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A Follow-Up About the Annual Conference

March 13, 2020


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Dear Colleagues,

We are listening and learning as we deal with the current COVID-19 issue. Listening to our members is our top priority.

My recent message to you about the 2020 AACOM Educating Leaders annual conference was heavily focused upon keeping you in your communities to provide the necessary leadership and patient care if needed. That is increasingly important.

In the week since our decision, the situation has continued to unfold quickly around us. Each day, sometimes each hour, provides new information and leads to real-time decision making. Demands have gone up as our community has been called into action. This is as it should be. To that end, we have received several inquiries about whether the alternate conference we have proposed may even be too much for many of us to fully embrace during this demanding time.

First and foremost, your patients and your community come first. However, I want to also underscore our thinking in working to create an alternative conference: while you need to focus closer to home, we also want to make sure to keep our community connected the best we could during a challenging time. The annual conference is an opportunity to bring our family together and cancelling it creates a void. A number of you have commented to me that you understand the decision but will miss the time spent together.

I know how much time I have spent on the COVID-19 issue this past week, and I am thinking you are likely spending even more as you try to keep our COMs running as smoothly as possible.

As such, the on-line version of Educating Leaders 2020 will still take place, but in keeping with its original theme of Advocating Wellness, we encourage you to focus upon the most pressing issues you face. If that means taking care of students needs and being involved with your organization’s response, then that is what you should be doing. Perhaps catching one or two of the sessions live will be a distraction for just a little while—allowing you to think about your own well-being as you stop and pause for a moment. If the demands of the current environment find you unable to join any of the live sessions, they will be recording as many sessions as possible that will be made available for later viewing. We have some great speakers and we’d like to keep the other focus of the original theme as viable as possible, Advancing Education.

While the thumbnail views of people and posted participant lists can never replace the feeling of being in a space together, they can provide a sense of connectivity in a world that for the moment is challenging us to remain connected. This is an important part of who we are as a group of professionals and an important part of our humanity.

I will continue to stay in touch as the conference approaches.

My best to all of you as you respond to this crisis. I hope there will be many stories of your accomplishments to share when we finally have an opportunity to look back on this period in our history. Perhaps you will even be willing to share some of them along the way that we can be reminded of the good that is so easily lost in the noise.


Robert Cain Signature
Robert A. Cain, DO