2014 Annual Meeting program to focus on optimizing educational value
By Dr. Bradley Champagne, Program Chair
The first ASCRS meeting that I personally attended was in 2004. During that week, I witnessed an impressive display of tradition, education, investigation, innovation, collegiality and enthusiasm amongst colleagues both nationally and internationally. This unique environment and culture within ASCRS has continued over the last decade. I am greatly honored to be Program Chair in my 10th year of membership.
President Dr. Michael Stamos, Program Vice Chair Dr. Joe Carmichael, and I had the opportunity to review the last five years’ Annual Meeting reviews and evaluations. It was immediately clear that there was little to no room to improve on these programs. Therefore, we decided to focus on optimizing the educational value of the 2014 program, as we help our members keep up with the relentless advancements and rapid evolution within our specialty.
We hope to incorporate and preserve traditional aspects of the meeting, while also tackling several well-recognized controversial subjects. To achieve these goals we have attempted to lengthen panel sessions with case-based discussions and also offer detailed technical pearls in new symposia such as “Take Me to Your OR.” Additionally, Dr. Carmichael has organized new sessions dedicated to Medical Malpractice, Surgical Education, and Robotics.
A new “hands on” course in Fecal Incontinence, featuring Sacral Nerve Stimulation, will also be offered on Saturday. Each day’s program will end with contentious yet fun “Happy Hour” debates. During these sessions, prominent opinion leaders with strong feelings on opposing views of a colorectal subject will argue their positions, using a town hall format.
Another theme for this year’s meeting revolves around audience participation and social media. We appointed Dr. Scott Steele to a newly created one-year position, Social Media Committee Chair, that we feel will be a necessary fixture in meetings to come. Audience participation will be available for most symposia, with polling by the moderator and the ability to text questions/responses. Ongoing Facebook and Twitter messages will also appear immediately within your phone “app” throughout the meeting.
The ASCRS meeting was last held in Hollywood, Florida in 2009. Over the last five years, we have witnessed a substantial increase in attendance, and the number of posters, courses and symposia have more than doubled. Therefore, after careful consideration and review, E-Posters will make their debut. The E-Posters will be on display on large monitors and will be organized by category. Furthermore, all participants with a poster accepted will have a five minute time slot assigned for presentation to maintain the tradition of “poster walk arounds”.
Lastly, to further accommodate this expanded volume amidst an increase in mandatory and necessary exhibit hall breaks, it was critical that we make Wednesday relevant again. To accomplish this goal, we have attempted to strengthen the Wednesday program and conclude with an upbeat, not-to-be-missed Dinner Dance Wednesday night. The Dinner Dance will assume a “Salsa Party” environment with an eight-person salsa/merengue band featuring a wide range of music offerings. The food, drinks and dress code will also reflect the theme of this fun evening event. We hope to engage a range of ages amongst the membership and to make this a memorable event.
Under the leadership of Dr. Stamos, this year’s meeting will be both educational and enjoyable. We hope to see you in Hollywood.