Thank you to the organizers for putting together a vibrant and informative fully virtual AHA Basic Cardiovascular Sciences Scientific Sessions 2020 (BCVS20) conference this year!
While I have attended many meetings and classes virtually this year, BCVS20 was the first major scientific conference that I attended virtually and I did not know what to expect. I was pleasantly surprised by the many benefits of participating in the meeting virtually but there were many things that I missed about attending meetings in person.
I enjoyed the convenience of being able to work in specific sessions into my usual work week of attending clinic, doing lab experiments, and attending classes and into my personal life. Additionally, I liked being able to watch some sessions in the comfort of my home, sitting next to my dog. Similar to fellow AHA blogger, Dr. Mo Al-Khalaf, I also appreciated being able to easily jump between many live sessions without having to run across a large convention center. Moreover, I felt that it was sometimes easier to pay attention to certain talks without the distraction of being in a crowded area with many simultaneous presentations. I was impressed by the quality of the presenters’ talks and efforts by the participants to stimulate lively discussions.
I did not take time off to attend the meeting and I felt that the week of BCVS20 was extremely busy for me. Although I appreciate the convenience of having a fully virtual meeting, I miss being able to take a short reprieve from some of my usual responsibilities to give my undivided attention to specific sessions. Furthermore, due to my other obligations, I was unable to attend some of the very valuable, live early career sessions. However, the ability to rewatch the BCVS20 sessions (which are available for 90 days after the meeting) will allow me to catch up on many of the sessions that I missed!
While there are many benefits to attending in-person meetings, not least of which is being able to see your friends and colleagues in person, having a virtual meeting allows people throughout the world to conveniently participate in and attend a meeting. I hope that conferences in the future will continue to be a hybrid in-person and virtual format to accommodate everyone’s busy schedules.
For those of you who attended the BCVS20 meeting, don’t forget to provide your feedback on the meeting via the link emailed to you. If you missed registering for the meeting, it is not too late to get access to the recorded sessions. I hope to continue seeing many of you either virtually or in-person during future AHA meetings!
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Sasha Prisco is a Cardiovascular Disease Fellow and Physician-Scientist Trainee at the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis, MN. She is currently doing her postdoctoral research fellowship and is studying the molecular mechanisms of right ventricular dysfunction in pulmonary arterial hypertension. She is a member of the Council of Cardiopulmonary, Critical Care, Perioperative and Resuscitation (3CPR). @SashaPrisco