Article Image

AAN 2021 Preview: Virtual Networking Hubs & Hub-And-Spoke Knowledge Sharing

Op-Med is a collection of original articles contributed by Doximity members.

The annual meeting for American Academy of Neurology (AAN) will be held virtually from April 17th-20th. The meeting agenda is packed with 90+ education courses, as well as four entertainment evenings from comedy night with Jim Gaffigan, to mixology, allowing everyone to find a way to enjoy a few evenings with their colleagues. One major offering that will be most appreciated by attendees is the access to live streaming and recorded session up to 30 days after the conference.

Some highlights of the meeting that I am most looking forward to are plenary sessions which are always outstanding and well attended. For the first time, the 2021 Hot Topics Plenary session will be dedicated to only one topic: “Neuro-COVID.” The keynote speakers are Dr. Walter Koroshetz and Dr. Anthony Fauci. They will be followed by four impressive speakers who will discuss their research results in this important area.

Networking Hub is an opportunity to have focused conversations. There are several scheduled times for this type of networking opportunity with diverse and interesting themes such as “conversation with the AAN CEO,” “The World of Advanced Practice Providers (APPs)” and “Charting Your leadership Journey.” These hubs can be a great way to connect with others who are on the same path and share similar interests, so I am excited to attend a few sessions.

In addition to the networking hubs, public and private chat channels will be available during the annual meeting. Access to the direct messaging system will allow us to reach out to others easily. These features have both video chat and messaging capabilities, so there are plenty of ways to interact directly with peers. In some ways, this is more efficient than finding a quiet place at a physical location and there is also no need for comfortable walking shoes!

I have always found Experiential Learning Area (ELA) to be high yield. These comprise of short 20-minute presentations in six different areas which are: Academic Neurology, Leadership in Neurology, Headtalks, Careers in Neurology, Practice/Policy/Performance and Wellness. I am presenting on two topics. One is Project ECHO (Extension for Community Health care outcomes) which is a hub and spoke knowledge-sharing model that can be a way to mitigate Neurophobia, offer CME in a different way, and improve primary care knowledge to address fragmentation of care. The other topic is a discussion on different models of care with Dr. Andrew Wilson. We hope to introduce the care models that are seen with value-based care to the audience to help improve familiarity. 

Overall, the annual meeting is packed with diverse topics that bring value to the members from all subspecialties and professional settings. The virtual format allows members the opportunity to learn, engage with their peers, and network without compromising their safety. The new surge seen in many parts of the country is likely associated with changes to clinical schedules for many, vacation restriction, and additional challenges with coordinating responsibilities at home. So, having access to the educational offering that can be accessed for 30 days provides the convenience that can be very meaningful for all of us. Similarly, the live talk by Alison Levine, the first American Women's Everest Expedition team captain that focuses on tenacity, team building, and adaptability is very timely and appropriate to help us when we need to pay extra attention to building resiliency. AAN’s effort to make this year’s meeting experience aligned with the demands of the current environment is commendable.

I am looking forward to next week!

All opinions published on Op-Med are the author’s and do not reflect the official position of Doximity or its editors. Op-Med is a safe space for free expression and diverse perspectives. For more information, or to submit your own opinion, please see our submission guidelines or email

More from Op-Med