Dear colleagues and friends,
I hope this finds you and the ACRM community healthy and doing well. What a year 2020 has turned out to be! I had no idea when I started last November what a wild ride I would be in for.
One of my goals during my presidency was to better connect our membership globally. Little did I know that this would be one of the first areas that I would address. I am so proud of the ACRM Community and what I have seen from all of your responses to the pandemic and working to connect our research and communities throughout the world.
I want to share with you what has been happening with ACRM and how we have been striving to meet the needs of the membership. To begin with, the ACRM Technology Networking Group launched the ACRM Pandemic Webinar Series which was made available globally for free, and has been a tremendous success. We also converted some aspects of the Spring Meeting into a 100% Virtual meeting.
We then began the difficult task of adapting the ACRM Annual Conference to become 100% Virtual. In order to do this, we needed to address staffing, secure software to accommodate ‘BOTH’ the many presenters as well as, ultimately, all of our attendees. At the moment, presenters are in the process of pre-recording their session(s). See the presenter inspirational video.
Further, we engaged a premier consulting firm to conduct virtual focus groups with our members and non-members from around the world, to better understand what each of you most wanted in the virtual environment. What we learned is that Rehabilitation Research is far too Important for us to take a pause. There are so many millions of lives that depend upon us. So, Terri Compos, our Manager of Missions, Jon Lindberg, our CEO and myself asked all of the community groups if we could meet with them with the focus of trying to better understand: “What would The Very Best Virtual ACRM Meeting look like?”
The feedback and responses collected from ACRM’s Board, Executives and group leaders was amazing! Many of the brainstorming ideas resonated with us and we are working to rapidly implement the solutions that came from you and your leaders’ voices.
Perhaps our greatest learning, or should I say confirmation, is how desperately we all need Social Networking. But, how to do it in a Virtual setting? Well, here is a quick list of 14 meaningful ways — totaling over 150 choices — where you will be able to participate and socially engage at the Annual Conference this October:
- Welcome Reception for New Members & First Time Attendees
- ISIG (Interdisciplinary Special Interest Group) Meetings
- Networking Community Group Meetings
- Task Force Meetings
- Conference APP Messaging to other attendees
- Meet the Editors Session
- Discussion Forums
- Create your own meeting
- Chat with Presenters
- Awards Gala
- ePosters Session
- Oral Presentations including the Deborah L. Wilkerson Early Career Award Supported by CARF International
- Closing Reception
We are really giving this year’s meeting all of our energy because, in the end, we believe that Rehabilitation Research is ESSENTIAL to each of us and our communities.
I was reminded just how important we are to making a difference in the lives that we touch, when I received a call last week from a former patient of mine, who I helped over 20 years ago, both clinically and through rehabilitation research. My former patient, and now friend, told me that it had been during a very difficult time that I had somehow helped to give him hope and inspiration to live his life to the fullest!
As I reflected on our call, it occurred to me that in addition to the ‘physical and cognitive rehabilitation’ we all focus on, we are also here to help serve our communities with a type of ‘emotional’ rehabilitation. And, sometimes, it is just our presence that offers hope to others, when things seem so hopeless.
As we get close to this year’s Annual Conference (don’t forget to register!), I wanted to let all of you know that we are working on your behalf at ACRM, trying our very best to listen to all of you and to push ACRM forward, during these difficult times, because there are so many lives and so many communities, around the world, who really need for us to continue our work so that they can strive to carry on in their own work.
Please do feel free to let me know if you have ideas on how ACRM can better serve you and/or if we can help you and your community.
Very Kind Regards,