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Explore This IssueJanuary 2013
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WASHINGTON, D.C.—What was once an intimate gathering of rheumatologists that could easily fit into a single ballroom has matured into a six-day meeting of thousands of people that requires not just a large part of the 2.3 million square feet of meeting space in a convention center, but several ballrooms at a nearby hotel.
The 76th Annual Meeting of the ACR/ARHP took place at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center in from November 9–14 in Washington, D.C., and attracted 12,047 scientific attendees from all over the world, including researchers, clinicians, fellows, and health professionals.
While the ACR’s first annual meeting was held in New Orleans in 1932, it was decades later that Ron Olejko joined the staff to manage logistics for planning and implementing the 1976 meeting held at a Chicago Hyatt hotel. “It was just a regular meeting back then, self-contained in one tower of one hotel. This meeting has grown so much over the years. In those days, we had no exhibits and no posters,” said Olejko, who is now senior director of meeting services for the ACR. Within a few years of that Chicago meeting, the organization added industry exhibits and posters, “basically eight tabletop exhibits outside the ballroom door and 10 poster boards,” he added.
The 2012 ACR/ARHP Annual Meeting accepted 2,700 abstracts this year. After 12 premeeting courses were held on November 9–10, the meeting officially kicked off on Sunday, November 11, with the opening lecture by Robert D. Hicks, PhD, director of the Mütter Museum and Historical Medical Library at the College of Physicians in Philadelphia. Dr. Hicks’ speech, “Straight and Swift to My Wounded I Go: The Reality of the American Civil War Medicine,” focused on the history and development of emergency medicine in the United States. A total of 413 educational sessions took place over six days, including:
- The six-hour annual review course summarizing highlights of research in rheumatology over the past year;
- 89 “Meet the Professor” sessions;
- 74 ARHP-specific sessions; and
- 39 workshops.
In addition to becoming a longer, larger, and more complex meeting to organize, the ACR/ARHP Annual Meeting is attended by a more diverse mix of rheumatology professionals now than in the past, said Olejko. People from 102 countries attended the 2011 meeting, he noted.