Q&A: Behind the scenes of Together: Canada's Hospital Pharmacy Conference
Are you curious about what it takes to plan a virtual conference for over 750 attendees? To find out, we sat down to chat with Christina Adams, CSHP’s Chief Pharmacy Officer. Christina has long been an active member of CSHP – she’s held multiple leadership roles at the national level – but one of Christina’s very first experiences with CSHP was as a volunteer at the conference registration desk during her second year of pharmacy school! Now coming full-circle, she’s leading the preparations for Together: Canada’s Hospital Pharmacy Conference.
First of all, whether you're conference planning or not, what’s it like to work at CSHP?
I'm an advocate at heart -- I love to give others the tools they need to be amazing at what they do. What's really special and meaningful about CSHP is that we get to support so many hospital pharmacy teams across the country.
You’ve been working on this conference for many months now. What can we expect from Together?
CSHP is all about community, and this event is a chance for teams across the country to connect. We're excited to give hospital pharmacists and pharmacy technicians amazing accredited educational opportunities, plus some social events to enjoy a break from the difficult year we’ve all had.
How has going virtual changed the shape of the conference?
A virtual event means that we can be much more accessible. CSHP members come from a vast geographical expanse! This year, we’re not limited by the cost of travelling, or taking time off work or away from family. We’ve seen from our current registration numbers – over 700! – that we’ve really been able to open the door for more people to join in. And with on-demand sessions, everyone can tailor the conference to suit their own busy lives.
What’s the key to successfully organizing a virtual conference?
It’s truly a team effort. The entire CSHP staff is involved in conference planning, bringing in their expertise from every angle. Our volunteers across the country are amazing, too. None of this would be possible without such a strong team.
What are some of the challenges of organizing Together?
This is a huge event with almost 40 speakers, 60 posters, plus all of our sponsors and exhibitors. For a virtual conference, there’s a ton of heavy lifting long before the event begins, since all that technology has to be built beforehand. There have definitely been some long days, and a panicked email or two! But it’s been a great experience and a really exciting project to work on.