After careful consideration, the College has made the difficult decision to cancel ACC.20/WCC in Chicago, IL, scheduled to take place March 28 – 30.
Our decision to cancel our flagship annual event was not taken lightly. The ACC has been closely monitoring updates and recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the World Health Organization (WHO), as well as state and local governments. In the last week, we've also learned of the increasing number of travel advisories and restrictions being placed on health care providers and hospitals and institutions in the U.S. and globally.
The health, safety and well-being of our members, staff, exhibitors, faculty, and the patients we serve is of paramount importance. With an ever-increasing number of ACC members on the front lines of preparing and reacting to the COVID-19 outbreak, we believe it is in the best interest of everyone to cancel the meeting and ensure our members are able to do what they do best – help and heal.
This is a first for us. We have never not held an Annual Scientific Session live and in person in the last 69 years. The Annual Scientific Session is eagerly awaited by all members from seasoned experts to first time abstract presenters. Hundreds of participants have been preparing their work to present live. ACC.20/WCC is also the time to personally engage with experts, old friends and new colleagues, as well as personally visit exhibits of the newest technologies. With that in mind, ACC leadership and staff are hard at work to not only provide COVID-19 guidance and preparedness tips to the entire cardiovascular care team, we are also developing ways to recognize our award winners and deliver the important science and education from ACC.20/WCC directly to you.
Look for more details soon on our virtual plans for delivering elements of the ACC.20/WCC program, as well as refund processes and options in the coming days. We have prepared an initial FAQ document to help with answering travel, refund and other questions. This document will continue to be updated. Of note, existing embargoes and plans for simultaneous publications remain in place and are subject to the existing embargo policies.
This is a unique time for us all, but ACC members and the cardiovascular profession as a whole have a long history of innovation and rising to meet whatever challenges come our way. Please know that the College is here for you and we will not waver in our commitment to provide the resources, education and support you need to deliver the best care for your patients.
Last, but certainly not least, a meeting the size of ACC.20/WCC is years in the making and involves hundreds of member volunteers and staff, as well as generous support from partners and stakeholders and close collaboration with our host city. Please join me in recognizing all of these individuals, particularly ACC.20/WCC Chair Andrew Kates, MD, FACC, and Vice-Chair Pamela Morris, MD, FACC, as well as World Heart Federation President Karen Sliwa, MD, PhD, FACC, WHF President-Elect Fausto Pinto, MD, FACC, and WHF CEO Jean Luc Eisele and his team, for all of their work.
Thank you for all that you do every day to serve your patients and your communities.
Richard J. Kovacs, MD, FACC