Thomas E. Rohrer, MD
As the end of the year approaches, it offers us the opportunity to reflect on the present year and look forward to the next. While 2020 has been indelibly marked by the coronavirus pandemic, there have been some silver linings and a lot of very positive happenings at the American Society for Laser Medicine and Surgery.
To begin with, I am very excited to share with everyone that the ASLMS 2021 Virtual Annual Conference program schedule is set for April 24 and 25th and promises to be one of the best ever! Drs. Anne Chapas, Nathan Uebelhoer, and Merete Haedersdal have done an amazing job in putting together a spectacular agenda. The program contains 40 hours of CME content, some non-CME favorites, as well as new industry webinars, videos, and demonstrations. This virtual format will feature both live sessions over the course of the two days as well as numerous on-demand sessions.
While I am sure we would all like to meet in person, I believe a virtual program also has its advantages. Those who may not have been able to take the time off of work or away from the family to travel will now be able to attend virtually with a lot more flexibility. Attendees will be able to access all of the on-demand content, including our world leading abstract presentations, for two months following the live conference.
One of the most enjoyable aspects of our Annual Conference is the networking we are able to do with both old friends and new colleagues; sharing ideas that stimulate innovation and advance patient care. We do not want to lose this valuable interaction by going virtual and will have many of the live sessions offer audience Q&A and small group break outs following the presentations. Special sessions and events during the live conference will also bring the entire group together throughout the day. In addition, attendees, speakers, and industry partners will be able to meet in chat rooms on the virtual platform and on the companion mobile app.
As the program continues to take shape, we will keep you informed of all of the details. In the meantime, I am pleased to share updates on several other exciting developments for the Society in the recent months.
With the idea of increasing our membership with a greater array of specialties, we have established a President's Multispecialty Advisory Council. We want to attract and retain members of all specialties using lasers and energy-based devices. Our first meeting was held in mid-November and brought together key opinion leaders from multiple different fields who provided some great ideas and input on current activities with energy-based devices in their specialties. The group discussed potential actions ASLMS can take to establish or expand our foothold in their specialties. I look forward to keeping you posted on all of the new developments from this council.
In light of everything that has occurred in 2020, we also decided it was past time that ASLMS established a committee to enhance and strengthen the diversity of our society. On November 10, the Board of Directors approved the formation of our new Inclusion, Diversity, Equity and Accessibility (IDEA) Committee. The IDEA Committee will work to promote a diverse, equitable, accessible, and inclusive culture for our members, industry colleagues and potential members. At inception, the committee will be challenged to complete a self-assessment of the organization to better understand where the ASLMS is in our efforts to be an inclusive organization. As part of that process, they will determine strengths, weaknesses, and opportunities to enhance diversity and inclusiveness within the ASLMS. President-Elect Dr. Henry Chan and I are in the process of appointing the seven committee members so that they can start working before April and continue their work throughout the year.
The more you put into anything, the more you will get out of it. If you have been thinking about becoming more involved with the ASLMS, serving on one of our many committees is a great place to start. While the official Call for Volunteers deadline has passed, you can still express interest by reviewing the committees that are open to volunteers and letting Michelle Morrison know. Become more engaged and make a difference!
The monthly LSM Journal Club is well underway. Each session highlights four articles from a recent issue of LSM and is moderated by one of our resident liaisons along with an expert panel and guest authors. This virtual format has been outstanding and gives an opportunity to gain better insights and perspectives by diving deeper into the studies. If you have not had a chance to catch one of the sessions, watch your ASLMS email news for registration details for the upcoming sessions and be sure to sign up. Our Journal Club is generally held the first Monday of each month and is free to all our members.
I am also very excited about the launch of our new ASLMS Fundamentals Webinar Series! The monthly series will begin next month and be available through the ASLMS Online Learning Center. Each month will focus on a particular topic with a recorded presentation followed by a live Q&A segment. The series will begin with general topics such as Laser Safety and Laser Tissue Interactions and will expand to cover all classifications of devices in multispecialty topics, including Cutaneous, Gynecology, Urology, Physical Therapy, Photobiomodulation and other applications.
As always, educational opportunities through the ASLMS allow you to stay at the cutting edge of all the latest advances and breakthroughs in the field. We will continue to explore and develop new topics and formats to provide these advances to you.
I wish all of you a happy and healthy holiday season and all of the best in 2021.