The Annual Meeting: Offering a Different Type of Time-Out
This year a number of successful scientific meetings have been conducted that reinforced the value of collegiality and community within our specialty and the value of personal interactions that have become the highlights of these large gatherings.
Planning for and executing this year’s Annual Meeting & OTO Experience in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, has been influenced by our 2020 virtual meeting, last year’s 125th anniversary in-person meeting in Los Angeles, and the recently held Pan American Congress in Orlando. Travel schedules have become more flexible, and with vaccination mitigating the severity of COVID-19 infections for the majority of the population, the willingness and ability to attend in-person meetings has resulted in record-breaking submissions for this year’s scientific program. The Annual Meeting Program Committee has included concepts brought forward by the Future of Meetings Task Force and our consultants, 360 Media, to create and fine-tune novel programming that will be well received by registrants for this year’s meeting.
An emerging theme throughout the planning process of this meeting has been the intense desire of our attendees to engage in face-to-face committee meetings, assemblies, and receptions and to have fun at a variety of social events available at the meeting. This year a number of successful scientific meetings have been conducted that reinforced the value of collegiality and community within our specialty and the value of personal interactions that have become the highlights of these large gatherings.
The timing of this meeting coincides with some easing of COVID-19 concerns, but 2022 has been a volatile year on many fronts relating to the practice of otolaryngology and additionally economic, political, and social issues that, when taken in toto, have stressed our members to and beyond reasonable limits. I hope this meeting will allow attendees to experience a safe space to relax, relate, and recharge through interactions with existing friends and colleagues and new acquaintances that will be made at the meeting.
I hope you will take the time to listen and share experiences and emotions honestly and empathetically. The value of sharing one’s situation and things that are particularly troublesome unquestionably benefits both the listener and speaker, even when no resolution is found. Even though this meeting is jam-packed with education content and social opportunities, I would encourage you to take some time for yourself and not do everything listed on the schedule. Consider this your personal “time-out” in which you engage in the things you like most about the profession and specialty, whether it be learning new things, renewing past friendships, teaching others, or just having a good time, try to focus on the rewarding aspects of your life and come out of the storm. I think you’ll find many of your friends and colleagues will join you in the shelter that this meeting can be.
The meeting in Philadelphia will mark the final Annual Meeting in the tenure of John H. Krouse, MD, PhD, MBA, as Editor-in-Chief of our journals, Otolaryngology–Head and Surgery and OTO Open. Dr. Krouse has served two terms as editor with distinction and innovation that have resulted in the highest Impact Factor in our journal’s history each of the last two years. Under his leadership, the journal initiated a program to train residents in quality peer review and the Resident Reviewer Development Program has been training new cohorts for five years. OTO Open, our open access publication, was launched in 2017. He created focused issues that highlighted health equity and diversity and showcased articles from first authors 40 years of age and under (40 under 40), as well as produced monthly podcasts to promote the research published in the journals. Dr. Krouse has positioned our journal well as we begin a new era with Wiley as our publisher in January 2023. His dedication to excellence and willingness to embrace meaningful change has allowed our journal to soar, and he deserves the heartfelt gratitude for his contribution to our specialty.
I would especially like to recognize and thank Ken Yanagisawa, MD, for his leadership and support as this year’s President. He has committed significant amounts of his time to identify critical areas of our Strategic Plan and help drive and support key Academy initiatives related to them. His unwavering support of key advocacy efforts related to the practice of otolaryngology and medicine in general, as well as the needs of the private practice community, has been crucial. His attention to the otolaryngology workforce through the task force he created will pay dividends for many years to come as we more completely understand the resources we have to work with in restructuring the healthcare delivery system.
I hope all of our attendees from around the world will enjoy this meeting and recognize that you too can make a difference if you so choose.