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December 11, 2018
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Americas: How One Conference Is Creating Customized Content Neighborhoods


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How do you create multiple, distinct neighborhoods in one big village that exists for five days inside a convention center once a year? And how do you make each neighborhood a vibrant place of connection, communication, and education, while at the same time create pathways to “cross-pollinate” across neighborhoods and build a greater identification with the village as a whole?

A good person to ask would be Kirsten Olean, CAE, director of meetings, American Society for Microbiology. She joined ASM in 2014, two months after the society announced plans to merge its two largest conventions: the General Meeting and the Interscience Conference on Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy (ICAAC). The meetings had little content overlap. The first focused on basic science and diagnostics and served as the society’s membership convention. The second centered on antimicrobial development and infectious diseases, and attracted more physicians and international attendees (more than 50 percent of the total).

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