Take Note: Virtual Format Provides Access to Thousands of High-Quality Abstracts

Robert A. Brodsky, MD
The Johns Hopkins Family Professor of Medicine and Oncology and Director, Division of Hematology at The Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine in Baltimore, MD

ASH Secretary Robert Brodsky, MD, from Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, has been involved with the ASH Annual Meeting for years. In 2017, he was elected to a 4-year term as ASH Secretary and, just like for most people, 2020 has been a year of change.

What is your role as it relates to the ASH Annual Meeting?

The ASH Secretary also serves as the Abstract Review Coordinator and reviews not every abstract, but a large percentage, and helps bring the top submissions to the Program Committee for discussion. These discussions include which abstracts might be included for the Plenary Session and which are generating some of the most groundbreaking findings that are newsworthy and potentially practice changing. I also participate in the selection of late-breaking abstracts.

When ASH switched to the virtual format, were there any adjustments made to the abstract review process?

Fewer abstracts were submitted this year, as one might expect. We were quite pleased, though, that in spite of the pandemic and all the disruptions to clinical and laboratory research, we still had thousands of high-quality abstracts submitted. When the decision was made to go to a virtual format, we had not yet started to review abstracts, so that part did not change much for me.

What are you looking forward to about this virtual format?

This year’s format will give people so much more flexibility. Obviously, what you miss from a live meeting is the person-to-person networking, the interactions with colleagues, and the excitement of a live event. The Program Committee and ASH staff have done an amazing job of trying to recreate that experience.

Through the virtual meeting format, people can preview some of the scientific and educational content, so attendees can get a head start. Much of the content – depending on the type of subscription one has – can be viewed at a later date as well.

We encourage people to register early and not wait to the last minute. That will help people avoid technical challenges or issues that may come up when accessing content. It also allows them to take advantage of preview days that start on Wednesday, December 2, when they will have the opportunity to participate in orientation and become familiar with the features and navigation.

The virtual meeting packages were designed to give attendees maximum flexibility. Each option below provides access to the virtual meeting platform, including Preview Days that will begin on December 2, 2020:

Real-Time Experience: 
Access for 7 days, through December 11, 2020
Provides access during peak dates and hours of the meeting, with the largest “live” audience at a given time

Added Flexibility: 
Access for 30 days, through January 4, 2021
Adds flexibility for you to continue watching on-demand sessions after the meeting ends, while still being part of the engaging live content and networking

Best Value: 
Access for 90 days, through March 5, 2021
Provides maximum flexibility – the ability to participate in all live sessions and networking events during the core dates of the meeting, plus extended access to on-demand content