Dear APPAM Members,
We have heard from many of you recently regarding future sites for the APPAM Fall Research Conference, how those sites might affect your ability to access healthcare or how various city or state laws affect your own personal liberties and freedoms. We understand your concerns. We want to share our future contracted locations with you, explain how conference sites are chosen and talk about our guiding principles with respect to selecting future sites.
APPAM has conference contracts signed through 2027 (’22: DC, ’23: Atlanta, ’24: National Harbor (right outside of DC), ’25: Seattle, ’27: Indianapolis); the site for 2026 is currently being sourced but will most likely be Boston. In most cases, these contracts were signed years ago. These locations were chosen for their relative ease for travel, their ability to host a conference APPAM’s size in one place to maximize networking, and our desire to rotate around the country as much as possible to accommodate our entire membership. Our Meetings and Conferences committee makes a recommendation on future conference sites, in conjunction with staff, to the larger Board, or Policy Council, and the Board votes to approve the site.
There have been calls on social media and elsewhere for APPAM and other organizations to move their conferences from states without access to abortion or other restrictive laws that could affect attendees. The financial implications for small non-profit organizations like APPAM to cancel contracts are devastating, often in the several hundred-thousand-dollar range. An organization like APPAM cannot absorb a loss like that. Further, fully embracing a hybrid meeting model to accommodate everyone who cannot/will not travel is not without significant financial implications either, nor does it deliver an experience that our members have come to expect from our conferences.
APPAM strives to be as inclusive as possible. We are an organization that prizes, above all else, the health and safety of our members. As such, we are committed to holding future conferences in states that make our members—all our members—feel safe and welcome. In fact, one of the elements that the Meetings and Conferences committee are urged to consider when recommending a site is the comfort of all attendees. However, state policies can (and do) change between site selection and conference time. They can even change between the time registration opens to when the conference kicks off.
We hope this helps you understand the many competing priorities and challenges our leadership struggles with when making decisions like these. None of these decisions are easy. We hope you know we are doing the best we possibly can.
If you have any comments or questions about this process or want to get more involved in future planning, please reach out.
The APPAM Executive Committee