A few months ago as the 70th ACR Annual Scientific Meeting came to a close, I found myself looking back to 1975. Here are some highlights from that year:
- The National Arthritis Act established a National Commission on Arthritis and Related Musculoskeletal Diseases (NIAMDD); authorized $2 million to develop a long-range plan involving research, training, services, and data systems; established an associate director for arthritis in NIAMDD; and provided three-year authorizations for arthritis screening, detection, prevention, and referral projects and for arthritis research and demonstration centers;
- One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest received an Oscar for best picture;
- “Love Will Keep Us Together,” by Captain and Tennille received a Grammy for best record of the year; and
- I attended my first ACR annual meeting in New Orleans.
That’s right, my first ACR annual meeting was the 39th annual meeting of the American Rheumatism Association Section of the Arthritis Foundation, held in New Orleans in June 1975. About 2,000 individuals attended, and it was held in a hotel—not a convention center, a hotel! At this three-day meeting in 1975, attendees had access to 306 abstracts, four plenary sessions, 12 concurrent sessions, and two workshops. In lieu of an opening reception, attendees were treated to a harbor cruise and Creole supper aboard a Mississippi river boat. I was a fellow-in-training at the University of Pittsburgh, and my best memories of that meeting are of the time we spent with my chief and then–ACR first vice president and president-elect, Gerald Rodnan, MD, sampling the oyster dishes at Mosca’s Restaurant.
Over 30 Years of Growth
It’s now 32 years later. I attended the 2006 annual meeting as ACR president-elect, and how this meeting has changed! Not just in numbers of attendees (more than 13,000) or in the number of abstracts presented (holding steady at more than 2,000), but in the evolution of the kinds of programs in which attendees can participate. The addition of clinical symposia, the vast number of meet-the-professor and workshop sessions, updates in internal medicine topics, the Year in Review literature discussion, and so much more have turned ours into a meeting that serves the needs of all our members.
Being at the meeting is an experience in itself. Nowhere else in the world do you have the opportunity to attend a variety of outstanding educational sessions, compare experiences with colleagues from more than 80 countries, and witness provocative exchanges between individuals, and celebrated scientific experts.