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plenary American Society for Radiation Oncology + Minerals, Metals, and Materials Society PRE CON A Patient Focus at ASTRO 2013


Radiating Knowledge ASTRO has shortened its educational sessions from 90 minutes to 75 minutes to give attendees more time to visit the exhibit hall.


MEETING The American Society for Radiation Oncology (ASTRO) will hold its 55th Annual Meeting at the Georgia World Congress Center in Atlanta on Sept. 22–25. With more than 11,000 attendees each year, ASTRO’s Annual Meeting is the top scientific event focused on radiation oncology in the world — attracting medical physicists, dosimetrists, radiation therapists, radiation oncology nurses and nurse practitioners, biologists, physician assistants, practice administrators, and other industry representatives. Last year’s ASTRO meeting in Bos-


ton drew more than 11,800 attendees and 221 exhibitors. With a focus on patient-centered care and physicians’ role in the quality and safety of care, the theme for this year’s meeting is “Patients: Hope, Guide, Heal.”


CHALLENGES Like many meetings, ASTRO has found it challenging to bal- ance the educational and scientific con- tent of its program with the dynamics of the exhibition, according to Michele Donohue, ASTRO’s director of meet- ings. “As our Annual Meeting schedule tends to be packed with educational


16 PCMA CONVENE JULY 2013


content,” Donohue said, “it becomes difficult to carve unopposed time in the schedule for attendees to visit and net- work in the exhibit hall.” That’s become especially challenging


because ASTRO recently condensed its meeting schedule from four-and-a-half days to just four. Looking for ways to adjust the schedule to allow dedicated time for attendees in the exhibit hall, ASTRO has shortened educational ses- sions from 90 minutes to 75.


INITIATIVES “For the past several years,” Donohue said, “there has been a focus to bring new technology and innovation to our meeting.” This year, ASTRO will continue to enhance the information it includes in the meet- ing’s smartphone app, incorporating abstracts along with the attendee-eval- uation and continuing-education-credit processes. “Our goal is to make the app a one-stop shop for all meeting-related information,” Donohue said. ASTRO is also changing up its


signage — switching from traditional to digital signage that not only is eco- friendly but also gives organizers the ability to more effectively deal with


session changes as they occur. And, rec- ognizing that many attendees have busy schedules that don’t allow them to leave their patients and practices, ASTRO will be webcasting a number of the gen- eral sessions live, including the keynote address, the presidential address, and the plenary session. Networking is a huge component of


the Annual Meeting, especially with the large number of attendees. The larg- est networking event is typically the poster-viewing session and reception, which draws more than 2,000 people “to network with colleagues and learn about the latest research and science in the field of radiation oncology,” Dono- hue said. During the reception, more than 1,400 posters will be displayed along with 1,000 more digital posters that attendees can search in the Virtual Poster Library, located at kiosk stations in the poster hall. During the reception, ASTRO also gives out awards to resi- dents with noteworthy posters in biol- ogy, physics, and clinical categories.


. — Katie Kervin For more information: convn.org/2013-astro PCMA.ORG


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