changes made for this year’s meeting, Program Committee co-chair Matthew Eagleton, MD, took the opportunity to once again emphasize the significant changes to its structure for 2021, with educational programming presented across all four days— Wednesday through Saturday.

Between the large number of quality sessions available and attendee feedback decrying the overlap of such sessions, VAM organizers decided the best way to limit competing sessions was to substantially revamp the schedule.

“Wednesday is the new Thursday,” has become a recurring refrain in reference to VAM 2021. “I hope you get tired of hearing that— because it’s important that people know that we have significant sessions scheduled from opening Wednesday to closing on Saturday,” said Eagleton.

Sessions formerly held on Thursday, but moved to Wednesday beginning this year include:

  • The Opening Ceremony, at 7:30 a.m.
  • The William J. von Liebig Forum (the first plenary)
  • The E. Stanley Crawford Critical Issues Forum (on multispecialty collaboration)

Other sessions on Wednesday include two concurrent sessions: two “Ask the Expert” presentations; International Forum and International Fast Talk; a special 90-minute presentation on COVID-19, including abstracts; and a collaborative session with the American Venous Forum (AVF).

With the exception of breakfast sessions, mornings are presented conflict-free. Afternoons have no more than three overlapping sessions. Other changes include scheduling the three postgraduate courses over three days, instead of holding them all on Wednesday.

And, the Vascular Research Initiatives Conference (VRIC) will be held at VAM this year in a pair of two-hour sessions on Thursday and Friday afternoon. VRIC registration is included with VAM registration; however, those interested in attending only VRIC may do so by paying the VRIC registration fee. The Society for Vascular Nursing and the Society for Vascular Ultrasound are both holding their annual meetings in conjunction with VAM.

Friday at VAM to feature session on diversity

Racial and ethnically-based disparities exist in healthcare. To highlight these disparities, and what the Society for Vascular Surgery (SVS) is doing to address them, the 2021 Vascular Annual Meeting (VAM) will feature a special session on diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI). It will be held from 10 to 11 a.m. Friday, Aug. 20, and will immediately precede the 2021 Presidential Address from Ronald L. Dalman, MD, at 11 a.m.

Dalman has taken a lead role in planning the session, which will include a talk by SVS member Lee Kirksey, MD, of the department of vascular surgery at the Cleveland Clinic, plus the presentation of five DEI-related abstracts. Kirksey will provide his perspective as a Black vascular surgeon member of the SVS.

DEI issues have influenced nearly every aspect of SVS activities this year, said Dalman.

However, the challenges they present are not new. Awareness of the social determinants of health has been building for years. “As the saying goes, ‘Your ZIP code is more likely to impact your health than your genetic code,’” he said.

The abstracts will highlight aspects of healthcare disparities and will complement what members have already learned in the past year in terms of understanding the scope of the problem. “The flip side is ‘What are we doing about it?’ Kirksey will address that question as well, including relating what we have done in the past year,” said Dalman. The SVS DEI Committee has worked hard over the past several months to recommend concrete changes, he said, adding, “Our future depends on getting this right.”

The special session will complement the publication in August of the special DEI supplement to the Journal of Vascular Surgery, which includes a broad range of perspectives on the challenges we face in improving opportunity and health outcomes for all. “Hopefully, the session and the supplement will spur a lot of discussion about what each of us can do to level the playing field for everybody,” said Dalman.

Register today

This year, attendees have the additional option of viewing VAM remotely in streaming sessions (17 live sessions, with 15 total Continuing Medical Education credits available) as well as attending live. Both options include viewing the content on an on-demand basis at no additional charge. Pricing is different for both options.

The meeting will feature a number of special events for which separate tickets—and, in some cases, additional fees—are required. All are listed on the registration form. Those requiring separate fees include the Vascular Quality Initiative Annual Meeting, the SVS/Society of Thoracic Surgeons Aortic Summit, the Women’s Leadership Dinner, and the RPVI Exam Review Course. See safety protocols at vascular.org/VAMProtocols. To register, visit vascular.org/VAM.

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