The main lobby at the 2018 meeting headquarter hotel, the JW Marriott L.A. Live Hotel, features lots of glass, high ceilings, with ample networking socializing space.
AO has met most strategic goals, anticipates outstanding Annual Meeting
By Michael R. Norton, BDS, FDS, RCS(ed)
I recently returned from Chicago after our October Board meeting when we gather to assess the progress of the Academy as set against our strategic plan and review the program and events planned for our forthcoming Annual Meeting. The current strategic plan is soon to end, running as it does from 2015 – 2018 and I was delighted to report to the board that we have net the vast majority of our strategic goals, indeed exceeding some, while only two goals are yet to be met, but with one year left still to make progress in these areas.
As you might expect, a great deal of time was spent discussing the forthcoming meeting in Los Angeles, and I was able to report on my site visit with our Executive Director, Kevin Smith, and his staff. I must admit I boarded the plane from London with a significant degree of trepidation, worried that I would discover a less then optimal conference hotel and conference venue. I needn’t have worred! The moment I arrived at the JW Marriott LA Live, I instantly relaxed as I walked into a modern, clean, impressive lobby with lots of glass, high ceilings and plenty of “networking socializing” space, with bars and a restaurant.
The LA Live area is a “WOW,” much like a miniature Times Square of Piccadilly Circus and literally within a stone’s throw from the hotel, as is the STAPLES Center. Certainly, delegates can expect one of the most convenient experiences, since I have selected the LA Live venue for my President’s Reception, so no buses! We are planning this party to be one with an Oscars theme, and I am sure you will all be excited to learn that our meeting is to be held on the same weekend as the Oscars, so LA will be buzzing and awash with celebrities.
The conference center is ideally situated, being a short walk from the conference hotel and the layout is such that the exhibition hall and main plenary session hall are side by side. The conference center benefits from its glass construction, being airy and bright and delegates will surely appreciate being able to see natural daylight and hopefully lots of sunshine as they walk from one session to another.
That all said, the most important feature of any conference is of course the program. I have been so very lucky that when I asked Dr. Joseph Kan to be my Program Chair, he agreed. Anyone who knows Joe knows what a busy man he is, very much in demand and constantly traveling the world. So it was a big commitment for him to agree to my request, and I am indepted to him. Together with our program committee, we have been able to put together a program that has something for everyone, covering all the specialties and interests to satisfy every delegate.
Our opening session promises to deliver some great lectures from world renowned experts Drs. Harold Slavkin, Stephen Chen, Matteo Chiapasco and the team of Marcus Hürzeler and Otto Zuhr. There will be an enhanced Morning, as well as Lunch with the Masters sessions, providing increased opportunities for delegates to benefit from the smaller, more intimate learning environment that these will afford.
Perhaps the most significant change will be to the regular dual track surgical and restorative sessions; they have been re-structured to allow multiple concurrent point-counterpoint debates. We have done this to help liven up the sessions, but also as a direct response to your feedback year on year where you express frustration at the lack of opportunity to ask questions and engage with speakers. So, these sessions will include a significant length of time dedicated to moderator-directed debate after the lectures, and delegates will be able to field questions to the moderator to further enhance interaction. As we speak, staff are working on an optimized method to allow delegates to send these questions from iPhones, Androids and iPads so that we avoid the embarrassment of you having to approach the microphones in the aisles, as in the old days.
Finally, I am very excited to be “hosting” the Saturday afternoon session, which we have called a “Reflections Panel.” This session will be conducted much like a chat show with Prof. Tomas Albrektsson, and Drs. David Cochran, Ole Jensen, Stephen Parel, and Dennis Tarnow as my special guests. Together we will debate controversies in current implant therapy, tapping into their vast wealth of experience with careers spanning over 40-50 years. This session will not have any lectures, but rather will be a highly interactive conversation with these wise men of implant dentistry, again allowing the audience to field questions directly to them, through me. I promise to make this a truly inspirational session.
Dr. Kan will round off the meeting by moderating a “must stay for” session on esthetics with Drs. Stephen Chu, Giovanni Zuchelli, and Istvan Urban.
Together with the social events, the vibrant experience of being in LA, and the unbelievable opportunity of being there during the Oscars weekend, this must surely be the meeting of the calendar year and one you simply won’t want to miss. So why not book your tax deductible conference of a lifetime and join us all at AO 2018, February 28 – March 3, in Los Angeles. I look forward to welcoming you personally.