• By Colleen Tewksbury
  • In 2020
  • March 12, 2020

Cancellation of PAND AME 2020

With heavy hearts, we are cancelling the 2020 PA Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics Annual Meeting and Exhibition which was scheduled for March 27, 2020 in King of Prussia.


In an effort to be completely transparent with membership and the public, we’d like to share with you some background information on how we came to this decision.


This decision was not made lightly

Given the time and effort that has gone into planning this event, the benefits it provides to members, and the commitments from vendors and sponsors, this was an extremely difficult decision. The AME committee and Executive Board of Directors unanimously voted on this decision.  PAND was the first state Academy affiliate to take this step to do our part to protect the commonwealth.


We will be releasing more information as additional plans are solidified to offer components of AME in a virtual format. All award winners will be recognized, and we will work with vendors to determine the best steps to honor our commitments. Careful consideration has been and will continue to be given to our budget and avoiding any unintended costs.


We are grateful for the strong leadership of our President, Susan Adams, MS, RD, LDN, FAND, and AME co-chairs, Nicole Goodrich, MS, RDN, LDN, CHWC and Amanda Kopetsky, MS, RD, LDN, for recognizing that the best decision in a time of crisis is often not the popular or easy one.


We need to learn from our peers

Although the impact of COVID-19 has been limited in PA up to this point, Montgomery County, where AME was scheduled to be held, currently has the majority of presumptive positive diagnoses for the state. The report of a clinical provider practicing less than a mile from the scheduled location of AME who unknowingly exposed their patients and coworkers to the virus is a stark reminder of the seriousness of this issue.


Additionally, we are looking to learn from the events in Boston, where a professional conference was the main point of contact for more than 70 individuals who contracted and further spread the virus across the region.


Recognizing we have an obligation to our members and given recent events, cancelling the in-person event is the best move.


Let’s live up to our stated values

The values of the PA Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics are Integrity, Advocacy, Leadership, and Excellence. We have an opportunity to exercise these in the face of trying times.


Many have dismissed concerns citing the low risk to younger, healthy individuals and stressing the need for basic public health hygiene measures. Another foundation principle of public health is the necessity for those at low risk to protect those at high risk by “flattening the curve,” a term used to describe decreasing transmission rates by practicing short-term social distancing. The challenge facing our commonwealth and country will take science and medicine, but also partnership and unity by all of society.


This is our opportunity to be leaders in the community by doing our part to help reduce the effects of this virus and live our values by protecting the public, specifically the most vulnerable within our commonwealth.