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Joint session: ASCDAS, ASDS pair up; weak economy encourages collaboration, leaders say


National report - The American Society of Cosmetic Dermatology and Aesthetic Surgery (ASCDAS) and the American Society for Dermatologic Surgery (ASDS) will host a combined meeting Oct. 1-4, 2009, in Phoenix, the organizations announced in December.

Key Points

Both societies' officers - and one dermatologist contacted by Dermatology Times - say that in light of the poor economy and an overcrowded meeting schedule, the timing for such a meeting is right.

The 2009 pairing could lead to future collaboration between the two groups, although the maneuver is not a prelude to a merger, both societies' officers add.

"We realized that we needed to allow them, with their sliced budgets, to spend less and get more" in terms of reaching their core constituency, dermatologists.

Economics a factor

He says industry representatives have made it known that "there are too many meetings - they need to cut back" on how much support they can give each meeting.

However, Robert A. Weiss, M.D., ASDS president, says that from his perspective, the economy wasn't the main reason behind the pairing.

Rather, he says, the joint meeting concept gained steam last November, fueled by the national presidential election's emphasis on unity and "the realization that instead of being competitors, we could join forces. What we really need to be concerned about is the practice of cosmetic dermatology by non-core physicians."

Though the ASCDAS and ASDS share a similar mission, Dr. Hirsch says, the organizations are sufficiently different. "There was a desire to pool our talents. The ASDS has been around longer, but we have many new members and physicians who are starting to get into cosmetic medicine who had not historically identified with the ASDS."

Strong points

"What we brought was a very organized schedule and a very strong executive organization. And we have a strong legislative presence." Thus, the pairing seemed like "something we should at least try out for 2009," he says.

Over the years, ASCDAS has discussed the prospect of holding affiliated meetings with groups such as the Florida Society of Dermatologic Surgeons, Dr. Werschler says.

The expiration of ASCDAS' contract with the Las Vegas Wynn Hotel in 2008 "gave us an opportunity to look at perhaps going somewhere else without contracting back in," he says.

"And we're a little undecided as to whether we want to stay in Las Vegas or adopt a model somewhat similar to ASDS," whose annual meeting alternates between East and West Coast destinations, Dr. Werschler says.

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