San Diego Convention Center Welcomes a Medical Meeting 24 Years in the Making

The prestigious American College of Surgeons Clinical Conference is making its debut at the San Diego Convention Center. The event has over 13,000 attendees, 9,000 of them are surgeons and 15 percent are international visitors.

The purpose of the conference is for surgeons to gain ongoing education, networking and learn the latest innovations in surgery.

"Our attendance is very strong this year, and I think it speaks to the allure of the destination," said Director of Convention and Meetings Bob Hope. "We also have 231 staff members coming to the event, and a lot of them have never been to San Diego before.

Conventions can take many years of planning, especially for large organizations who strive for every detail of their event to be figured out far in advance. We currently have events contracted as far out as 2035, but the discussions with potential clients can start years before the contracts are signed.

The story of this particular medical meeting begins back in 1993, when Angie Ranalli, CMP, Vice President of Sales (Midwest Region) at the San Diego Tourism Authority, had recently begun working at the Chicago office.

"We are located in Chicago because of its close proximity to the healthcare associations," said Ranalli. "And the College of Surgeons headquarters are located less than a block away from our offices."

Many annual events are on a rotation where they cycle through different regions every year, returning to a region every four to six years. It took 10 years for the ACS Board to consider changing their Clinical Congress rotation to bring them to San Diego.

In 2003, serious discussions about bringing ACS to our convention center began. It wasn't until 2008 when the contracts were finally signed for the event happening today.

The San Diego Convention Center is in the middle of a record-breaking year for hosting medical meetings, with 21 being the highest number of medical events contracted in a calendar year.

Medical meetings are especially desirable for a convention center, because they attract attendees with more disposable income, perform well in economic downturns and the attendees are more likely to bring their families and stay for vacation.

The American College of Surgeons' Executive Director Dr. David B. Hoyt, MD, FACS, is a local San Diegan, and was said to be extraordinarily excited for this year's conference.

"I was at their all-staff internal pre-con meeting," said Ranalli. "Dr. Hoyt gave a 25-minute overview of San Diego to the College, with the history, the attractions and info on our scientific community. He is our number one fan."

As part of their conference, ACS is giving back to the surrounding community by opening up a special session to the San Diego Convention Center's staff. It's called "Stop The Bleed," and its focus is on emergency preparedness, and on teaching personnel basic wound treatment for an emergency situation. It's an important professional development experience that will help us continue to provide a safe environment for meeting planners and our guests.

“We appreciate ACS opening up this course to our staff members," said Executive Vice President & General Manager Karen Totaro, CFE.  "The safety of our guests is our number one priority, and this will help ensure that our staff is trained and prepared for emergency situations.”

We're proud to host the American College of Surgeon's annual Clinical Conference, and are looking forward to having them back in 2022.

Posted by Alec Church, on October 24, 2017
Attendees, Events, Meeting Planners

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