By Brenda Schimenti, Executive Director
Event site selection has been increasingly challenging for all associations with post-pandemic costs skyrocketing along with state legislation considered, by many, to be discriminatory and harmful. Our Annual Meeting 2024 (April 7-10, Orlando) host state of Florida is certainly one of those in the news this week with NAACP and others issuing travel advisories. Why then is AAPP hosting an event in Florida?
By hosting the AAPP Annual Meeting in Florida, we are not ignoring that we see this as an environment counter to our stated organizational values of:
Regardless of the location, it is our goal to use our event as an opportunity to support the rights, safety, and well-being of all AAPP members and the patients we serve. Through our programming, meeting activities, and donations to local causes important to us, we demonstrate that we are who we are, psychiatric pharmacists. Just like past events, AAPP 2024 will encourage AAPP members to engage with and support others while increasing their knowledge, skills, and personal understanding as we all work collectively to increase access and care for patients, no matter their backgrounds.
We have developed an FAQ webpage that provides detailed information regarding the many factors AAPP considers and the additional market factors that impact our event site search for meeting locations. As noted in these FAQs, meeting venues are booked years in advance of the actual event, just as our 2024 Annual Meeting event site of Orlando was booked in 2018. Unfortunately, controversial state legislation has become the norm in Florida and dozens of other states since 2018. However, political reasons are not considered grounds to nullify a contract and walking away would require paying out nearly the full value of the contract. That would mean redirecting hundreds of thousands of member dollars from programs and financially damaging the organization. While destination boycotts are usually well-intentioned, they can often harm those working in the hospitality industry—hotels, venues, restaurants, etc.—as well as lower tax revenues that support many of the programs patients living with mental illness and substance use disorders might utilize.
Please review our future event sites and these FAQs and feel free to provide any feedback to me and the Board via phone at 402.476.1677 or via email at Board@AAPP.org.