The COVID-19 pandemic has caused us great concern for the health and safety of our patients, communities and colleagues around the world. Although we continue to plan for IFOS 2021 in Vancouver, Canada, at this time, we must plan for the possibility that our best efforts will be derailed by this pandemic.
We remain eager to put on a magnificent in-person programme and show you all the wonders of Vancouver and Canada, but we are alive to the reality that it may have to wait until June 2022 or whenever it is safe and appropriate to welcome you to the next World Congress. In the meantime… who would have guessed?
Who would have guessed, after over a decade of various attempts, that in July 2017 the Canadian Society of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery would finally be selected to host the 2021 ENT World Congress in Vancouver, a first for Canada in the history of IFOS? Who would have guessed that in late December 2019, reports would begin to circulate of a novel virus that would come to be known as COVID-19, a pandemic that has effectively paralysed the world? Who would have guessed the border between Canada and the US – the world’s longest undefended international border – would be closed except for essential travel for an unprecedented five months and counting as of the date of writing this article (2020)?
The proposed theme for the 2021 World Congress, to be held in Vancouver, turned out to be truly prescient: Globalization of Healthcare. For Sep/Oct 2020, Drs Thierry Mom and Jane Lea share their thoughts on globalisation, interconnectivity and unintended consequences, particularly in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic.
If you were in Paris for the World Congress in July 2017, you would have heard from Dr Gigi Osler about her passion for physician health and wellness, which has become even more important in these troubling times. In her article, Dr Osler speaks to strategies for maintaining balance now and into the future.
Think of the changes you have seen in your lifetime, regardless of whether you are a new physician or have had a seasoned career: the numerous advances in how we care for our patients over the past several years are endless and have occurred at a dramatic rate. Drs Cian Hughes and Sumit Agrawal discuss further potential impacts of technology on the ways in which we will deliver care into the future.
On a daily basis, we receive notices of meetings, courses and congresses being shifted from in-person to virtual formats. Dr Laurie McLean speaks to learning theory and how we need to rethink the way we organise and deliver our educational programming.
Finally, we have responded to a series of questions posed by Dr Osler regarding the Vancouver World Congress. This is a glimpse into our thoughts and what we expect to produce for your learning and enjoyment when the event takes place in 2021 or later.