The Secret Sauce for Success for the #AAGL20 Virtual Global Congress
Sometimes nothing happens in a decade, then everything happens in a week.
All of us have changed our office practices to now include virtual visits. It is incredible that worldwide there have been one billion virtual patient visits as a result of Covid-19. The new adage is, “the doctor will call you now.” At my hospital, prior to Covid-19, only 2% of office visits were virtual and now 75% of visits are zoom or telephonic. We all wear masks, constantly wash our hands, and order Covid-19 testing for all elective surgical procedures.
The executive board, led by this year’s AAGL Scientific Program Chair, Dr. Ted T.M. Lee, had to abruptly pivot. At first, we all thought that it was incredulous that our beloved AAGL meeting format would need to change. We waited, prayed, chanted and yearned that Covid-19 would vanish and that our robust meeting would proceed as it has for the last 48 years.
But alas, we had to pivot. That’s my new word, pivot. We have entered the brave new world of the post-pandemic normal. We have pivoted to a new existence and to a new format for our annual meeting. We are confident that you will appreciate and value the changes that we’ve made.
I marveled as everyone rallied together. At first, I thought the entire AAGL office, executive committee, and members were on high dose steroids. Creative ideas, new formats, and the willingness to try new frameworks was palpable. All too often on the conference calls we heard the gavel striking a desk, “order please—only one person can speak.” Everyone eagerly wanted to share their ideas.
A myriad of ideas were fast-tracked including: More live surgeries and more pre-recorded surgery procedures than ever in our history will be demonstrated! We will provide translation of the lectures to multiple languages! Most aspects of the meeting will be archived for later viewing—therefore increasing the number of viewers all over the world in different time zones! All this will increase our international audience as well as our US audience who can view when they are not working!
The AAGL technical guru team, headed by Roman Bojorquez, AAGL Director of Operations, have entered the brave new digital world. He and his team have embraced the technology and organizational challenges with gusto. When I asked him how we will memorialize this event—he said, “No problem, we are going to have an AAGL 2020 photo gallery!” So…..look your best! I guess we can’t come to the meeting in pajamas!
Our format offers amazing new opportunities. We will reach a wider audience and reduce our carbon footprint due to less travel. Chatrooms controlled by our moderators will give everyone a chance to ask their questions. This new format provides us a way to connect with each other at a time when we need each other the most.
I will miss the impromptu meetings while having coffee and bagels, dinners, and time together in the exhibit halls. But, I’m proud of our team of teams who will bring you a novel, educational, and fun meeting.
See you soon.