At this week’s winter meeting of the ISMRM Board of Trustees, the decision was made to convert the 2021 Annual Meeting from a hybrid meeting to an on-line only meeting. While we are really sad that we won’t have the opportunity to reconnect in person in 2021, which is what many of us dearly wanted after this challenging year, we believe that this is the only right decision at this point. Even though COVID-19 vaccines are being distributed to some who would attend an in-person Annual Meeting, these will not reach our entire membership early enough to make a May meeting possible. Even with a vaccine, social distancing, wearing masks, occupation limits, and quarantines upon return may be required. Moreover, many institutions are still imposing travel restrictions which would impair the ability of many of our members to attend an in-person meeting. For all of these reasons, moving to an on-line meeting is prudent. Furthermore, as scientists and physician scientists, we should set the right example.
That being said, we are confident that this year’s Annual Meeting will be as dynamic and informative as ever. We received 5015 abstracts—not a record-breaking number, but an impressive performance for a community that has been hindered in their research by COVID-19. The Annual Meeting Program Committee has already begun the process of building an Annual Meeting with these abstracts and over 80 educational sessions, dynamic named lecturers, cutting-edge plenary topics, and of course some social activities as well.
We are retaining many of the excellent features of the on-line Annual Meeting in 2020, and making some changes to further elevate our meeting, most specifically to improve our ability to interact with one another. We are planning our 2021 Annual Meeting to include the following:
- All abstract presentations available for on-demand viewing prior to the week of the Annual Meeting
- Interactive educational weekend, including hands-on tutorials, case-based courses, and sessions on topics such as data security and career development
- Modified scientific sessions, highlighting oral presentations with both chat-based and smaller “face-to-face” Q&A sessions
- Poster sessions with opportunities to chat with the authors
- Daily plenary sessions on the topics of High-Performance MRI, Microstructure, CEST, and Nurturing Innovation
- A virtual EDI Forum
- “Lunch with a Legend” sessions
- Shhh…. An increased number of Secret Sessions (and more!)
Despite the challenges over the past year, our MRI community continues to be as vibrant as ever—this is clear from the multitude of workshops, abstract submissions, and energy from our membership. We know that the Annual Meeting is an important time for our community to come together; in fact, it’s our favorite professional activity (and one of our favorite yearly social activities as well!). As your Program Chair and President, our primary goal over the next four months is to ensure that the spirit of the Annual Meeting is embodied in our 2021 virtual meeting. We can’t wait to “see” you there!
Tim Leiner, President Nicole Seiberlich, AMPC Chair
Registration opens Wednesday, 27 January 2021