VAM 2021 taking shape, schedule changes to expand programming

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Andres Schanzer

Though many individual components will remain the same, the 2021 Vascular Annual Meeting (VAM) will have a different look and feel.

“The meeting has been reorganized. We’re creating an expanded version of VAM that will take place Wednesday morning through Saturday evening,” said Andres Schanzer, MD. He and Matthew Eagleton, MD, co-chair the Society for Vascular Surgery (SVS) Program Committee, which oversees VAM educational and scientific programming.

Previous meetings have featured a Wednesday composed primarily of postgraduate and international sessions, and workshops. Plenty of attendees who didn’t arrive until Thursday, which featured the formal opening ceremony and the first scientific sessions, thus missed these presentations, said Schanzer.

For 2021, Wednesday sessions have been spread out and integrated throughout the meeting, he said. And the opening ceremony will take place at 7:45 a.m., Wednesday, to officially kick off VAM 2021. “Wednesday is becoming the new Thursday, featuring key meeting highlights such as the von Liebig Forum, Kim Hodgson’s honorary address and the Crawford Critical Issues Forum, to name just a few,” he said.

In another departure, all mornings will feature sessions—typically key addresses and plenaries—free from competing demands with no concurrent sessions. Early-morning breakfast sessions, from 6:30 to 8 a.m., will be an exception. Afternoons will include simultaneous programming, not to exceed three sessions at a time.

“Attendees have told us that there is too much going on at any given time,” said Schanzer. “They were frustrated by negotiating the challenge of multiple offerings, because they couldn’t attend important sessions that they wanted to be a part of. So, for 2021, the bulk of scientific content and special addresses will be presented without competition.”

The changes have been in the works for approximately five years, he said. “There were several motivating factors. We wanted to be able to include more scientific content and materials for an increasingly diversified membership. Thursday to Saturday just wasn’t enough. This way, we can share the information and content we want to share without members being forced to make a choice between important content.”

The committee further hopes to schedule the afternoon events in tracks, based not only on content areas, but also practice types. “We want people with different interests to be able to focus on the tracks they’re excited about,” Schanzer said. “We don’t want to have all the dialysis access sessions at the same time, nor content all geared to community practitioners at the same time.”

The structural changes minimize competing demands with multiple sessions held concurrently, he said.

As is usual, the SVS president, Ronald L. Dalman, MD, will give his Presidential Address—typically a meeting highlight—on Friday morning. The meeting will offer a second presidential highlight, a keynote address on Wednesday morning from immediate past president Kim Hodgson, MD. COVID-19, and the resultant cancellation of VAM 2020, prevented him from delivering his address.

Other sessions of interest for 2021 include a COVID-19 plenary session, a COVID-19 invited session focusing on other aspects of the disease, such as policy and infectious disease control, and a new plenary session on diversity, equity and inclusion.

CHANGES AT A GLANCE

In the mornings, there will be no competing programming. In the afternoons; and there will be no more than three sessions at any one time, separated into tracks of topics and practice types. The opening ceremony, the William J. von Liebig Forum and the E. Stanley Crawford Critical Issues Forum all will be held Wednesday. Postgraduate courses and VESS sessions will be held throughout the meeting, instead of Wednesday.

VAM 2021 DETAILS

The conference is slated for June 2 to 5 at the San Diego Convention Center, San Diego, California; plenaries are from June 2 to 5; and the Exhibit Hall is open from June 3 to 4.

The Society for Vascular Nursing, the Vascular Quality Initiative and the Society for Vascular Ultrasound all will hold their meetings in conjunction with the SVS.

*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 hopes it won’t be necessary, but, if it is, will be ready to convert the meeting to an innovative and engaging virtual format. The protection and safety of attendees remains top priority.

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