A rise in coronavirus, COVID-19, has prompted the American Heart Association (AHA) to cancel plans for an in-person, annual meeting in November and again host a virtual meeting instead.
September 20, 2021 — The American Heart Association (AHA) announced Sept. 16 it decided to convert from a planned in-person 2021 annual meeting to a virtual meeting due to rising numbers of cases of the COVID-19 delta variant. The AHA Scientific Sessions is planned for Saturday, Nov. 13 through Monday, Nov. 15, 2021. This conversion to virtual includes the Scientific Sessions, the Resuscitation Science Symposium (ReSS), and the Quality of Care and Outcomes Research (QCOR) Scientific Sessions
The in-person meeting was originally planned to take place in Boston, but rising numbers of COVID cases from the Delta variant since July has again raised safety concerns.
"The decision to shift to an interactive virtual event from the previously planned, blended in-person and online experience, is a consequence of the continuing surge of the Delta variant of the COVID-19 virus, requiring many healthcare professionals to attend to patient needs in their community," explained Manesh Patel, M.D., FAHA, chair of the Scientific Sessions Program Committee, chief of the division of cardiology and chief of the division of clinical pharmacology at Duke University School of Medicine in Durham, North Carolina.
The American Heart Association said it is prioritizing the health and safety of its volunteers and staff, and all supporters and participants in its scientific meetings.
The AHA said the association’s Board of Directors and the Committee on Scientific Sessions Programming have experience creating meaningful virtual events, having successfully provided an all-virtual experience in 2020. The 2021 events are planned to again provide a robust and meaningful scientific and globally accessible exchange in an interactive virtual format. This approach will not only help ensure the health and safety attendees by reducing associated travel and multi-day large public gatherings, but the virtual format may actually improve the access and reach of the event to international attendees who may not presently be able to attend in person, the AHA said.
The AHA said it is committed to providing rich, cutting-edge and valuable scientific content across more than 500 planned sessions. Patel said the virtual platform offers the opportunity to reach more people than than usually, in real-time and asynchronously, with live chats that encourage meaningful dialogue about the science shared.
Registration for AHA 2021 is now open.
For more information: ScientificSessions.org