2020 PHABC Conference & Annual General Meeting
Postponement of PHABC’s Conference and Annual General Meeting due to the ongoing COVID-19 Pandemic
As you are all aware, the COVID-19 pandemic has upended almost every aspect of public health in BC and put a strain on our public health system. As the public health workforce in this province we can only imagine how hard you all have been working to keep British Columbians calm, safe and healthy through these unprecedented times. The Public Health Association of BC would like to extend a heartfelt thank you to every one of you for your sacrifice and determination through the past 6 months.
Each fall, PHABC hosts its annual conference and AGM, where public health professionals from across the province meet, mingle, and share the latest research and data available in public health. Given the success of transitioning the summer institute online, we convened with the Scientific Planning Committee (SPC) co-chairs to discuss transitioning the conference to an online format. It was during that conversation that the SPC co-chairs raised several concerns related to hosting the conference this fall. On the advice of the SPC co-chairs, the co-chairs of the Capacity Building Committee undertook an analysis of the pros and cons of postponing the conference and have summarized some of the concerns raised below:
- Several conferences and other events cancelled in the spring and summer have been rescheduled to online events this fall, including the CPHA’s annual conference in mid-October,
- The proposed dates for the fall conference are in the middle of what is expected to be the second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic and flu season. Many of PHABC employees and board members may be redeployed to COVID response again and be unable to commit to a multi-day online conference,
- Most of the participants who will be attending are public health professionals who may also be redeployed to COVID response and unable to submit an abstract for consideration or attend a multi-day online conference,
- Due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and overdose epidemic it is anticipated most abstracts will be unrelated to the chosen topic theme of public health and the Anthropocene; resulting in the rejection of a number of high quality abstracts due to the current scoring criteria.
In light of all the concerns raised during the analysis and the time commitment necessary to host an online conference, a recommendation was brought to executive to postpone the 2020 annual conference. Executive agreed with the recommendation as a risk management strategy and therefore the 2020 conference will be rescheduled until the fall of 2021 when we can meet together face to face and celebrate. The theme of the conference will be an expansion of the theme of our annual summer institute, public health in the Anthropocene, which took place in July of this year through the online platform Zoom.
In consideration of the cancellation of this event, we have decided to release the recordings of our summer institute along with our think piece and post-summer institute resource package for public viewing at any time. To access the recordings and documents, you can follow the link below. It can also be found under presentations in the resources tab on our main menu.
As a member-driver organization, we will still be hosting our annual general meeting online on November 19th, 2020. An agenda and connection instructions will be made available in the coming weeks for anyone interested in an update on PHABC’s operations over the past year.
Given the current pandemic much of the board’s mandated duties were postponed or cancelled to allow our volunteer board to focus on COVID response in their respective professions. Because of this, a decision was reached to extend all board appointments by one year and cancel the election of new board members for 2020. This will allow the current board to complete their mandated duties in the modified timeline while also considering the extenuating circumstances brought on by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and associated public health emergencies arising. We would like to extend a heartfelt thanks to our board for their extended service and commitment to public health in BC.
Thank you again for all your support of the Public Health Association of BC and we hope that you all stay safe and healthy while working together to keep British Columbia’s public health system operational and responsive to anything that may arise through the upcoming year. Together we can ensure all British Columbians weather the storm, no matter which boat they find themselves in.