Author: Andrew Rosen, Executive Director
A Note from Andrew
August in Minnesota. It is hot and humid, and thoughts have turned to my three teenagers getting ready to go back to school. I love the pace of summer – everything slows down a bit, the days are long, and there’s lots of time spent outdoors. I have to remind myself of that come the Minnesota winter!
Pre-Conference Trip to Denver
I have just returned from Denver, CO, where Lori Shogren, NAF’s Community Program and Services Director, and I spent a few days getting to know the venue of our 63rd Annual Ataxia Conference scheduled for March 6-7, 2020. The Sheraton in Downtown Denver is going to be a terrific host for our annual get together. Although the hotel will be in the midst of a renovation while we’re there, the team they have in place to support our group’s unique needs is top notch. Our main meeting space and marketplace area are large and wide with great access from the hotel rooms. It will make for a convenient central spot to meet and socialize. Having seen many of you in Las Vegas at our last AAC, I know having the space and time to simply talk with your fellow Ataxians is a key to the conference. The Sheraton is perfect!
Planning for Accessibility
A couple of other things that have stood out to me as we start to plan in earnest for next year’s meeting: first, Lori does an amazing job of making sure that the venue is ready and well suited for our community. She has organized many AAC’s for us, and that knowledge is invaluable when planning a complex meeting such as AAC. From making sure that there are gender-neutral bathrooms available so that caregivers can be with the person they’re supporting, to measuring bed and desk heights in each hotel room so that those who need accessible furniture will have it, Lori is the best at what she does!
Giving You Better Access to Ataxia Researchers
Second, I couldn’t be more excited for the program we have started to put together for the meeting. I have heard consistent feedback from many of you since I started at NAF that you want more access to researchers and clinicians at our meetings. Well, we’re listening! The Ataxia Investigators Meeting (AIM) will occur just before AAC in 2020, so we will take advantage of the presence of this group of world-leading Ataxia researchers and bring them directly into our general session on Friday morning. You’ll have the chance to meet with them directly, not simply listen to a few of them from the stage. We’re looking forward to this new level of access and community building.
Join Us for 2020 AAC
I am hoping many of you will join us in Denver next March. As you can see, I think it will be a terrific meeting! The interest we are receiving from the pharmaceutical industry is unprecedented in the history of NAF, and they will be well-represented in Denver. Partnering with these companies in the pursuit of treatments is a critical and exciting next step. As always, we welcome your feedback and comments.