Dear Friends and Colleagues,

I hope this message finds you and your family healthy and safe.  The last few weeks have brought many unexpected challenges to our lives.  There remains a great deal of uncertainty about how long this new way of life may last and how future plans may be affected.  Some of you may already be thinking about future conference travel, including the ANCDS Annual Scientific Meeting in November.

If you have not thought this far ahead, I am writing to let you know that the Executive Board has, and we would like to assure you that we will have our Scientific Meeting this November.  The Education and Standards Committee has developed an exciting agenda and has invited outstanding speakers.  And, the Membership Committee has already initiated the application process for the 2020 Student Fellowship Awards that provide support for graduate students studying neurologically based communication disorders and sciences.

Of course, this year is not like any other, and there is a concern that we will not be able to meet in-person.  The Executive Board has had extensive discussions about the plan for our Annual Meeting and, earlier this month, met with the Committee Chairs most involved in planning the meeting.  Though no decision has been made, we have thought through the pros and cons of moving the meeting to a virtual format, as well as the logistics and potential cost of doing so should the need arise.  We have also considered the impact of a virtual meeting on the Student Fellowship Program and are working on plans to support the Student Fellows in the event that we do move the meeting to a virtual format.

The Annual Scientific Meeting is an important event for ANCDS.  It provides us with an opportunity to learn together from experts in our field and to share ideas throughout the day.  While enjoying lunch together, we also have an opportunity to bestow the Honors of the Academy on one of our esteemed colleagues.  For many, myself included, it is also a long-awaited opportunity to visit with friends from around the world.  I know that some of you may be disappointed to learn that we are considering moving the meeting to a virtual format.  This is why a final decision about the meeting has not yet been made.

The Executive Board will be following the changing status of COVID-19 restrictions in the coming weeks.  Once we have a better understanding of how and when those restrictions may be relaxed, we will be able to make a decision about the Annual Meeting.  The health and safety of our members is paramount.  We will only consider an in-person meeting if it is deemed safe to travel and safe to gather in future months.  Once we are able to make these decisions, we will provide an update and additional information about the meeting agenda.  If changes to the meeting format are necessary, we will also update those of you who are interested in the Student Fellowship Awards so that you have a better understanding of how the program will be structured.

Thank you for your patience as we work through these difficult decisions.  Please know that the Executive Board and I are thinking of you and wishing you good health in the coming weeks.

Kathleen M. Youse, PhD, CCC-SLP, BC-ANCDS
2020 ANCDS President
[email protected]