Creating the Annual “picture”

Posted by: IADMS Program Committee 

The Annual Meeting is the highlight of the IADMS calendar. The Program Committee (PC) has the complex task of piecing together the various jigsaw puzzle pieces in order to produce a scientific conference that is both educational and enticing. The committee is made up of four long standing IADMS members: Ginny Wilmerding, Marika Molnar, David Weiss and Alexander McKinven. The mix of professions, nationalities, backgrounds and personal interests means that each of us has a unique perspective on how the Annual Meeting should evolve. Every Annual Meeting has its own character, with many variables, but the PC strives to develop each one and make it even better than the last. 

When the PC gets involved, the location for the Annual Meeting has already been chosen and the Annual Meeting Producer is already working with the local host team. They have an understanding of the size/space available and times slots needed to be filled. Think of this like the template on a canvas with the Program Committee ‘artists’ waiting to know the colours of paints, (the abstracts), they will be given. 

After the abstract submission deadline, the committee works on a strict timeline to ensure the integrity, standard, and relevance of the conference by:

  • Making sure the submitted abstracts follow appropriate international ethics standards and any commercial interests are disclosed,
  • Working with the Continuing Education Committee to ensure CME credits are available for healthcare professionals,
  • Distributing the abstracts to a group of independent reviewers who, blinded to the abstracts authors, will perform the task of grading the submitted abstracts,
  • Categorizing the abstracts into relevant topics/subjects to ensure flow, and
  • through their networks, inviting learned colleagues to fill the ever popular and always well attended Clinical Symposia. 

As the number of submitted abstracts increases each year - 123 of them in 2006, and growing to an all-time high of 228 of them in 2015 - the task of selecting the best presentations gets harder and harder. Throughout the selection and planning process, there can be unforeseen changes to the program due to presenter’s work commitments, medical problems, flight cancelations, and electronic meltdowns; the Program Committee team are in regular contact with the selected presenters. (The sooner we know about these issues, the better!) 

When October comes, hearing the buzz, seeing the presentations live, and being involved in the discussions makes all the hard work worthwhile. To know that we are helping the international dance scientists, clinicians, and researchers have a platform to showcase their work and to see the satisfaction from the ‘painting’ you helped develop, grow, and stand on its in own is a very satisfying process for the four of us!