2020 NNDC Virtual Conference Wrap-Up!
Last week, the National Network of Depression Centers held its 12th Annual Conference – but this time we were not all physically together to learn. Like many organizations, the NNDC made the decision to go virtual this year in order to reduce risk to our attendees. So, on October 1 and 2, staff, speakers, panelists, moderators, and attendees all logged on from home offices, dining room tables, and even a closet to gather together as we do every year!
In crafting the program theme for this virtual event – Advances in Psychiatry: COVID-19 and Beyond – we knew we needed to address the unique challenges this year has created for us all. We also knew that we wanted to provide shorter, more engaging sessions that allowed attendees to plug in without being away from their other responsibilities for too long. With all of that in mind, we put together a program designed to offer something for everyone, with a strong focus on the impact of COVID-19 in our field. On October 1, we focused on the challenges of COVID-19 and had an especially enlightening discussion on growing a research career during the pandemic. On October 2, we focused on NNDC updates and opportunities to get involved with groups like the Women & Mood Disorders Task Group. We also offered a unique twist on our annual David Mrazek Memorial Lecture – this time offered as a panel discussion on practical considerations for when, if ever, to use pharmacogenomic testing for depression.
Each day culminated in virtual poster session featuring a combined total of forty-one posters! This year’s poster session ranks among the top 3 of all previous conferences in terms of posters submitted, and we are so grateful to everyone who presented their work. Conference attendees viewed posters online and visited Zoom meeting rooms to engage with presenters. At the end of the event we were pleased to select the following winners for Best Poster in each of three categories:
- Valeria Cuellar, MD (University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston) won best poster in the basic science category for “Deep brain stimulation in the medial forebrain bundle for treatment resistant depression: an open-label, long-term study”
- Steven Lamontagne, MSc (McLean Hospital) won best poster in the COVID-19 category for “Inflammation links stress to poor COVID-19 outcome”
- Cherry Leung, PhD, RN (University of California San Francisco) won best poster in the clinical programs category for “Women’s Perinatal and Postpartum Depression Predict Sympathetic Dominance in Infant ANS Response to Stressors over the First 6 Months of Life”
This conference was new in many ways, but in the end it felt just like old times. Like so many others, we adapted and adapted again as the year unfolded and we hoped that a virtual conference would feel as collegial and welcoming as it did in-person. We couldn’t be happier with our results and owe a debt of gratitude to our speakers, panelists, program committee, and our sponsors for adapting alongside us! And of course, we are so grateful to the record breaking 218 people who registered to attend!
If you’d like to learn more about our speakers and view their slides, please click the button below. Thank you all for an absolutely wonderful conference!