The American Heart Association (AHA) has reversed its earlier decision to offer a hybrid format for the 2021 Scientific Sessions in Boston in November, going instead with an all-virtual event again this year.
"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," Manesh R. Patel, MD, chair of AHA Committee on Scientific Sessions Program, said in a September 16 letter to members.
"As it has consistently throughout the pandemic, the American Heart Association continues to prioritize health and safety of its volunteers and staff and all supporters and participants in its scientific meetings," Patel said.
The meeting dates remain the same: Saturday, November 13 through Monday, November 15.
The AHA Scientific Sessions typically draw thousands of scientists and medical professionals from around the world, and this year will mark only the second time in nearly 100 years that Scientific Sessions will be fully virtual.
Since May 2020, the AHA has held several successful all-digital meetings. In addition to the 2020 AHA Scientific Sessions, these include the Quality of Care and Outcomes Research (QCOR) Scientific Sessions 2020, Basic Cardiovascular Science Scientific Sessions 2020 and 2021, Hypertension Scientific Sessions 2020, and the International Stroke Conference 2021.
With more than 500 sessions planned, the 2021 all-virtual Scientific Sessions will "provide a robust and meaningful scientific and globally accessible exchange in an interactive virtual format," Patel said.
"This approach will not only help ensure the health and safety of our attendees by reducing associated travel and multiday 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," Patel added.
As in previous all-virtual meetings, programming for the 2021 Scientific Sessions will be presented in a combination of formats, including live, simulated-live, and on-demand offerings.
Registrants currently scheduled to attend the in-person event in November will be reimbursed the difference between the in-person fee and the virtual-only fee.
Registrants are not required to make this request; reimbursements will occur automatically and will be processed within 6 to 8 weeks, the AHA says. An email will be sent to each registrant confirming reimbursement.
All hotel accommodations booked and secured in conjunction with Scientific Sessions will be automatically cancelled. No action is required to cancel your hotel reservation. Cancellations will take 2 to 4 weeks to process and an email will be sent confirming the hotel cancellation.
Attendees who made a hotel reservation outside of the official Scientific Sessions hotel reservation system must cancel the reservation directly with the hotel.
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Cite this: AHA Reverses Course on Hybrid 2021 Sessions for All-Virtual Event - Medscape - Sep 17, 2021.