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Virtual ‘Highlights’ Event Replaces APA Annual Meeting


What your doctor is reading on Medscape.com:

APRIL 20, 2020 — In place of the American Psychiatric Association (APA) 2020 Annual Meeting, which was canceled on March 15 because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the organization is now planning a free, 2-day virtual event featuring top experts in the field.

The scaled-down event, known as the Spring Highlights meeting, will be livestreamed April 25 and 26 and feature 15 presentations on a variety of topics including mental health during the COVID-19 pandemic, use of telepsychiatry, and research challenges, among others.  

Featured speakers will include Patrice Harris, MD, president of the American Medical Association; George Koob, PhD, director of the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism; and Otto Kernberg, MD, New York-Presbyterian Hospital and psychiatry professor at Cornell University.

CEO of the APA Saul Levin, MD, said the virtual event isn’t a full substitute for the APA Annual Meeting, but will include essential information nonetheless.

“There were some speakers that we felt the membership should still hear because of their leadership in the psychiatric field and because of the subject of their talks,” Levin told Medscape Medical News.

“It’s not an Annual Meeting but it is the meeting that will at least let our members have the chance to still get their continuing medical education and board maintenance of certification credits,” he added.

Program for Changing Times 

“This has been an opportunity to shape a program to the times that physicians now find themselves in,” Tristan Gorrindo, MD, director of the APA’s Division of Education and a child psychiatrist in Washington, DC, told Medscape Medical News.

Recordings of these presentations may be available later in the year, but possibly at a fee. So clinicians should plan to watch their favorite sessions or even the entire event live, Gorrindo added.

Levin said the APA anticipates about 3000 participants for the livestream, which will run as an online webinar. However, viewers need to register in advance for the free event on the APA’s website.

Presenters will broadcast from home and share slides via their desktop screens. Moderators throughout the 2 days will be members of the APA’s Scientific Program Committee. They will also monitor questions that viewers can ask via typed chat sessions at the end.

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