ACR Convergence pivots to all-virtual, interactive format

In keeping with global efforts to stem the spread of SARS-CoV-2 (COVID-19), the American College of Rheumatology (ACR) will take its annual, face-to-face meeting virtual. ACR Convergence will take place online Nov. 5 - 9.

Originally slated for Nov. 6 - 11 in Washington, D.C., the ACR Convergence planning committee made the decision in late spring to host an all-virtual event in response to the pandemic affecting rheumatologists, rheumatology health professionals and patients with rheumatic diseases--along with the rest of the world.

In a few short months, dedicated ACR leaders, volunteers and talented staff have pivoted from our original plans to reimagine all aspects of our annual meeting, resulting in an all-virtual, interactive experience for the global rheumatology community. Our goal is to present the highest quality educational content in a way that allows everyone to participate, with the unified purpose of improving patient care."

Ellen Gravallese, MD, ACR President

As expected, there will be changes to how participants access and experience the meeting's content. This year, the daily educational sessions will be divided into two blocks (10:00 a.m. - 1:00 p.m. ET and 3:00 p.m. - 6:00 p.m. ET) to accommodate meeting participants in different time zones. Each educational block will include live content and time for Q&A, as well as opportunities for interaction with peers. Between educational time blocks, participants will have the opportunity to access community hubs, a unique feature that allows attendees to engage with experts and connect with peers who share the same research or clinical interests.

The ACR Convergence Opening Session has also been revised for this meeting. It will be held Thursday, Nov. 5 at 2:00 p.m. ET, and will include the presidential address, recognition of ACR's Gold Medal Award recipient, ARP Lifetime Achievement Award, the keynote lecture, and the always popular Year in Review. The 2020 keynote speaker is Eric J. Rubin, MD, editor-in-chief of The New England Journal of Medicine, chair of the Department of Immunology and Infectious Diseases at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, Boston, and the Irene Heinz Given Professor of Immunology and Infectious Diseases. Dr. Rubin will discuss COVID-19 and the convergence of infection and inflammation.

Among other things, participants will have opportunities to attend special events, visit the virtual exhibits and schedule private group meetings to connect with their peers. Additionally, all content will be available on demand following the live session so attendees can watch their choice of sessions at a later time.

The ACR is also honored to have Anthony S. Fauci, MD, ACR Master and director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases give a live presentation on Saturday, Nov. 7, at 4 p.m. ET. Dr. Fauci, who delivered the 2017 ACR keynote address, will share valuable insights on COVID-19.

"Future generations will refer to 2020 as a transformative year for education in rheumatology. We hope that the ACR Convergence annual meeting will reflect that transformation in the best possible way," said Gravallese.

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