By Denise Williams, News & Views
San Antonio beckons. After months of isolation, a healthy dose of southern hospitality might be just what the doctor ordered as cardiac and pulmonary rehabilitation professionals converge on the city this October for AACVPR’s 36th Annual Meeting.
The event pivoted to a virtual format last year due to the COVID-19 pandemic; and while it was hailed as a success, many attendees are anxious to reconnect in person with colleagues, industry partners and friends. What better backdrop than San Antonio—where the weather is pleasant, travel into the city is easy via most U.S. airports and local attractions are plentiful? Those are just a few reasons why the location stood out to the planning committee, led by Adam deJong, M.A., MAACVPR.
From a more tactical perspective, he notes that hosting the annual meeting at the San Antonio Marriott Rivercenter empowers AACVPR to return to a hotel-based event instead of a conference center setting. The benefit in that, according to deJong, is the logistical advantages it affords to both AACVPR and attendees. “All meetings, presentations and social events are held under the same roof as where the attendees are staying,” deJong says. “There is less foot travel between locations, with a faster commute between room and meeting space.”
Bigger, Better, Brighter
That should help event-goers avoid being tardy for any parts of the program, which deJong assures they won’t want to be in light of the “excellent line-up of presentations and outstanding keynote speakers” on the agenda. The unifying theme for the four days is “Bigger Ideas, Better Outcomes, Brighter Future.” Although it doubles as a cute play on the popular adage about everything being bigger in Texas, deJong says the banner speaks to the impact that CR and PR rehabilitation can have on patient populations. “It is through the Annual Meeting that we can share our ‘big ideas’ and demonstrate ‘better outcomes’ related to CR and PR,” he elaborates, “all with an eye towards a ‘brighter future’ for our professionals and patients.”
That being said, this year’s event will follow a track-based structure, with presentations in the areas of CR and PR, program management, behavior modification, nutrition and innovative leadership. “Each track will focus on new and impactful information to help guide future patient care,” deJong explains, listing health literacy, resilience, referral enhancement and health equity and diversity as some of the key points of interest to be explored. Other discussions and presentations will revisit “evergreen” issues such as performance measures and Medicare policy/reimbursement, while others yet will focus on the new frontier of COVID and how it has affected the CR/PR community over the past year. Attendees will also be privy to some of the latest research findings in the field.
Be There, Even If You Aren’t There
All in all, deJong credits organizers with planning a conference designed to benefit any attendee, including those who opt to take part virtually instead of onsite. This year’s “hybrid” program allows for participation in-person, online or both. Attendees who choose the complete experience will enjoy the in-person activities—including a special new happy hour to be held in the Exhibition Hall and a closing celebration planned for a venue outside the hotel. They’ll additionally have access to “After the Rodeo,” a compilation of presentations from San Antonio as well as some “virtual only” content. Additionally, deJong reveals, “the rapid-fire roundtable discussions that are so popular every year will be provided virtually during a four-day span bridging the in-person meeting and the virtual conference.”
While excitement is building around the opportunity to interact face-to-face, deJong says precautions will still be in place in San Antonio. “AACVPR is being very proactive in ensuring the highest level of safety for the event,” he assures, noting plans to reduce capacity to accommodate social distancing in the hotel conference rooms. Adhering to state and federal COVID safety measures will allow for maximum comfort and enjoyment for everyone.
And there’s plenty of enjoyment to be had before, during and/or after the meeting. San Antonio isn’t just a place for members and stakeholders to network, catch up and head home—it’s a destination. As deJong points out, there’s plenty of ways for meeting attendees to enjoy themselves beyond the scheduled activities. Nearby attractions include the Riverwalk District, World Heritage Site (the Missions), the Alamo and a smorgasbord of dining options to satisfy all culinary tastes. San Antonio beckons. And so does the AACVPR Annual Meeting.