By Nicole Heath Bixler, DO, MBA, FACOFP
ACOFP President

As we embark on a new year with renewed hope that our scientific knowledge and public health awareness will continue to bring us closer to a sense of normalcy, it is time to reunite! We are excited to convene a “family reunion” of colleagues and friends at the ACOFP 59th Annual Convention & Scientific Seminars in Dallas, Texas, March 17–20.

We have all had unique and challenging experiences since our last in-person ACOFP convention in Chicago in 2019, and we are long overdue to share osteopathic hugs, conversations about our growing families, updates regarding our careers and some good laughs. With this as our focus, ACOFP has reimagined your convention experience to prioritize in-person engagement while delivering exceptional educational content.

In response to feedback from previous conventions and membership surveys, as well as the work of the Task Force on Convention Innovation, we are poised to enjoy a convention experience that is hybrid in many ways. From a CME standpoint, this year’s event will feature more than 30 hours of live 30- and 45-minute sessions across two tracks. Plus, attendees will have access to all sessions they missed on-demand—for up to one year after the event. Can’t make it in person? If your schedule doesn’t allow or if you would prefer to participate from the comfort of your home or office, please know that a virtual option will also be available, offering access to all the high-quality CME that ACOFP is known for providing.

To maximize the on-site experience, ACOFP ’22 will feature new and improved networking opportunities and more time to make meaningful connections, including a Welcome Reception to kick off the event and a re-envisioned President’s Banquet that will be open to all attendees without the need for a separate ticket. These experiences will be more reminiscent of “ACOFP fun nights” of the past while incorporating the needs of our diverse membership at this time. Our goal is to make this convention the highlight of 2022—and one that you will talk about for years to come.

When I reflect on my favorite ACOFP memories, they are often the ones shared at our past conventions. I have attended a rodeo in Phoenix, enjoyed the beach view in San Juan, been in Chicago when the river is green for St. Patrick’s Day and celebrated the presidential election of my mentors in Philadelphia and Las Vegas. There have been ice cream socials, casino nights, family breakfasts, entertainment from our own colleagues and my seven-year-old daughter dancing to “Single Ladies” at Dr. Robert DeLuca’s President’s Reception. All these moments have allowed me to build new connections in new places.

My three daughters have practically grown up with ACOFP as their extended family since I was elected to the Board of Governors in 2013, and our family is grateful for the love, kindness and opportunity to serve in this capacity. Our collective hope was to add an exciting celebration in New Orleans to our list of fond memories before those plans were derailed by COVID-19.

It was then—and still is now—important to me to foster the incorporation of family in all that we do at our convention. Whether that is your nuclear family, your extended family, your work family or your ACOFP family, we want to come together in a welcoming and inclusive environment for everyone to learn, engage and make new memories.

I am excited for what we have planned in March. Our venue and schedule will provide the perfect backdrop for expanding your clinical knowledge while attending a true family reunion. We will celebrate the installation of Dr. Bruce Williams as your new ACOFP president, quite possibly with some Texas BBQ. With fun, food and family, what could possibly go wrong? Don’t answer that! Instead, make plans to join us as we celebrate being together again as the largest and strongest osteopathic specialty.

See y’all in Dallas!

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