On behalf of the STFM Program Committee, I wish to thank everyone who provided feedback on our 2023 STFM Annual Spring Conference. We hear you and carefully review all feedback to make adjustments and changes for future conferences. In the spirit of transparency, we would like to share some additional information with you about conference planning and respond to some of the reoccurring comments from you.
Why is STFM hosting a conference in Florida?
The STFM Board of Directors created a policy on moving/rescheduling conferences. The full policy can be found here. The policy states when STFM will consider moving/rescheduling events. STFM conferences are booked years in advance and specifically the Annual Spring Conference is booked up to 5 years in advance.
As stated in the policy, STFM is asking our members that rather than boycotting a state they should consider opportunities for community engagement to support local faculty in the area by bringing our presence to a city/state. In Tampa, STFM arranged a volunteer opportunity with the Metropolitan Ministries, a grassroots nonprofit organization that provides services to those who are homeless or at risk of homelessness.
Why aren't there more snacks/refreshments available throughout the meeting day?
We would love to be able to offer snacks/refreshments all day long; however, it is not financially possible without raising the conference registration fee significantly. Banquet pricing is much higher than what you would pay for the same items for household use. To give you some perspective, here is the pricing of a few items for a conference:
- Gallon of Coffee: Up to $120
- Soda: $5-7 each
- Continental Breakfast: $50 per person
- Granola bar: $5 each
- Boxed lunch: $60-65 per person
Where does my conference registration fee go?
In addition to paying the expenses of running a conference like food and beverage, AV, conference app, plenary speaker fees, and more, STFM also relies on net revenue from conferences to support the organization. STFM has a $5.3 million operating budget, and revenue from membership brings in about $1.5 million. That means STFM needs to make up the difference in other non-dues revenue-generating activities like conferences, journal advertising, and subscription-based services to pay for other important expenses and initiatives like staff salaries, rent, IT infrastructure, advocacy efforts, our journals, and other key programs that don’t have a charge.
Why can’t we hold conferences at less-expensive hotels?
STFM staff works hard to remain educated about properties around the country that bring the best value for the cost, and we negotiate the best contracts possible with hotels, including room rates, reduced food and beverage prices, complimentary meeting room space, and more. STFM conferences use a lot of meeting space, and many smaller and less-expensive properties don’t have the space needed for our groups. It’s also important that STFM hold conferences in hotels with staff who are trained to host conferences of our size. We don’t want the meeting experience for attendees to be diminished because the hotel wasn’t equipped to handle our group.
Why did STFM add an “open/wellness afternoon” to the conference schedule?
STFM recognizes the importance of wellness and self-care for our attendees/members. Wellness is a critical part of preventing burnout and maintaining quality patient care. We wanted to provide intentionally scheduled time during the conference.
STFM adjusted the conference schedule to be able to offer a wellness afternoon. The addition of the wellness afternoon didn’t impact the number of CME hours we are able to offer at the conference. This schedule change only had a small impact on the overall schedule with the extension of the final conference day by one hour compared to past years.
Why does STFM not have printed programs and now use a conference app instead?
A conference schedule is always changing. Printed programs are typically out of date almost immediately. A conference mobile app allows attendees to always have the most up-to-date information. We are even able to send out alerts with any last-minute schedule changes. We do understand that some attendees prefer paper schedules and therefore we provide a PDF schedule in the pre-conference email for those who would like to print it themselves. STFM is continuing to find ways to improve the app. The Program Committee has created a subcommittee that will review the app and help implement your feedback.
Thank you again for attending the Annual Spring Conference, continuing to complete our conference evaluations, and providing this valuable feedback. If you have any questions and comments, please reach out to STFM’s Director of Conferences Melissa Abuel, CMP, at firstname.lastname@example.org.