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A Look at Future Annual Meeting Host Cities

Melissa A. Clark, PhD, Program Support Committee Chair

The Program Support Committee (PSC) serves as an institutional memory by: updating the program manual/handbook containing timetables/summaries from past meetings; analyzing and reviewing meeting statistics and reporting results to the Executive Committee; making recommendations on future annual meeting goals and program improvement. The Committee also takes an active role in identifying and recommending future Annual Meeting sites.

This year's PSC consists of the Committee Chair (Melissa A. Clark, PhD), the immediate past Program Chair (Michael A. Diefenbach, PhD), previous Program Chairs (Sherry L. Pagoto, PhD, and Frank J. Penedo, PhD), a Student Representative (Stacey A. Ogbeide, MS) as well as two additional SBM members (Shelby L. Langer, PhD, and Robert W. Motl, PhD).

During the fall of 2010, the PSC used feedback provided by the Annual Meeting attendees to draft a list of possible city locations to hold the 2013-2015 Annual Meetings. A Request For Proposals (RFPs) was sent to various conference hotels in the cities selected by the committee. Proposals are still under review but cities currently under consideration include San Francisco, San Diego, San Antonio, and Philadelphia.

The PSC does not make the final selection for the conference cities; we will review proposals from potential conference hotels and make recommendations to the SBM Board. The final decisions will be based on a vote by the Board.

The needs and preferences of conference attendees are weighed very heavily in selecting potential venues for the Annual Meeting. Based on feedback that we have received, factors that the PSC have prioritized in recommending potential conference cities include: meeting space and guest rooms under one roof; low guest room rates; "walkable" cities with interesting night-time activities; accessible airports and transportation; and low food and beverage costs which means more catering options for attendees.

Unfortunately, given the current size of the SBM conference, it is becoming increasingly difficult to select from a wide variety of conference cities. For example, many hotels are not able to accommodate the number of guest and meeting rooms as well as exhibit hall space that is required for our conference. Therefore, the PSC will be working with Program Chairs to test the feasibility of some new features to the program such as vertical posters for future Annual Meetings. In addition, we will continue to ask for your feedback about conference features that are the highest priority for you.

The 2011 Annual Meeting is going to be fantastic thanks to the hard work of President Karen Emmons, PhD, Program Chairs, Gary Bennett, PhD, and Jamie Studts, PhD, as well as everyone who served on the Program Committee, reviewed abstracts, and submitted their work for consideration.

If you have any feedback for the Program Support Committee, please do not hesitate to contact me at Melissa_Clark@brown.edu. I look forward to seeing you at the Annual Meeting in Washington, DC April 27-30, 2011.