Now that 2020 is behind us, PSA is diligently working on plans for 2021. The biggest of which is the 2021 PSA Annual Meeting, in Omaha. To answer the question “What do we do in 2021?”, the PSA Board appointed a task force, conducted an attendee survey, completed countless hours of research and risk assessment, and of course, have been following the recommendations of the CDC and WHO. Yet, given all of this due diligence, we just could not see a way to hold a safe and successful hybrid meeting for all PSA attendees and speakers in 2021. There are simply still too many factors and unknowns to consider, especially when we take into account the international nature of our meeting.
Therefore, the PSA Board has made the very difficult decision to host a fully virtual meeting again in 2021. Although July is still several months away, it is in the best interest of our attendees, speakers and community that we hold one more virtual meeting amid the Coronavirus Pandemic. This decision is being made early to provide an experience that resonates with the feedback attendees provided following last year’s first-ever Virtual Annual Meeting.
Enhancements for 2021
This year you can expect the same features provided in 2020: live symposia, abstracts/poster sessions, social events, and live online technical assistance. However, based on your feedback, PSA is also working hard to provide the following enhancements:
This feature was limited to online attendees last year in an instant messenger format. We are working to provide live-video chat capabilities, messaging to offline attendees, and more accessible chat functionality with presenters of abstracts and sessions.
Social events are also a crucial component of the in-person Annual Meeting. We will be working on a way to develop social events that are engaging and beneficial for both new and seasoned meeting attendees.
The primary reason we gather is to share and take in the latest science within our field. The following scientific presentation formats will be enhanced to provide more exposure and opportunities for attendees than was available in 2020.
Feedback highlighted that attendees want concurrent symposium sessions. The virtual environment offers multiple ballrooms for us to host simultaneous symposia. With all symposia being recorded live, the presentations will still be made available 24 hours following the live airing. This gives attendees even more exposure to the science.
Navigation, filters, presenter communication, and more are all aspects of presentations that will be improved for this year's meeting. We will be working to bring these capabilities to the virtual space making it easier for you to find the content you seek easily and efficiently.
PSA is working to bring back the Student Competition in 2021 through the virtual space. This was a component missed in 2020 and we believe we have the technology to replicate the in-person competition virtually.
Last year’s PSA leadership and chicken icons were an engaging and fun way to entice attendees to explore the virtual environment. This year, we will be working to bring even more functionality and fun to the virtual space through gamification and social events.
The 2021 Awards Ceremony will recognize all of this year’s award winners and give them an opportunity to provide thanks for their achievements. The event will be held live in one of the ballrooms and all meeting attendees present will have the opportunity to participate in an exclusive gamification experience!
Because this decision has been made early, we are excited to open registration earlier this year. Attendees may begin registering for the Virtual 2021 PSA Annual Meeting in March 2021.