Making the Impossible Possible


Thanh Dinh, DPM, FACFAS
ACFAS President

The Annual Scientific Conference has always held a special place in my professional and personal life. I have attended the conference almost every year, wearing different hats. Whether I was an attendee, a speaker, a committee member, the Annual Scientific Conference Committee chair or a Board member, I can recall the palpable excitement as the conference drew near. Standing in line to pick up my registration, I would run into classmates, attendings from my days as a resident and colleagues from Boston. Hugs and banter would ensue, and we would laugh at how we have all “matured” with our greying or thinning hair and catching up on family news. Following a jam-packed week of fascinating talks from leaders in the field and late nights socializing with old and new colleagues, I would fly back home inspired and ready to use my new found knowledge to treat my patients with cutting edge techniques and ideas.

The 2020 Conference keynote speaker, Ben Nemtin, delivered an inspiring roadmap of his “Five Steps to Make the Impossible Possible.” Sitting in the audience, little did we know that delivering the traditionally successful Annual Scientific Conference in 2021 would be a case study in how ACFAS could make the impossible possible.

The pandemic has caused many organizations to cancel in-person meetings and after lengthy deliberation and carefully weighing the risks and benefits, ACFAS has decided to hold our first-ever hybrid Scientific Conference, delivering the same high-quality content in both virtual and in-person experiences. To do so, the Annual Scientific Conference Committee and ACFAS staff have worked diligently with our Mandalay Bay partners to ensure safety remains our number one priority for attendees, staff and the larger community. But as we all know, rules and regulations are changing rapidly, but caution remains paramount as we navigate this new normal.

So as we pivot our ACFAS 2021 to the first-ever hybrid event, I have embraced Ben Nemtin’s philosophy on five steps to make the impossible possible (plus, I am a list maker):

1.Adhere to the Local Rules. We will all be traveling from different states, perhaps states that no longer require masks. But, let’s recognize we will be guests of the Mandalay Bay and we should respect their rules as well as ACFAS’ and the local and state ordinances.

2.Choices Are Good! Perhaps your hospital or practice will not allow you to travel or family commitments prohibit your absence from home. The beauty of this year is you can attend remotely should you choose. No worries about jet lag either and loungewear is wholly appropriate!

3.Embrace Change. Remember standing in line to scan for CME credits or coffee? No longer! The smaller conference will allow for less waiting and more educating! The intimate lectures will facilitate meaningful conversations.

4.No Monday Morning Quarterbacks Allowed. The Conference Committee and ACFAS staff have worked tirelessly to coordinate our largest conference with constant pivoting due to the quickly evolving rules and regulations. Let’s try not to “could have, should have, would have” their difficult decisions.

5.We Are in This Together. Looking forward to welcoming everyone back to our ACFAS home – both in-person and virtually!