President's Calling - Choosing Cities for Annual Meetings: Why You Don't Want to Miss San Antonio

Published March 22, 2018


March 2018

Choosing Cities for Annual Meetings: Why You Don't Want to Miss San Antonio

There are so many aspects of a location’s worthiness as an annual meeting site. Our executive director, staff, and meeting planners conduct a careful analysis of ideal locations for every annual meeting. Considerations such as access for participants and vendors, ample capacity for our ambitious programs, convention center and hotel proximity, cost, dates of other related meetings, and local cultural appeal judged on service and amenities are just a few of many considerations to assure a positive experience for all those who attend.

The Academy has seen enormous growth in the past 5-10 years. Although expansion/growth in the number of participants and expansion of programs is a wonderful thing, it does limit the number of cities where we can hold our meetings.

Some meeting sites that were suitable and successful in the past no longer meet our needs. Last year’s move to Chicago from the original Boston location was one example. (Many years ago we had a need for and contracted for only part of the convention center and could not secure the additional space we now require.) And, although Chicago's McCormick Place posed some real inconvenience with transportation to the convention center, we set another attendance record and the reviews on program content were outstanding.

Meeting sites have to be booked well in advance to ensure ideal dates and ample space. We are beginning to now look at meeting space for 2026, 2027 and 2028!

Here’s a list of our future meeting locations and dates:

San Antonio, TX - November 7-10, 2018
Orlando, FL - October 23-26, 2019
Nashville, TN - October 7-10, 2020
Boston, MA - November 3-6, 2021
San Diego, CA - October 26-29, 2022
New Orleans, LA - October 11-14, 2023
Washington, DC - November 6-9, 2024
Boston, MA - October 8-11, 2025

This year’s location, San Antonio, promises to be another banner meeting. The city has recently been selected by Forbes magazine as one of the “10 cities in the United States not to miss as a favorite domestic destination” by travel designers. Forbes states, “San Antonio’s proximity to Mexico plays an integral role in its sophisticated food, exceptional art and cultural traditions” (Forbes, March, 2018). After visiting the location recently for a Board meeting, I was quite impressed and found the convention center nothing less than incredible. It’s likely the nicest convention center we’ve ever seen. The facility is new, the rooms are spacious and the center is right next to the headquarters hotel (so no busing!). And you simply walk out the back door and you’re on the historic San Antonio Riverwalk, chock full of cultural activities and wonderful restaurants.

The programs that will be offered this year promise to be spectacular. In addition to the traditional lectures and new research from the papers and poster sessions, other highlights include the 4th Joint Symposium with the American Academy of Ophthalmology. This year's symposium on ocular imaging will be moderated by Austin Roorda, PhD (UC-Berkeley) and Joel Schuman (chair, Dept. of Ophthalmology, NYU-Langone). Other symposia developed by Academy Sections and Special Interest Groups (SIGS) address such topics as new thoughts on amblyopia, bio-therapeutics for anterior segment diseases, overcoming aggressive glaucoma, life saving tips in neuro-ophthalmic diseases, new approaches for early diagnosis of vision threatening disease, and urgencies in retinal repair, to name a few. Our Plenary Session will explore new approaches in eye care that include telemedicine and future models for patient care. Speakers include Drs. Ezekiel Emanuel, Gordon Guyatt, and Anthony Cavallerano.

These are just a few of the many reasons you don’t want to miss out on what San Antonio’s annual meeting has to offer this November. Mark your calendars and secure those flight reservations early.

While the meeting locations have to be planned out several years in advance to assure the dates needed and to secure ample space, we welcome suggestions for future planning. Hope to see you in San Antonio for another blockbuster meeting!


Joseph P. Shovlin, OD, FAAO