Coming to America: ACP hosts the UIP World Congress Boston 2013

By Andrea Epstein

It’s official. The next UIP World Congress will be held in the United States in 2013, hosted by the American College of Phlebology (ACP). The announcement was greeted with passion and elation from ACP members, as it is the first time in the 50 year history of the International Union of Phlebology that the event will be in the U.S.A.

The news was announced at the 16th World Meeting of the UIP which took place in early September in Monaco. The UIP Council voted during the meeting, with 37 societies present for the vote. To win the bid and the honor to host the next World Congress in 2013, USA had to compete against excellent bids presented by the other contenders, Korea and Turkey.

Pauline Raymond-Martimbeau, MD, FACPh, President of the Canadian Society of Phlebology and a Council member noted, “Winning a bid to host the World Congress for ACP is an achievement, first because it was not easy to win that bid over such great countries as Korea and Turkey and second, because it shows that colleagues from other countries have confidence in the ACP.”

Nick Morrison, MD, FACS, FACPh, President of the ACP and an integral part of the team that developed and presented the proposal to the UIP Council couldn’t agree more. “This is really a huge honor for the ACP and reflects worldwide recognition for our standing in the international phlebology community.”

A Winning Bid Package

According to Bruce Sanders, CAE, Executive Director of the ACP, preparing the bid package for the Council’s consideration and ultimate vote was a time-consuming process that took over six months to complete. He worked closely with Dr. Morrison to make site visits, select the proposed host city within the U.S., and prepare the bid package and presentation materials.

The bid book that was submitted to the Council included a thorough synopsis of the ACP’s vision as the host society for the meeting. Among the particulars that were required for inclusion in the package were:

Boston Bound

As already noted, a significant part of the bid preparation entailed selecting the optimal host city and for the ACP, the winning destination proved to be Boston. Both Nick Morrison and Bruce Sanders conducted site visits in a number of U.S. cities before selecting Boston as the proposed host city to represent the ACP and the U.S. for this international medical meeting.

Other U.S. cities, such as New York or San Francisco were certainly considered for their international appeal. However, Boston offers a number of unique attributes that makes it most suited to be the host city for the World Congress. Factors that pushed Boston to the top include: the city’s culture, easy walkability, great public transportation and a good strategic east coast location for international travelers. With its vast historical significance, Boston also offers great sites of interest to UIP attendees visiting from around the globe. And of course, the concentration of world-renowned hospitals and medical schools in the greater Boston area further validated the appeal of this locale to host the next UIP World Congress.

The actual site for the 2013 meeting will be the Hynes Convention Center in downtown Boston. It’s an optimal venue, with hotels, shopping and the renowned Back Bay all within a short distance.

A Coming of Age for the ACP

Selection as the host medical society for the next World Congress clearly brings new international stature and recognition to the ACP. According to Bruce Sanders, hosting the international meeting has been a long-term goal for the ACP and one the group has been striving to achieve for several years. A prior bid by the ACP to host the 2005 World Congress was not accepted; at the time, the ACP was awarded the opportunity to host the 2003 chapter meeting in San Diego instead.

Clearly, this opportunity speaks to the great strides made by the practice of phlebology in the U.S. in the last two decades. To place things in clearer perspective, consider this: the UIP just celebrated its 50th anniversary in Monaco; in contrast, the ACP was established only 25 years ago - reflecting the relative youth of the phlebology field in the United States.

Dr. Morrison confirms this viewpoint, stating, “In the field of phlebology, the U.S. is a ‘Johnny-come-lately’ when compared with the Germans, French, Swiss and Italians.” Hosting the UIP World Congress clearly marks a coming of age for phlebology in the U.S.” Diana Neuhardt, RVT and a member of the Board of Directors and the Ultrasound Section Chair of the ACP concurs, noting, “In the past, other countries were considered the leaders in phlebology. It speaks to how far the practice of phlebology in the U.S. has come.”

Pauline Raymond-Martimbeau, who served as the Scientific Program Chair for the 1992 UIP World Congress hosted by the Canadian Society of Phlebology, speaks first-hand about the meaning of hosting the meeting. She states, “The UIP World Congress is an event of such importance, of such meaning, than in itself it invites participation of an unparalleled speaker faculty featuring physicians from over 100 countries. The success depends on the effectiveness of the host city in delivering the necessary infrastructure and services and on the quality of the academic and social programs organized by the host city.”

On a related note, the UIP World Congress brought additional recognition to Nick Morrison as President of the ACP. Dr. Morrison was honored to be elected to the UIP Council as one of five Vice Presidents. As part of the UIP Governing Board, he will assume additional oversight responsibility for the UIP, and will hold the position for a four year term.

International Meetings Advance the Field

The significance of international meetings in advancing the practice of phlebology worldwide cannot be overstated. Lacking strong phlebologic training programs in medical schools, these meetings have served as the foundation for building consensus amongst practitioners, creating standards of care, and allowing physicians to take new techniques back to their own countries.

Working groups comprised of doctors from around the globe collaborate to focus on everything from a curriculum for phlebology, to new diagnostic and treatment approaches and post-care. For the last 50 years, since the inception of the UIP, it is this approach -- bringing together international phlebology thought leaders – which has advanced the field so dramatically both in the U.S and abroad. As Dr. Morrison notes, “Much of the knowledge transfer occurs at these international meetings.”

With this history and ongoing emphasis on international collaboration, it’s no wonder that in the field of phlebology, there is a tight-knit international medical community. These meetings are not merely conferences, they are opportunities for international phlebology practitioners to work with colleagues to both build consensus and push the envelope in medical education, treatment, technology and patient care. They provide the ultimate networking opportunity as well, bringing together multidisciplinary leaders who specialize in all aspects of venous disease.

Next Steps

With confirmation as the next host society in hand, the next steps for the ACP include moving forward on both the content and logistics for the meeting. Dr. Morrison, who will serve as Scientific Chair for the 2013 event, is already moving ahead with the selection of the Scientific Program Committee and early work on the meeting’s content. Indeed, he feels that they are already somewhat ahead of the game on the planning side, having formed a Steering Committee over a year ago, and working with a number of these individuals as they transition to work with him in planning the meeting’s scientific content. Based on the scientific quality of the meeting in Monaco, Dr. Morrison knows that the bar has been set high. With that in mind, he has begun plans to assure that the scientific meeting of the 2013 UIP World Congress in Boston is exceptional in every way.

Note: As of press time, VEIN has learned that the meeting will be held in early September 2013. Actual dates are still being finalized and should be confirmed within the next month.

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