AAS20 is Going Virtual
Due to the public health risk posed by the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) and the necessity to both limit its spread and mitigate further impact, the AAS leadership has decided to move the AAS20 in-person meeting to a virtual experience April 22 – 25, 2020.
For the past three weeks, the AAS Board of Directors, the AAS20 Planning Committee, and AAS Central Office Staff have carefully considered the health and well-being of our members, attendees and the general public, the organization’s legal and financial obligations, and the need to address diversity, equity and inclusion in suicidology. We have heard from members from overseas, members whose employers canceled non-essential travel, and individuals who have health concerns. Cancelling the in-person conference without an alternative would have substantial consequences not just for attendees, presenters, sponsors, and exhibitors, but for the financial health of AAS as an organization. After weeks of intentional and persistent negotiation with the conference venue, we are now able to move ahead with a virtual AAS20 conference.
So what happens now?
AAS, with its life-saving mission, and as the world’s largest membership-based suicide prevention organization, must continue to address equity, diversity and inclusion in suicidology, share experiences, foster the development of research, share the work of students, crisis centers, leaders in the field, and advocates, and to inspire innovation in the world of suicide prevention. AAS remains committed to fulfilling its mission to prevent suicide through innovation in science, transforming clinical application and enhancing careers through a network of scholars. To that end, we’re developing a virtual experience that will mirror our in-person conference. More details, access information, and options will be communicated to you all over the next couple of weeks. We thank you in advance for your understanding and patience as we work out the many details. If you’re currently registered, and wish to remain so, you’ll stay registered. If you’d like to register now that the conference is virtual, we’ll add that option here very soon.
AAS will, of course, provide refunds for those who require it. We are also waiving all fees for anyone cancelling. To cancel, please complete this form. We’ll also certainly work to provide the most satisfying conference to those who choose to proceed with a comprehensive virtual experience, including continuing education credits where applicable. If you had previously requested a refund, but wish to cancel that request and participate remotely, please email email@example.com. If you were scheduled to present and would like to present your session remotely, please complete the Virtual Presenter Form. Not all presentations will be eligible for virtual presentations.
If you would instead like to defer your registration fees to AAS21 in Orlando, April 21-24, 2021, that option is also available on the form here.
Our annual conference is very important to AAS and its ability to provide our members with all of the incredible benefits throughout the year. If you aren’t able to attend the virtual conference, we invite you to donate your registration fee rather than cancel outright to assist the association in our ongoing efforts. This will, of course, be tax deductible like all donations. If you choose to do so, please indicate this option on the form here.
Hotels and Travel
If you had a room reserved at the Portland Marriott Downtown, the hotel will be canceling all rooms in the block. Should you still plan on visiting Portland, please contact the hotel and let them know you would like to keep your reservation. We ask that you do not call the hotel for cancelling. The hotel will cancel all reservations and you will receive a cancellation confirmation to the email you have on file with them.
A Room with a View will handle all cancellations, as well. If you wish to rebook, please contact ARWAV directly (firstname.lastname@example.org or 1-800-780-4343).
Please send all additional questions to email@example.com
Equity Framework for the Conference
This year’s AAS conference looks at suicide prevention through an equity lens. Healthy People 2020 describes health equity as the “attainment of the highest level of health for all people. Achieving health equity requires valuing everyone equally with focused and ongoing societal efforts to address avoidable inequalities, historical and contemporary injustices, and the elimination of health and health care disparities.” It is different from equality, which suggests sameness. In the Call For Papers, we asked you to write an equity statement as part of your proposal. If you are interested in learning more about equity, we recommend the SAMHSA Office of Behavioral Health Equity for definitions and resources for specific populations. Also, the American Public Health Association’s (APHA) health equity website has additional resources. Their fact sheet titled Creating the Healthiest Nation: Advancing Health Equity may be particularly useful in preparing your equity statement. We look forward to you working with us to understand, address, and ultimately eliminate disparities in suicide prevention!