As most of you are now aware, ASCRS is cancelling its Annual Meeting originally scheduled for May 15 - May 20. ASCRS came to this decision in the interest of public safety, after monitoring daily recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the World Health Organization (WHO), the Massachusetts Department of Public Health (DPH), and the City of Boston.
ASCRS has worked closely with the Boston Convention Exposition Center to navigate this very challenging and dynamic situation. During this entire process there has never been an option that was an ideal solution, but we ultimately feel this is the correct decision and in the best interest of our members, attendees and industry partners.
I have been in ophthalmology for 29 years, with 27 of them coming on the industry side. During that time I have seen a number of challenging issues confront the companies I worked for, but never have seen anything like the past three weeks. I know that all of our colleagues on the industry side are dealing with many of the extraordinary challenges we are facing here at ASCRS and ASOA.
We have an enormous challenge in front of us now as we begin the process of taking apart what was built over the past 10 months. No easy task. We work on the Annual Meeting throughout the year as our staff size dictates many people working on many parts of the meeting over the year. It is a logistical marvel to behold and one I did not fully appreciate coming from the industry side.
Two big questions are likely on your mind:
- Are you cancelling or postponing the meeting?---We are working on alternative options, but at this point do not have enough information to share anything of substance.As I mentioned it takes 12 months to build a meeting and pulling one together in 3 to 4 months will require a lot of luck and herculean effort.
- When will I see a refund?--Detangling a meeting of this size will take some time and we ask for your patience as we just made the decision today to cancel.We completely understand the importance of cash flow and putting your resources to work so this will be a high priority.We are now awaiting some refunds ourselves, so we understand the urgency, particularly during this period of instability and uncertainty.We will update you as quickly as we can provide you with highly reliable dates.
ASCRS and ASOA will continue to be a unique and vital resource for our surgeon’s and administrator’s ongoing education. We are exploring virtual learning options for our members as we had some outstanding presentations and educational symposia slated for May. We will make you aware of possible sponsorship and support opportunities as they become available.
Finally, a note of appreciation to all of you for the support you provide our organization. The ASCRS Executive Committee is keenly aware of the importance of the bond our society and members have with industry. I have said it many times. The tremendous clinical success our patients enjoy today is a direct result of the symbiotic partnership that has existed between anterior segment surgeons and the ophthalmic industry. We are committed to keeping that bond alive and well as we navigate these uncertain waters. Thank you again for all you do to support ASCRS and ASOA.