Pre Con

SNMMI Imagines the Future

The Society of Nuclear Medicine and Molecular Imaging (SNMMI) will hold its 61st Annual Meeting at the Renaissance St. Louis Grand Hotel on June 7-11.

 Recognized as the premier educational and networking event for molecular imaging and nuclear medicine, the meeting offers the latest educational content in the field, and includes virtual learning opportunities, networking events, and an exhibit hall showcasing cutting-edge technology.

SNMMI’s first Annual Meeting was held in Seattle in 1954, when the organization was called the Society of Nuclear Medicine — it added “Molecular Imaging” at the 2012 Annual Meeting — and the event welcomed just 109 attendees. But what started as a small convention has since expanded into a major international meeting of top medical professionals. Last year’s Annual Meeting in Vancouver drew 5,724 attendees, and featured 2,000-plus scientific abstracts and more than 110 education sessions. SNMMI expects approximately 6,000 attendees this year.

Due to the conference’s location, Catherine Michaels, SNMMI’s associate director of meeting services, is concerned about acquiring “the international draw that the meeting normally receives.” Each year the conference is about 30- to 35-percent international, but those numbers tend to decline when the meeting is held in the Midwest. So SNMMI is using marketing as a way to reach out. “We’ve put together videos with our president,” Michaels said, “where he talks about St. Louis as a destination.” The organization also posted a list of top 10 reasons to visit St. Louis on its website, highlighting the city’s attractions.

But if location turns out to be an issue for attendees, the meeting’s content likely won’t be. “The Scientific Program Committee continuously works on obtaining speakers,” Michaels said, “and offering courses that are relevant to the latest trends and technologies in the nuclear-medicine arena.”

Michaels has been involved with the Annual Meeting for four years, and since coming on board at SNMMI, she’s watched the event evolve significantly. There’s now an event app and more virtual content available. In 2014, SNMMI will continue to move toward the future by featuring 100 digital posters for its Educational Exhibits track, providing attendees with the most up-to-date information. And there will be two apps, one for exhibitors and attendees that offers meeting content and schedules, and one dedicated solely to the abstract book, which is no longer printed.

Each year, SNMMI also strives to create a new look for the conference “by bringing elements of the [host] city into the overall scheme,” Michaels said. This year, to showcase St. Louis, the organization will hold dinners and receptions in venues like the historic Fox Theatre and the beautiful, sprawling Missouri Botanical Garden. The décor inside the conference will be St. Louis-themed as well, with signage incorporating the Gateway Arch, Fox Theatre, and the St. Louis skyline.

Plus, the 2014 Annual Meeting will include more of the hands-on innovation and in-depth discussion that SNMMI is known for, with thousands of scientists, physicians, technologists, pharmacists, and laboratory professionals reviewing the most recent advances. The goal, Michaels said, is to “continue to represent the latest cutting-edge research in the nuclear-medicine and molecular-imaging fields.” 

Convene’s Pre-Con/Post-Con series asks meeting planners about their challenges and how they intend to address them (Pre-Con), and then circles back around after the meeting has occurred (Post-Con) to see how well they worked out.

Sarah Beauchamp

Sarah Beauchamp was formerly assistant editor of Convene.