Dear Members and Friends of the SMSNA:
SMSNA leadership has been reflecting on the current situation with COVID-19 and the impact that it has on our daily lives, our work lives, and the professional societies in which we belong. It was difficult not being able to deliver on what would have been an incredible SMSNA Scientific Program at the AUA this year.
As you are aware the AUA, the ISSM and many other societies have had to postpone, cancel, or switch to virtual programming for their meetings and SMSNA is not exempt from having to make these same tough decisions. Each year our Fall Scientific Meetings have been the highlight for many of us who practice sexual medicine. The education offered along with the professional networking with colleagues and industry leaders is special. However, the reality is that with the continuing challenges with the pandemic, the health and safety of our attendees, the travel restrictions that have been placed on many of us, and quite frankly the fear of the unknown, has led us to the decision to make the 21st Annual Fall Scientific Meeting a virtual meeting.
Instead of waiting (and hoping), we wanted to announce this sooner rather than later because we believe that 21 is a lucky number and with the right planning we will be able to make this a special meeting for all and even engage new people that have not been able to attend our meetings before! Over the past few years, we have seen our meeting grow in numbers to over 750 people. We have also seen an interesting response to virtual meetings recently where attendance has been significantly higher than previous in-person meetings and we believe that it is not unreasonable for SMSNA to exceed 1,000 attendees for this virtual meeting.
We want to acknowledge the thoughtful input we received from Past Presidents and the Board of Directors, as we made this tough decision. We are looking at this as an opportunity and will do our best to bring you all the best education and at the same time make it as interactive and dynamic as possible. Some things will not change much – we will still showcase the latest research through our Abstract process, which includes the abstracts being published in the Journal of Sexual Medicine; we will still bring you the same quality of courses that you have become accustomed to and add new content to challenge you professionally, and we will think creatively to connect you with industry leaders so that you are aware of the latest technology and services available.
Finally, we want to thank the Marriott Marquis San Diego Marina, as well as our longstanding vendors Amedco, Audio Visual Connection and Freeman for working with us. They too have had to face these challenging times and we hope that business will return soon and that their businesses will thrive. We also want to thank Status Plus for their hard work in presenting us with our options and ensuring that this virtual meeting will be a positive experience for all!
We appreciate all our members and friends and look forward to giving you more details in the coming months about the 21st Annual Fall Scientific “Virtual” Meeting of SMSNA and other opportunities that we hope to keep us connected until we can be together again!
Hossein Sadeghi-Nejad, MD, FACS