The AACAP (American Academy of Child and Adult Psychiatry) had its Annual Meeting in Hawaii in October, 2001. While there had initially been considerable reluctance on the part of the AACAP administration and Board, we scheduled this meeting about 7-8 years ago. Due to the novelty of the location, the distance and the logistics of moving staff, exhibits, etc, we expected a modest meeting in Hawaii. To beef it up a bit, we developed a collaboration with the Royal College of Psychiatrists in Australia and New Zealand and planned a joint meeting with them along with extending special invitations to our colleagues in the Pacific Rim. While the numbers of folks expected to be involved seemed small, we felt that this would add to the ambience of the meeting.
In short, we expected a modest but successful meeting.
Much to our surprise, the number of submissions for our program deadline was up over the previous year by nearly 50% – this was on top of a record year for submissions in NY in 2000. Professionals from throughout the United States, Europe and Asia were submitting papers and symposia for presentation in record numbers.
The record number of paper submissions was followed by record meeting preregistration and hotel pick-up. Even more interesting was the amount of extra stays before and after the meeting, helping our hotel situation even more. We were on track for the largest AACAP meeting ever – and not only with the largest American registration but also the largest international registration ever.
Then, of course, came 9/11/01. However, in the final analysis, we meet our full block and exceeded our expectations. While the meeting was no longer the largest in our history, it was large by our standards and ranks in the top 4 in terms of attendance. Given that the meeting was 6 weeks after 9/11, this was remarkable.
Our exhibit hall was oversubscribed. We could have sold more booths if we had the space. In addition to exhibits, it was quite clear that the pharmaceutical companies had a much larger presence at the meeting than at any previous meeting.
Overall, we had wonderful sense of cooperation, great ideas and a pleasantness, warmth and kindness that is unparalled, in my experience. Add all this to the warm weather, beautiful beaches, and the generally excellent hospitality in Hawaii, as well as the opportunity for spectacular side trips, I think that this was one of our best meetings (if not the best meeting) ever. We would happily return and, indeed, are working on just that possibility, at the present time.
– Bennett L. Leventhal, M.D. Irving B. Harris Professor of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry Professor of Psychiatry and Pediatrics Director, Child and Adolescent Psychiatry Director
– Sonia Shankman Orthogenic School Vice Chairman, Department of Psychiatry The University of Chicago