So how many of you know what the APSS (Associated Professional Sleep Societies) is? Well the APSS is a partnership between the American Academy of Sleep Medicine and the Sleep Research Society. It was formed in 2002 and has its own set of bylaws. What does the APSS do? It has two main functions: The APSS administers our annual scientific meeting, which is now known as SLEEP, the Annual Meeting of the Associated Professional Sleep Societies, and it produces the journal SLEEP. The “other journal”, the Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine, is owned solely by the AASM.
The APSS Board of Directors consists of members of both the AASM and SRS Boards of Directors. This committee appoints a Program Committee, which then develops the annual meeting. The chair of the Program Committee serves a 2-year term and he/she is from the SRS or the AASM in an alternating pattern. The APSS committee always meets face-to-face at the annual meeting and usually has conference calls during the year to discuss the status of the program and the journal.
So why am I writing about this? Because I think it is important for our members to understand that the annual meeting is not the AASM’s meeting nor the SRS’s meeting – it is truly a joint venture. This summer, the APSS Board of Directors met at the national office to take a critical look at the functions of the APSS. It was a very productive meeting. Dr. David Dinges, the editor-in-chief of the journal Sleep, gave us an update on how things were progressing since SLEEP went from a print edition to an online journal. Thanks to Dr. Dinges and the staff who work on the journal, the transition was quite smooth and for the most part well-received. The APSS board was overwhelmingly pleased with the progress the journal has made with regards to turn around time for publication, the impact factor (which continues to rise) and the overall content. We are happy that the contract for Dr. Dinges was renewed and we are pleased he will continue to “steer the ship” for the next 5 years.
The other major issue that the APSS Board of Directors examined was the annual meeting. The discussion was broad, and touched on the location, timing, content, exhibitors, abstracts and hotels. I certainly learned a lot about how a meeting functions and the complex process that occurs to pull it off. I am sure you will agree that when you attend one of the SLEEP meetings, things for the most part run relatively seamlessly – but there are “bumps in the road” that are usually smoothed out by the staff without most of us even being aware. And this is even more impressive considering that the AADSM and the AAST also run their annual meetings concurrently!
Much discussion revolved around the site for the meeting. Again, this is not a trivial matter. The size of our meeting is such that we don’t need some of the gigantic conference centers that some societies need – like San Diego, New York, or Chicago. You know, those ones where you walk and walk and walk to get to the next session only to find out it was on the other side! But our size is also such now that we cannot comfortably fit in a hotel. And, we like to vary the part of the country where the meeting is held to accommodate our attendees so the idea is to rotate among cities on the East Coast, the Midwest and the West Coast. So although some may grumble because a meeting is here or there, a lot of thought that goes into that process. The decision is also impacted by the location of enough hotel rooms and reasonable pricing of meals and transportation.
We also discussed the content of the meeting: Is it too orientated to clinical or research interests, are too many honor lectures scheduled, do we offer too many or too few postgraduate courses? We also discussed how to best attract people to the poster sessions for abstracts. Both the Chair and the Vice Chair of the Program Committee were in attendance, and both provided information and garnered information from the APSS Board of Directors to give them desired direction for upcoming meetings. I will not detail what the changes will be, but the annual meeting will likely have a little different look in Boston; I can guarantee you will like it. It was a very productive meeting and I look forward to seeing what the offerings will be at SLEEP 2012! Please mark your calendars and plan to attend! And, have a great Labor day weekend!