At last, after countless long hours of preparation, a jet-lagged and fully inundated Nick Morrison will finally get to see the fruits of his labor in planning the world’s biggest phlebology event ever. Between flights and endless sleepless nights, VEIN Magazine was allowed a glimpse into Nick’s itinerary and challenges in planning for the UIP World Congress, hosted by the American College of Phlebology (ACP), being held this September in Boston. Here’s what we found out:
VM: How did hosting the UIP World Congress come about?
NM: Prior to placing our bid for the UIP World Congress XVII, the ACP explored the possibility of a joint bid with the American Venous Forum (AVF). The AVF Executive Committee at that time made the decision to not participate in the bid, but rather to organize an AVF Symposium within the program, as is usual. While this was initially disappointing to the ACP leadership, the organizers of this meeting have worked hard to include many members of the AVF leadership in the Scientific Program Committee, chaired by ACP Board member and former AVF President, Mark Meissner. Specifically Tom Wakefield, Tony Gasparis, and Nicos Labropoulos, along with current or recent ACP officer/board members Mel Rosenblatt, Steve Zimmet, and JJ Guex are all to be congratulated on putting together such an incredibly strong scientific program, the likes of which is nearly unprecedented. My greatest gratitude goes to all of these individuals
VM: How long did you have to plan the meeting, start to finish?
NM: We started planning for the bidding process in January 2009. When the ACP received the bid in September 2009 to host the UIP World Congress XVII in September 2013, we began work immediately with site visits to Boston and the other preparations needed for an event of this magnitude. The ACP staff, along with Mark Meissner and I, have ramped up the planning, and I am now spending 15-20 hours per week on the meeting.
VM: What roles have you played within the UIP and ACP communities over the years?
NM: With the UIP, I began in 2000 by participating in consensus groups. Then, I was elected as one of five regional vice presidents in 2009, participating on the Executive
Committee of the UIP since 2010. I am currently up for the office of President of UIP at the election in Boston this September.
As for the ACP, I have performed too many duties to count and remember. But I started in 1997 as the local program committee member for the meeting in Scottsdale. That led to work on various committees and to the post of Program Chair for a meeting in the early 2000s. I have continued to work on various committees and was elected to the Board of Directors of the ACP in around 2000, eventually becoming President of the ACP 2008-2010. Around 2006, I was chair of the Steering Committee for the ACP Foundation and helped form that body. I became Chairman of the Board of Directors of the ACPF immediately following the end of my term as President of the ACP and have continued in that role to the present.
VM: What differences can we expect to see in a UIP meeting versus the ACP meetings we have come to know?
NM: First and foremost, the meeting carries on over six days rather than the usual three and a half days. And the UIP meeting will feature a far larger and more international faculty than is usual in the ACP. In order to accomplish this, it has meant that there will be fewer ACP members
involved in speaking roles for the program, but the Program Committee felt it was very important to present the ACP to the international venous community at as high a level as possible. And that is what hosting this meeting means to the ACP—it’s our chance to take a place on the international stage of phlebology.
VM: How do you think the US measures up compared to our colleagues abroad as far as technology, new procedures, research, techniques?
NM: Certainly other international colleagues have long dominated care of patients with venous disease for decades. However, the US is now leading in many areas, especially in new technology, procedures, and techniques. In research, the US has now taken a nearly equal place among investigators worldwide, many of whom reside within the ACP.
VM: Will attendees see anything unexpected in the exhibit halls this year?
NM: The exhibit hall will house more industrial partners than ever, and many international companies will have a much higher profile than they often do at the ACP Annual Congress. We also plan to have all of the electronic poster presentations in the exhibit hall, thus driving even more attendees into the area. And lastly, instead of our usual golf tournament intended to support the ACPF, we will have a casino night hosted by all of industry, which will allow a great deal of time building and enjoying relationships with our industry partners. And by the way, that is how the ACPF feels about our industry partners—it is very much a collegial partnership.
VM: What will attendees leave with after the event? What is the biggest take away?
NM: I expect them to walk away not only with new and expanded knowledge about venous disease because of the large component of international experts, but also leave with a sense of pride for having taken part in such an important event as a member and supporter of the ACP, as well as renewed commitment to the ACP. The volunteers and staff have worked so hard to bring the entire ACP membership onto that international stage of phlebology. This is really important stuff and the ACP made it happen! Congratulations to the entire ACP membership and staff.