After a long year of online events and activities, the country is opening up. ANESTHESIOLOGY 2021, taking place in San Diego from October 8-12, will be a fresh opportunity to learn, share, and reconnect.

We're looking forward to meeting again face to face at ANESTHESIOLOGY 2021. And we're excited about the impressive lineup of educational and networking opportunities we have planned. Learning and networking are front and center at this important event – an event made stronger by the funding of our corporate sponsors.

“Because of the generous support of our corporate partners, we're able to deliver a cutting-edge, evidence-based meeting featuring an exhibit hall designed to maximize learning, networking, and sharing,” said Santhanam Suresh, MD, MBA, FASA, First Vice Chair of the Committee on Annual Meeting Oversight.

Let's face it: Virtual is great, but it's no substitute for real-life interactions or the value found in bringing leaders, learners, and sponsors together in one vibrant space. And when it comes to ANESTHESIOLOGY, there will be no more lively and meaningful space than the exhibit hall. In fact, according the the ANESTHESIOLOGY 2019 post-meeting attendee survey, the exhibit hall was the most frequently visited area at ANESTHESIOLOGY 2019, where attendees went to learn about products, services, and resources in anesthesiology.

This year's exhibit hall promises to be a destination you won't want to miss. It will be loaded with opportunities to reconnect and learn more about current research in a non-CME setting with a wide variety of presenters and topics.

“The exhibit hall will be the place to see research in action,” said Susan Carlson, ASA's Chief Learning Officer. “It will be hands-on and interactive. There will be many opportunities to learn about new products and innovations, test your skills with equipment like virtual reality, check out applications of new products, and reconnect with colleagues, new and old.”

With longer, unopposed hours – and free early-riser coffee – this year's exhibit hall program has been expanded to allow you more time to engage with our corporate partners and each other. You can learn about innovative products and services that will help you save lives, save money, and increase efficiencies in your hospital or practice. Increased engagement equals greater understanding. And learning about the new innovations available from corporate partners will help you stay on the cutting edge of the specialty.

The exhibit hall isn't just about gathering information from corporate partners. It's a place to share what's important to you as well. Your knowledge, voice, and expertise can help our corporate partners better understand which products and services might best address the issues you face. Our corporate sponsors know interacting with anesthesiologists gives them access to some of the greatest thought leaders in our profession. So they'll be anxious to hear from you, but they also understand the importance of you interacting with your peers.

That's why this year's exhibit hall will include connection lounges throughout – great places to spend time in discussion with colleagues who energize and inspire you. A grand opening reception, Sunday happy hour, and a last day luncheon will provide even more opportunities to engage, explore, and connect with thought leaders, giants of industry, and old friends.

At ASA, we know that partnerships are important. The work we do together during the annual meeting increases trust, improves collaborations, and drives more efficient and meaningful interactions. Indeed, it's a win-win. To help you make the most of your exhibit hall experience, here are a few tips to consider:

  • Make a schedule: Once you choose the educational and networking events you would like to attend, add visiting the exhibit hall to your schedule.

  • Plan on attending Saturday's opening day reception and Sunday's evening reception hosted in the exhibit hall.

  • Grow your network. It'll be great to see old colleagues, but making new connections is one benefit of the annual meeting you won't want to miss.

  • The specialty is rich in innovative ideas, so be sure to seek out the corporate partners you know about and keep an eye open for new products and services.

  • And don't forget, the event is face to face, so no PJ bottoms or slippers!

“We're confident members will be reinvigorated by the energy, learning, science, and networking that will take place in this year's exhibit hall,” said Sheela Pai Cole, MD, Second Vice Chair of the Committee on Annual Meeting Oversight. “Because of our partnerships, the exhibit hall – and meeting – will be more robust and engaging, with a more diverse array of learning and networking opportunities, all delivered at a lower cost to members and the society because of the partnerships we've forged.”

After a year of rising to meet challenges we never could have imagined, collaborating with our corporate partners is more important than ever. Building relationships and learning from each other will impact the future of our profession, and ultimately our patients. It's time to reconnect. And thanks to the support of our corporate partners, this year's exhibit hall will help us do just that.

Debbie Greif is the ASA Director of Corporate Relations and Business Development.