American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons / 03.10.20
After much consideration and discussion, the Academy Board of Directors has made the difficult decision to cancel the 2020 Annual Meeting scheduled for March 24-28 at Orlando’s Orange County Convention Center (OCCC).
Our team, like many of you, has been eagerly anticipating and preparing for this year’s meeting. The largest orthopaedic gathering in the nation, the AAOS Annual Meeting was set to host 479 presentations, 250,000 net square feet of exhibit space and 27,000 attendees from around the world. But, the ongoing spread of coronavirus (COVID-19) has been a serious concern for us all, and its implications have substantially affected the logistics of the meeting.
The health, safety and well-being of the AAOS global community is our highest priority. Our team has been meeting daily to discuss recommendations from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and World Health Organization. We also have been in constant communication with local stakeholders including the OCCC, the Florida Department of Health, our industry partners and with many of our members during this very uncertain time.
In light of the growing number of COVID-19 cases across the U.S. and around the world, it became very clear that canceling the Annual Meeting is the right thing to do. The potential risks associated with a large gathering as well as the increasing travel advisories and restrictions were certainly considerations, but most importantly, we know that our members are needed in their local communities to help their institutions and patients prepare for and react to the growing COVID-19 spread.
Data show that those over the age of 60 are among the most vulnerable to serious illness from COVID-19. This is a population that relies on AAOS members to deliver the highest quality musculoskeletal care, and we must do what we can to ensure that this essential care is not interrupted.
Additionally, over the past week, many academic centers and health systems have issued notices that do not allow for domestic travel. This list continues to grow and has a direct impact on our educational sessions. We will share details soon on how we will work to bring the substance and spirit of our 2020 Annual Meeting to all who were planning to participate. More information for our members, participating faculty, exhibitors, and other registrants is forthcoming.
I am grateful to everyone who has worked tirelessly with the planning of the AAOS 2020 Annual Meeting and who will continue to assist with next steps for the canceled event. The 2020 Annual Meeting experience was years in the making with hundreds of staff, members, volunteers and partners coming together to make this meeting possible. Our vital work will continue in the days and weeks ahead.
Thank you for your commitment to AAOS and our field, to your patients and to your communities.
Orthopaedic surgery is known for innovation and for perseverance in the face of great challenges. We have no doubt that this legacy will remain as our global community and healthcare system copes with the challenges that COVID-19 will bring in the coming months. Please be assured that the AAOS will provide the resources you need to deliver the highest quality musculoskeletal care.
We will provide more details and information on our website and through our social media channels in the coming days.
Kristy L. Weber, M.D., FAAOS