Message from the SSR President about SSR 2020

Dear Colleagues,

The SSR Board met yesterday and made the difficult decision to cancel the upcoming SSR 2020 meeting. With state and federal government restrictions on travel and business activities, we recognize that many of you have shut down your labs and canceled your travel plans for the rest of the spring and summer. We are also sensitive to how COVID-19 has impacted our personal lives. SSR is proud of the community of scientists that make up our membership and we will be taking some steps to support you during this challenging time.

Cancellations
Our first step toward this process is to refund all meeting registrations in full, with no processing fee. Also, if you booked your stay at the Westin, Novotel, or Les Suites in Ottawa, either directly through the official SSR booking website or via phone, those reservations will be canceled for you and you will be receiving a confirmation of cancellation within the next 5-7 business days. Please do not contact the hotel at this time. If you booked accommodations through a third-party booking website (expedia.com, kayak.com, etc.), you will need to cancel these yourself.

Supporting Early Career Investigators and Trainees
With economic uncertainty comes increased need for mentorship and recognition for those looking to move forward in their career. In the coming weeks we will be announcing new programs for mentorship, spotlights on up-and-coming early career investigators, and more.

In honor of our commitment to early career investigators and trainees, we will be moving forward with our 2020 abstract-related awards to recognize those who have submitted their best research. This means that the trainee merit and travel awards will be announced this year and the monetary award can be used to support travel to the 2021 conference. The merit award winners will also be given the opportunity to record a brief podcast or 3-minute video about their research to be featured online and on social media.

We will also hold virtual presentations of the predoctoral and postdoctoral oral and poster competitions, which will be open for anyone in the reproduction community to view live. If you want to continue your participation in this virtual offering, please log back into our online abstract system and complete the brief survey. 

Time to be Strategic
When we created our Strategic Plan in early 2018, we planned to create online resources that you could use throughout the year. One of our biggest successes in this area is the SSR website and our online communities. Did you know that you can add a picture and a bio to your online profile, and share ideas and ask questions online? This is a great way to stay connected and you will see more resources and conversations being shared by the SSR Committees in the next few weeks. Visit the online communities here and start sharing today.  

We know the annual meeting is the most exciting part of being a member of SSR, and I will miss seeing all of you, hearing about your research, and catching up with my “SSR family”. However, this hiatus allows us to try new innovative ways to bring the reproductive sciences community together. We will be holding a virtual business meeting to update you on the health of the society, honor members that have passed and install new SSR officers and board members. Be on the lookout for that information coming soon. 

Accessible to All
In the coming weeks, we will roll out new ways to stay connected with the SSR community and these offerings will be made available free of charge to SSR Members. Many of you know colleagues that are working in reproduction but are not members of SSR. In this challenging time, we would like to help the broader community and engage these individuals. Therefore, we will extend a complimentary 3-month membership for these individuals, which will allow them to access all these new offerings, the online communities, Biology of Reproduction, and our online membership directory for this limited time. 

As President of SSR, I could not be more proud of the work done by our business office led by Saima Hedrick, and the SSR Board that has allowed the SSR to meet this challenge without incurring financial loss and while protecting the health and safety of our members. I am also proud of our community members who consistently support the SSR with their time, money, ideas and energy. Please stay connected with the SSR during these unprecedented times and participate in the new initiatives that we are launching designed to build a more connected and interactive community of scientists. 

Thank you all for your continued support of SSR. May you and your loved ones stay safe! 

Sincerely,
Andrea_Cupp.jpg
Andrea S. Cupp, PhD
SSR President 2019-2020On behalf of the SSR Board of Directors