April 15, 2020
This week, we were finally able to end our contract with the Marriott Hotel in Austin, Texas for the 2020 Annual Meeting. This means we are officially canceling the on-site meeting in Austin and revamping it to be delivered virtually during the same scheduled time period, May 29 – June 2, 2020.
We know many of you have wondered why we have not been crystal clear regarding plans for the meeting. We were under contract to have the meeting at the Marriott and if we announced that we were canceling prior to coming to an agreement with the Marriott, we were at risk of a $690,000 cancellation fee. This situation caused us to be in a very awkward position with you, our members, as we followed the advice of our legal team to remain silent until the negotiation was complete.
Sheri Sesay-Tuffour, CEO, and Marc Rucker, Vice President of Finance, have relentlessly negotiated with the Marriott for the past month while strategizing with the board and executive committee each step of the way. As late as last week, the Marriott stated they were reopening by May 4th and were open to having the meeting. Yesterday, under pressure from Sheri and Marc to “do the right thing,” they finally conceded.
The entire ACNM staff team has been busy creating an innovative and exciting plan to deliver a virtual annual meeting. They vetted companies to partner with and selected a virtual conference vendor. It is not what we planned; it is not what we are accustomed to; but it will be fun and productive in spite of our current situation. We hope to hold as many of our traditional events as possible, including education sessions, keynote speakers, an awards ceremony, exhibitors, and business meetings. All annual meeting volunteers involved in the planning process will be contacted by staff to review virtual program plans. We hope you will all plan to join us.
Continue to check your emails and the Annual Meeting website for registration details and a sneak peek of the virtual meeting experience. We hope you will join us!
April 3, 2020
Thank you for your patience and support during this unforeseeable pandemic. As we navigate uncharted waters, we remain committed to supporting our members and advancing the profession of midwifery. We would like to inform you that we are making contingency plans to hold the 65th ACNM Annual Meeting & Exhibition scheduled for May 29 – June 2, 2020 as a virtual, if not an in-person, conference.
Recognizing that the education presented at the Annual Meeting informs both immediate clinical practice and future research directions for clinical, global, leadership, racism and health disparities, and emerging ideas related to midwifery and women’s health; our plan is to prepare to be ready to deliver our education and research sessions using an interactive virtual format that respects the work of the ACNM Program Committee, contributions of authors and abstract presenters, and work of volunteer leaders who support programs such as the Awards Ceremony, Heart of Midwifery, Sister Circle, Annual Business Meeting and auctions led by the Political Action Committee, Midwives of Color, Division of Global, and ACNM Foundation, among other events.
We are working diligently within the constraints of our contracts and financial commitments to resolve the large number of operational details this change creates and to successfully deliver your awaited Annual Meeting. More information on plans for a virtual meeting experience, content, registration, refunds, and other details will be available in the coming weeks and posted on the Annual Meeting website. At this time, please review our initial FAQ below and contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org so we can further address your questions.
We thank you again for your support, and for adapting with us to deliver our signature and most memorable event.
When would the virtual Annual Meeting take place?
We are currently planning to be able to present a virtual meeting that delivers the latest midwifery and women’s health educational content. The virtual meeting would be planned to take place during the dates of the originally-scheduled in-person meeting, May 29 – June 2, 2020.
How will the sessions be presented?
Sessions would be presented through a virtual, interactive meeting management system and delivered to attendees via live stream and webinar sessions. More details and a demo of the planned virtual meeting experience will be available to members in the coming weeks.
What happens to my registration fee?
As we plan to be ready to deliver the new virtual meeting, we will be formulating new reduced registration fees. Registrants will have the ability to apply their current registration fees to the virtual annual meeting. With the reduced amount, a credit will be refunded to your account. You may also opt to apply credits as a donation to the ACNM Foundation. An email will be sent to all registrants in the next few weeks with more information to help attendees decide their plans.
How do I register for the virtual meeting?
We are planning to send an email to attendees in the next few weeks with more information on how to register under our contingency plan for the virtual meeting.
What if I have to or decide to cancel my registration?
We understand that many of you work in hospitals and are being called to duty, or are following increased protocols to safeguard your patients and their newborns, or are being expected to follow increased restrictions to avoid being exposed and transmitting the risk of any such exposure into hospitals, health clinics, birth centers, and other health facilities. If you must, or, if due to the contingency plans being pursued for us to be ready to hold the meeting virtually, you decide, to cancel your registration, please contact ACNM’s registration provider, ATS at 985-801-0678 or email@example.com. All processing fees will be waived.
How can I cancel my hotel room reservation?
All individual hotel reservations booked through ACNM’s official housing vendor, Orchid, would be canceled by ACNM without penalty. If you wish to call Orchid directly to cancel your registration, they can be reached at 888-665-1368 from 7:00 AM – 6:00 PM MST, Monday – Friday.
Registrants who booked housing through other sources or directly with other hotels are responsible for cancelling their own reservations.
Are you refunding flights?
Participants are responsible for cancelling their airline tickets. Each airline has its own policies regarding refunds and vouchers for future travel. You will need to work with the airline carrier directly to determine if you qualify.
How does this change affect speakers?
Approved speakers will still present at the virtual meeting. Speakers will receive specific guidance on virtual session planning under separate cover. If you have immediate questions, please contact Events at firstname.lastname@example.org.
How does this change affect the poster session?
Posters will still be presented at the virtual Annual Meeting. Poster presenters will receive specific guidance on virtual session planning under separate cover. If you have immediate questions, please contact Events at email@example.com.
How does this change affect exhibitors?
Exhibitors, vendors, and similar audiences will be able to participate in virtual exhibitor and vendor activities associated with the virtual meeting. These groups will receive communications under separate cover. If you have immediate questions, please contact Mark Harvey at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Will the annual meeting confidentiality policy stay in place now that the in-person meeting is cancelled?
ACNM’s prior policies will remain in effect since abstracts will still be presented.
Whom should I contact if I have questions?
For annual meeting related questions, please contact email@example.com. For membership questions, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.