February 17th 2021

2021 Biennial Meeting - Conference cancelled


Greetings and Happy New Year from the AANZP Executive/Council

We are writing to members of the AANZP to inform you of some developments with our forward planning for 2021/2022 and to advise on our decision for this July’s biennial meeting.

Since we last communicated, the executive, Gordon Burt, John Cho and myself have been meeting with the scientific committee on a regular basis (John sits on both) to complete the scientific program for the postponed biennial meeting planned to be held in late July 2021. You will recall that last year our meeting was postponed for 12 months with the intention that we would run on a biennial basis from July 2021 in the future.

At our meeting on Monday 18th January, one of our agenda items was to discuss the contingency options with the backdrop of covid-19 and the influences it is having on society. In our previous meeting we had three options in our contingency planning which we were exploring: Option one- running face-to-face in the usual manner for our biennial conference, Option two- running a web-based meeting in some format to be explored possibly with a small local gathering in a reduced room, Option three - postponing the scientific meeting until such time that we can meet in the usual manner that we have historically.

From calendar perspective we have moved into 2021 and almost transitioned through January and we have some greater clarity of how this year may unfold. Equally we have significant planning trigger points that are approaching which require time and financial commitments. We have also done some background investigation as to what other groups are doing with face-to-face conference planning for the foreseeable future. We were made aware that our meeting as planned was the earliest face-to-face meeting organised by our conference organisers by 5 to 6 months. Further, subsequent discussions with the RACV club also noted that while planning was proceeding for private engagements like weddings, scientific meetings were collectively being bumped into 2022.

Taking into consideration several points including:

- a reluctance from all scientific committee members and executive to cross interstate borders for the foreseeable future for the risk of having to experience a surprise two-week quarantine

- no real discussion about the complete opening of the Australian New Zealand travel bubble

- the likely timeline between vaccine rollouts

- the moving into the winter months which would seem to carry increased risks of outbreaks in the southern states

- some unknowns about the virility of the new strains of the Covid- 19 virus

- the impending activation of registration (originally planned for mid February)

- impending collection of sponsorship dollars

- the impending request for additional depositing of funds to the conference venue as the months rolled by

- the need to secure dates for 2022 if we were considering postponing 2021

Collectively the scientific committee and the members of executive present unanimously felt that, on balance, the risk of proceeding with a face-to-face meeting this July with a very reduced interstate and New Zealand attendance was high. While the science is a strong motivating factor, and Phil Yeung and his scientific committee have an outstanding scientific program for the second time running, all members of his scientific committee present and the executive unanimously felt that it was appropriate to postpone the meeting until July 2022. The members present felt that we should take to council the recommendation that the 2021 scientific biennial meeting is run as a web based AGM with the addition of running the student scientific research presentations such that a cohort of students have the opportunity to present their research in their final years of their respective programs. Subject to the approval of the program coordinators and the Council, this year’s meeting would be an online business meeting combined with student presentations. It was felt that the significance of the collegiality gained from a face-to-face meeting and inherent in the relationships that are formed within our specialty across Australia and New Zealand should be respected and therefore we pause again, and wait until the environment is right for Prosthodontists in Australia and New Zealand to meet again face-to-face.

This recommendation was then taken to council and there was unanimous support for the proposal.

We are therefore notifying AANZP members of our decision to postpone the 2021 face to face meeting and again hold an online AGM. We will seek support from the course conveners to have the final year students to present their research as an adjunct to the AGM. I have a personally contacted  the RACV club and they are very understanding and will preserve all deposits and transfer those into the same weekend in July 2022, and have penciled in the dates for the last week of July 2022.  We will deal with the issue of transitioning of executive separately however initially we are notifying you of our decision regarding the scientific meeting.

On behalf the AANZP Executive and Council I would like to acknowledge the disappointment that must be felt by the scientific committee who have again worked hard to produce an outstanding program this time with the appropriate modifications recognising that there would never  have been international keynote speaker in 2021. We are hopeful that the majority of the program will still be utilised in 2022, however we acknowledge that the deferral of the “reward for efforts” is disappointing. The AANZP would like to thank Phil Yeung, John Cho, Danielle Layton, Chris Evans and Ken Hooi for their contribution to organising this years deferred program.

AANZP Executive/ Council

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