In response to the rapidly changing circumstances associated with the Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19), the AAGP Board of Directors has made the decision to cancel the 2020 AAGP Annual Meeting scheduled to take place March 13-16, 2020 in San Antonio, Texas. In doing so, the Board carefully weighed the risks to attendees and their families, colleagues, and patients. AAGP Leadership feels strongly that cancelling the conference is the responsible action to take. The health and safety of attendees, exhibitors, and patients is its top priority.
Conference attendees come from multiple foreign countries and from across the United States. In its deliberations, the Board learned that many institutions have placed domestic travel bans on their employees for non-essential travel, inclusive of conferences that affect almost 40% of AAGP attendees and session faculty. Other attendees have alerted AAGP that they are concerned about traveling. Attendees have also begun to cancel their hotel rooms in anticipation of not attending the conference. The threat of spreading COVID-19 to immune-compromised patients is real, and it is critical that we each do as much as possible to prevent this from occurring. Thus, the decision is consistent with many attendees’ professional and personal deliberations.
Please know this has been an incredibly difficult decision for the Board of Directors. AAGP is a not-for-profit organization that depends heavily on its annual conference to sustain its financial well-being. Like other professional organizations that hold conferences, AAGP has made up-front investments to plan and execute the conference. The circumstances associated with COVID-19 are changing daily and because the conference is just days away, AAGP cannot be released from its financial obligations to the venue and vendors contracted. Cancelling the conference has consequences not just for attendees, presenters, and exhibitors but for AAGP as well. Nevertheless, AAGP remains committed to its mission to advance the science and practice of geriatric psychiatry.