Coronavirus: American Psychiatric Association Cancels 2020 Annual Meeting

Caroline Cassels


March 16, 2020

Editor's note: Find the latest COVID-19 news and guidance in Medscape's Coronavirus Resource Center.

In the wake of travel restrictions and public health guidance regarding the COVID-19 pandemic, the American Psychiatric Association (APA) has announced it is canceling its 2020 annual meeting, which was scheduled to take place in Philadelphia on April 25–29.

"After careful deliberations, we came to the conclusion it is not possible to hold the APA's 2020 Annual Meeting," APA president Bruce Schwartz, MD, said in a release.

"A large number of our physician members are restricted by their respective institutions from traveling to conferences and meetings to help stop the spread of COVID-19, making it impossible for lecturers and registrants to attend the medical conference.

"The latest information from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and Pennsylvania health authorities supports our judgment that travel restrictions, meeting restrictions and social distancing are the required, safe and responsible actions. Public health must come first," Schwartz added.

The APA is the latest in a long list of medical organizations and societies to cancel its annual scientific conference because of the coronavirus pandemic. On March 13, the American Academy of Neurology announced it is canceling its annual scientific conference, which was scheduled to take place April 25–29 in Toronto.

The APA announced that in lieu of its annual meeting, its leadership will work with speakers to develop an online educational program this spring.

"We are in the midst of a public health emergency and must not add to the spread of the disease. Our doctors are needed to treat patients who are affected by the disease and its mental health impacts. While we understand that not holding the meeting may interfere with attaining required CME credits, we are working to disseminate scientific knowledge online," said APA CEO and Medical Director Saul Levin, MD, MPA.

Further details regarding the cancellation, including information about registration and refunds, can be found on the APA website.

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