AACVPR hasn't held an Annual Meeting in person since 2019, so the upcoming event in West Palm Beach, Florida, may represent the first for some members. For others, it might be the first after a prolonged and unwanted pause due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Either way, if you're a cardiopulmonary professional, you won't want to miss it! News & Views asked Carla Vorndran, MBA, FAACVPR – who chairs the event committee – to reflect on agenda highlights, how meeting-goers can squeeze as much value out of the event as possible and why getting together is so important and beneficial for the AACVPR community.
The theme of the 37th AACVPR Annual Meeting is “Anchored to Our Values." What does that mean for the event, our association and the future of cardiopulmonary rehab?
Anchored to our Values resonated with the Program Planning Committee on many levels. We wanted the theme to remind people of what AACVPR stands for and what it means to our members. AACVPR is committed to being an organization where cardiac and pulmonary rehab professionals can access timely resources and innovative solutions for their programs, grounded in the core values of cardiac and pulmonary rehab. The theme has a double meaning, representing the life-changing care we provide patients, anchoring them to their values to promote behavior change.
Why was West Palm Beach selected as the destination for the 37th Annual Meeting? What is the location’s appeal?
West Palm Beach is a beautiful location not only for the 37th AACVPR Annual Meeting, but for extending your trip for a vacation with friends or family Lots of food, fun and adventures in the sunshine are within walking distance from the convention center! Having one of the hotels connected to the convention center is also a bonus, and transportation around town and to the other hotel will be readily available. AACVPR has highlighted several activities to enjoy in the West Palm Beach area on the conference website.
What’s new this year?
One of the biggest changes this year is that we are beginning the meeting on Wednesday afternoon and ending it on Friday with the closing celebration, a move away from what long-time attendees are used to. This new schedule opens up Friday night for a fun closing celebration and then attendees can fly out or start their vacation on Saturday. Also, while not new, it will be our first time watching the daily AACVPR Show in person. I can’t wait to see what shenanigans and interesting guests Adam DeJong and Tom Draper are planning for those, and I plan to be in the audience each day!
This year’s meeting is the first time that we will be able to have members together in-person in three years. That is special in and of itself. Friends who have not seen each other will be able to reconnect, and this is an opportunity to meet new people and make connections that will last far longer than the three days of the Annual Meeting. Two pre-meeting workshops are on the schedule, one of which is a totally new concept. There are so many things that will be memorable and special about being back in person. I am so looking forward to this meeting!
What advice do you have for attendees, especially first-timers, to get the most out of this experience?
Plan ahead as best you can. If you have not been to an in-person meeting, selecting your sessions and making the most of your time in networking events and the exhibit hall can be a little overwhelming. Connect with other attendees in sessions, in the hallway and after hours. Connections made at in-person meetings is something that is not easily replicated in the virtual format. Take advantage of the time you get to meet with vendor; you can learn a lot about new and innovative tools and technology. And don’t skip the scientific posters! There have been many times I have looked at a poster and been able to translate it into something that I could use with my patients.
What are you most excited about/looking forward to at the Annual Meeting?
Too many things to count! I am looking forward to getting back together with colleagues that I have not seen in three years. I am very excited to see many of the presentations. The Program Planning Committee has been working very hard to put together a jam-packed and informative schedule for the meeting.
Can you tell us more about Beyond the Beach?
Beyond the Beach, our virtual component to the 37th AACVPR Annual Meeting, will allow those who are not able to travel access to recorded sessions and some exclusive content. All those who are joining us in West Palm Beach will also have access to Beyond the Beach, so any session missed in-person can be watched on-demand later. It makes it a little easier to decide between sessions when you know there is an opportunity to view it at a later date.
What is the value of the AACVPR Annual Meeting to the cardiopulmonary rehabilitation community?
The AACVPR Annual Meeting is the premier education and networking event for cardiac and pulmonary rehab professionals. The Program Planning Committee strives to provide the latest and most relatable information for “boots on the ground” staff all the way up to program and hospital leaders. We hope that when attendees leave the Annual Meeting, they will have gained knowledge and to help their patients thrive and programs succeed.
Registration for the 37th AACVPR Annual Meeting is open now.