Society of Asian Academic Surgeons leadership has announced that this year’s SAAS annual meeting will be tentatively held in person, Sept. 25-26, 2021, at the Northwestern School of Medicine in Chicago, Illinois. With abstracts now under review, the SAAS Program Committee is hard at work putting together an undoubtedly stellar meeting.
While we await more details, here are a few things we are looking forward to at the 2021 meeting:
Building and Extending our Community
The 2021 meeting is shaping up to be the first in-person meeting for many of us. While there’s still a lot of suffering and strife in the world, the idea of seeing friends and colleagues again is very exciting. One of the key reasons why SAAS is such a great organization is the community. The SAAS Program Committee has always organized events with the intention of ensuring students, trainees and junior faculty have every opportunity to network with senior faculty. To date, the SAAS annual meeting has likely had the highest chairperson-to-attendee ratio of any meeting, and we anticipate this will be the case again in September.
SAAS offers an inclusive environment not only for Asians, but also for all members of the academic surgical community to celebrate the diversity of our field. Amid a rise in hate crimes and bigotry, this year’s meeting will undoubtedly renew our bonds as a community.
Cutting-Edge Research from Future Leaders
The heart of our meeting are the presentations by trainees and junior faculty. We look forward to the thoughtful discussions that accompany the presentations. One of the great joys of the SAAS annual meeting has been seeing, first-hand, the energy and enthusiasm coming from our future leaders. While video conferencing has come a long way, there’s nothing quite like the impromptu discussions arising in the research presentation sessions and, afterwards, over drinks and snacks.
One of the joys of meetings is a chance to (re)visit great cities. Chicago, Illinois, is well known to many of us, if for nothing else than being the frequent host of the American College of Surgeons Clinical Congress or the city where many of us took our oral boards. Nonetheless, Chicago is a fantastic town to explore, with great sights, activities, food and drink. Here are some of things we love about Chicago:
Millennium Park: Best known for being the home of the Cloud Gate (AKA the Bean), Millennium Park is a great place for a lakefront stroll.
Magnificent Mile: Walking down the broad Michigan Avenue is always a treat. Whether you’re (window) shopping, people watching or just enjoying the bustle of one of the great American cities, there’s something here for everyone.
Architecture: Chicago features some of the earliest built skyscrapers, as well as magnificent art deco buildings and interiors. For those willing to go farther afield, many Frank Lloyd Wright classics are a short drive away.
Navy Pier: Navy Pier celebrated its 100th birthday in 2016, and while it’s definitely touristy, it still offers lovely views of Lake Michigan and the city.
Kids’ Activities: For those bringing kids, there are lots of great options to keep them entertained, such as the Museum of Science and Industry, the Field Museum and Lincoln Park Zoo.
Food: While some of you may be obsessively checking when reservations become available at Alinea, others will be seeking more low-key options. Definitely corner the locals for up-to-date info, but for us out-of-towners, here are options we’ve enjoyed in the past: Eataly, Purple Pig, Sable and Coco.
Drink: We’ll let Dr. Daniel Chu guide the bar selection this year (as always), but Chicago is also home to other great options for drinks like coffee. Intelligentsia was a critical part of the “third wave” of coffee, and while its sale to Peet’s may turn some off, there’s no shortage of great options.
The Chicago Theatre (Source: Unsplash)
The Old Republic Building on North Michigan Avenue in Chicago (Source: Unsplash)
Chicago-style deep-dish pizza (Source: Unsplash)
Cloud Gate, also known as the Bean (Source: Unsplash)