ATC: The Countdown Begins!
In just 4 weeks, we will convene in Seattle for the 13th meeting of the American Transplant Congress. As in years past, the organizing committee, which consists of representatives from both AST and ASTS, has put together a jam-packed program of provocative symposia, presentations and workshops on updates in current practice, new insights into alloimmune injury, and emerging research discoveries within our field.
Behind the scenes, staff in the AST offices are working tirelessly to prepare. The AST Board meeting will be the longest we’ve ever had at ATC, tying together many of the loose ends of our strategic plan and providing an opportunity for each committee and Community of Practice to achieve their working goals for 2013. Sure, this sounds rather perfunctory, but trust me: it’s an exciting (and rather exhausting) meeting as we thank past chairs and meet new ones, usher in new agendas and complete the old. It’s also a time of forward-looking transition.
Many of you wonder what happens to the Board during ATC and why you don’t often see our faces in the meeting venue. Rest assured we are there, but most of our day is consumed by meeting with our industry sponsors, collaborating societies, and government agencies to ensure that the Societies’ needs are clearly enumerated and find support and new opportunities.
Since we can’t always participate in every presentation or workshop, we encourage you to attend and share your feedback with us. I urge all of you to plan your days ahead of time — review the program, create a schedule of what you wish to attend, and have flexibility to change those plans. There are extraordinary plenary speakers this year and I highly recommend skipping the extra cup of coffee to hear their talk. (Trust me, there’ll be plenty of Seattle’s Best available.) There are also workshops, early morning symposia and of course, the real science (abstract) presentations. Take an opportunity to wander in the posters exhibit, ask a question or two, and meet some of our most talented and diligent members. I would also encourage you to check out the AST activities at ATC and plan to attend as many as possible.
On Monday May 20th, I will be hosting a Town Hall meeting for the entire membership. After a brief recap of the past year and installation of new officers, I will field questions you may have about the Society, transplantation, and other issues relevant to medicine. Whether it is through social media, our President’s Blog, or our e-blasts to the membership, we have always encouraged interaction among our members to both enhance and elevate the conversation taking place. And we hope this new format will help you feel engaged.
We’ll also be live tweeting from the conference, sending the latest updates on meetings, awards and other activities. If you don’t already, follow us on Twitter at @AST_info and be sure to stay up-to-date with the latest happenings at ATC.
In the meantime, don’t forget to check out the fantastic dining opportunities. Make reservations ahead of time, but the Convention Bureau will also have staff available to assist you. Take time to interact with old friends and make new ones, and find your niche in our organization.
As my term as President of AST nears its close, I look forward to spending extra time with you at ATC and hope you take the time to engage with your peers through the multiple opportunities available at this four-day conference.