SIAARTI Reinvents Congress Concept, Creating Traveling Event for Doctors
SIAARTI, the Italian Society of Anaesthesia, Analgesia, Intensive Care and Resuscitation, together with AIM Group International, a company with 60 years of experience in congresses, events and communication, broke the mold and re-invented the concept of a congress. Through its Traveling with ICARE tour, which took place Sept. 21-Oct. 4, anesthesiologists and resuscitators were greeted around Italy with a traveling knowledge exchange event.
“We understood that the scientific society members needed to feel closeness to their colleagues engaged in the ongoing health emergency, and it was necessary to find a solution to facilitate discussion and involve all stakeholders despite current limitations,” said Gaia Santoro, project manager and head of sponsorship unit for AIM Group International.
Over the summer, AIM began discussing options for transitioning SIAARTI’s annual fall congress to a virtual experience. Then, the idea came up about bringing the show to its audience, rather than the other way around. “We decided to realize a tour with a big truck, a pop-up meeting area outdoors and a recording studio inside,” Santoro said.
The solution: For the first time, the congress left its physical location and traveled to major hospitals. Anaesthesiologists and resuscitators, still dealing with the pandemic, had the opportunity to participate in the live events, held close to where they work rather than traveling to a congress. “It was a courageous event, but one that combined safety, knowledge exchange, innovation and ability to react,” said Santoro.
For two weeks, the SIAARTI truck went on tour, visiting hospitals in eight Italian cities — Turin, Milan, Brescia, Padua, Bologna, Rome, Naples and Bari — covering a total of about 1,120 miles and strictly following preventive measures and social distancing. Masks were required for all speakers, sponsors, technicians and attendees at all times, as were temperature checks.
The participants had the opportunity to meet experts, health managers, local administrators and sponsors in the outdoor meeting area and attend dozens of round tables, interviews and meet-the-expert sessions. A total of 48 hours of training were provided. In addition, the content collected during the tour enriched the web platform of the annual congress: SIAARTI ICare 2020, which took place in a virtual format.
“We are very satisfied with the results,” said Rosangela Quieti, managing director of the congress division of AIM. “Since the event took place during the COVID-19 emergency, it required a good dose of courage. It also provided an example of how we can return to in-person events in a safe and effective way.”
Across the eight cities, more than 800 people were involved with the traveling event. “The tour was really appreciated both by the members, who felt the closeness of the scientific society and were involved in a series of useful and interesting discussions, and by SIAARTI,” says Santoro. “It is possible that a traveling event will be also proposed in the future.”