A few months ago – what seems like a century – I daydreamed about all the good news that would come from our Annual Meeting in San Francisco. I was confident I’d be writing about how the meeting was a phenomenal success and how well SOCCA was positioned for the future.
Then, with the pandemic, everything changed. SOCCA, like practically everything around us, had to adapt to what we are all calling the new normal, which may not be new for long but rather the way things are going to be for the foreseeable future.
First, some present context: as a result of strategic initiatives and operational efficiencies established through our partnership with IARS and the engagement of our members, we are confronting this crisis from our strongest standing in more than a decade. The enthusiasm of our membership is at an all-time high, as demonstrated by their interest and participation in multiple initiatives and committees. As an example, we had received (and accepted) a record number of abstracts and case reports for our meeting in San Francisco.
The Annual Meeting has been, traditionally, our principal educational and networking offering, and perhaps the main reason for joining the Society. Therefore, our mission to foster the knowledge and practice of critical care medicine by anesthesiologists through education, research, and advocacy must continue in a different format.
To that end, I would like to share our short and medium range initiatives:
- The 2020 Annual Meeting lectures are being repackaged, updated, and combined with trending topics and will be available as online modules. These webinars will offer CME credits and will be available on demand after their initial streaming with live Q&A by the panelists. Our first webinar will be announced soon, and I assure you that the invited faculty are stellar. You won’t want to miss it!
- The Board Review course, which was to be offered for the first time the day prior to the Annual Meeting, will be presented online in several installments and remain available thereafter on demand. A benefit to this strategy is course availability closer to the Critical Care Board Exam, planned for October.
- We will be adding frequent articles and video presentations from previous annual meetings, as well as relevant publications from our field, also with CME credit. While everyone is interested in the latest and most effective way to fight COVID-19, there’s significant coronavirus fatigue, and we feel there’s ample opportunity to highlight relevant publications in other areas.
- We would like to increase representation of our younger generation of intensivists, as well as those colleagues in private practice, and plan to do so by organizing the subcommittees of Young Intensivists and Private Practice, with a special emphasis on networking, transition to practice, strategies for publication, and other practical topics.
We should recognize the work that our Board and committees (Education, Membership, Communications and Research) have continued to perform during this time. Volunteerism is very high, and each committee has increased its roster in order to perform their activities. The roster of each committee is being updated and will be published soon.
The Society continues its strong partnership with IARS, and the COVID-19 pandemic has afforded opportunities for the dissemination of ideas and rich discussions. If you haven’t done so, visit Docmatter https://www.docmatter.com where you’ll find answers to many of your questions and questions that you didn’t know you had. We also continue to partner with the Anesthesia Toolbox project, another excellent opportunity in which fellows and young graduates can participate.
Our Society is only as strong as the members who constitute it, and I will ask for your help, collaboration, and ideas to continue making SOCCA the Society we envision. We want our membership to be engaged and energetic. Please go to https://socca.org/get-involved/ or contact our association manager, Vivian Abalama (email@example.com), with suggestions and content that you would like to see as part of our offerings.
Come to think of it, perhaps what I daydreamed months ago is no longer a dream, it’s a reality (albeit in a slightly different form): SOCCA is as strong as ever, and its future is bright… wearing a mask for the time being.
Miguel Cobas, MD, FCCM