Your Roving Reporter: Alliance Day 2

“So what does it feel like to be there?”

This is a question that I’ve gotten texted to me from a lot of people who usually attend the Alliance conference but, for obvious reasons, opted out this year.

So here’s the short answer: It’s weird. It’s awkward. But it’s also a relief.

Weird because this is the first conference of any size that any of us have been to in the last 2 years. Awkward to look around at a room full of masked attendees – I still have not gotten used to this. A relief because most of us who came out to Denver are thankful that we stuck with our decision to attend the Alliance conference despite the scales tipping so far into the “CANCEL!!” bucket in the last 2 weeks.

There is some sense of normalcy about being here. I was told that there were only 5 presentations that had to be scrapped due to presenter cancellations. I expected the number to be much higher. There has been some duct tape put on some proposed panels to fill in holes, but there is a still a nice combination of education being offered at every time slot.

Personally, being here has been a much-needed professional pick-me-up. I always feel creatively energized going to live educational events such as the Alliance, and I have already come up with a handful of good ideas for the future just by sitting around professional colleagues.

Now for our Roving Reporter interviews. Here are today’s two questions:

  1. How concerned should the CME community be about the long-term impact of COVID-19 on large, in-person conferences?
  2. What new hobby you have either picked up or honed in the last 2 years?

Ginny Jacobs
Director, Strategy and Performance
AXDEV Group Inc.

How concerned should the CME community be about the long-term impact of COVID-19 on large, in-person conferences?

There definitely needs to be some concern because it’s a model that we’ve all been accustomed to, but I think there is a real opportunity to re-think what has worked in the past. As they say, you should never let a good crisis go to waste.

What new hobby you have either picked up or honed in the last 2 years?

I wish I could tell you I learned to cook, but this is what it looks like when I tried (shows band aid on thumb). But I’m still working on it. Maybe after another year of the pandemic.

Brian Thompson, MBA, FACEHP
Director of Education
American Academy of Physical Medical & Rehabilitation

How concerned should the CME community be about the long-term impacts of COVID-19 on large, in-person conferences?

In the long-term, no one should be scared, but in the short term, we have to embrace the change.

What new hobby you have either picked up or honed in the last 2 years?

Fire building. We’ve been doing a lot of camping.

Emily Zyborowicz
Manager, Education & Research Strategy
PRIME Education

How concerned should the CME community be about the long-term impact of COVID-19 on large, in-person conferences?

I have been thinking about this question a lot. But overall, I don’t think we need to be too concerned because we are all very adaptable. We all learn, adapt, and continue to improve. We have to be resilient.

What new hobby you have either picked up or honed in the last 2 years?

I moved recently, so I haven’t had time for a lot of new hobbies. Maybe reading more for pleasure?

Marc Crawford
CEO
Array

How concerned should the CME community be about the long-term impacts of COVID-19 on large, in-person conferences?

Honestly, looking at what’s going on with Omicron and how we’re slowly learning to live with COVID, I am not terribly worried about the long-term impact. I’m a strong believer in people wanting to come together. This conference has shown me the excitement that comes from human interaction. Whether or not this happens immediately or it takes a series of years, I truly believe that large, in-person conferences will be back. Virtual has its place, but the networking, the interactions, and the ideas come up when you are sitting down with people only occur when you are face-to-face.

What new hobby you have either picked up or honed in the last 2 years?

During COVID, I bought a VR Oculus headset “for my kids.” Daddy used the Oculus headset to play games and I’m now hooked on VR. Don’t tell anyone, but I brought the VR headset with me and I’m playing games between sessions. (Note from Scott: Whoops)

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