TOS Announces Interactive, Online Format for ObesityWeek®

SILVER SPRING, Md.–The Obesity Society (TOS) announced today that it will hold its 38th annual meeting at ObesityWeek® in an interactive, online format titled ObesityWeek® Interactive. The event will take place Nov. 2-6, 2020 at http://www.obesityweek.org.

This change in format has been necessitated by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, and its persistent effects on health risk, travel and large gatherings.

“We are fortunate to have our annual meeting in the fall, giving us time to witness the scope and effect of the coronavirus pandemic. We have made the decision to migrate to the ObesityWeek® Interactive now so that we have time to develop as engaging and interactive a meeting as possible with the remote communications technologies available,” said TOS President Lee M. Kaplan, MD, PhD. Kaplan is director of the Obesity, Metabolism and Nutrition Institute at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston.

Kaplan added that “in our original planning, the focus for this year’s meeting has been on the scientific basis of precision obesity care. Given recent events, the program will also emphasize work on the relationship between obesity and COVID-19, and the important impact of stigma, discrimination and disparities in care to the effectiveness of obesity prevention and treatment strategies.”

“This year’s virtual ObesityWeek® will bring you all of the advances in obesity research and clinical care, with new opportunities for all scientists, clinicians, students, trainees and stakeholders to participate in the meeting through an interactive virtual platform. It is our sincere hope that we all will remain safe and healthy as we strive to serve our membership with what we believe is an outstanding ObesityWeek® 2020 meeting,” said TOS Program Planning Committee Chair Matt Hayes, PhD. Hayes is an associate professor of nutritional neuroscience, and vice chair for basic and translational neuroscience research in the Department of Psychiatry, Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania.

In making this decision, TOS leadership has been guided by the course and pattern of viral spread in different areas of the country, recommendations of medical and public health experts and the response of local and national officials.

“Our world has changed significantly since the last ObesityWeek®–much of our clinical work has shifted to a virtual model and it is only right to adopt some of these advances into how we interact as a scientific community. ObesityWeek Interactive’s online format is a great way for us to learn about cutting-edge science and advances in clinical care, without the stress of travel during these uncertain times,” said TOS Program Planning Committee Co-chair Jaime Almandoz, MD, MBA. Almandoz is assistant professor in the Division of Endocrinology and medical director of the Weight and Wellness Program at UT Southwestern in Dallas, Texas.

As ObesityWeek® 2020 Interactive is developed, TOS will aim to reproduce the most important parts of its usual in-person meeting. The Society will also look to enhance and extend the traditional conference by exploiting the unique capabilities of an online format. The organization has assembled a working group of TOS members to help guide this effort. In addition, feedback from a recent survey of TOS members and past ObesityWeek® attendees will be used to guide the structure and program for ObesityWeek® Interactive.

“We are very encouraged by the plans for ObesityWeek® Interactive, as they retain many of the critical aspects of the live meeting, while also providing the opportunity for enhancements and greater participation from typically underrepresented groups,” said TOS President-elect Catherine Kotz, PhD, FTOS, professor and director of graduate studies for the Integrative Biology and Physiology Department at the University of Minnesota and associate director of research at the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs’ Geriatric Research Education and Clinical Center in Minneapolis.

For more information, visit the ObesityWeek® website at http://www.obesityweek.org. Social media messages can be posted with the hashtag #ObesityWeekIsHappening to Facebook and Twitter.

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The Obesity Society (TOS) is the leading organization of scientists and health professionals devoted to understanding and reversing the epidemic of obesity and its adverse health, economic and societal effects. Combining the perspective of researchers, clinicians, policymakers and patients, TOS promotes innovative research, education, and evidence-based clinical care to improve the health and well-being of all people with obesity. For more information, visit http://www.obesityweek.org.

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Kristin Collins
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