The International Congress of Cytology/American Society of Cytopathology meeting just convened in Baltimore, MD, USA, with great success. The meeting came after a few years of significant fear as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. The pandemic impacted multiple facets of our lives at all levels, including fear of attending conferences in person [. Many scientific associations and societies adapted to the aforementioned pandemic by utilizing virtual meetings. While these virtual meetings were and still are an acceptable choice, many people prefer in-person meetings [. There is ample evidence that the COVID-19 pandemic, which affected a total of 213 countries all over the world, disturbed and impacted the core of our health-care educational system [. Some believe that this unparalleled predicament provided all of us in health care with unique opportunities to modify our normal routine in education and transfer of knowledge [. However, it is believed that these online educational sessions may have a heavy price [[2, 3]. The anxiety, stress, and fear lead to increased utilization of social media platforms including virtual meetings [. Consequently, we are experiencing more social isolation and, most likely, a negative impact on our communication skills [[1, 3]. It also has been shown statistically that the enthusiasm to attend virtual meetings is less and this is reflected on the number of abstracts submitted to these conferences [. Few voices came out recommending that we modify our methods of education, learning, and continuous professional developments to become more social media dependent [.
While the 2022 year-end is approaching, almost all countries and territories have eased COVID-19 restrictions including travel bans and travel requirements. Therefore, there are many more opportunities to travel, whether for business, scientific meetings, or pleasure. The leadership of the American Society of Cytopathology (ASC) and the International Academy of Cytology (IAC) recognized, and rightfully so, the dire need for the cytopathology community to meet in person. The decision was made to have a combined meeting, where the vision and mission of the meeting is shared, culminating in a 5-day conference in the city of Baltimore, USA [. Attendees from all continents of our globe jumped at the opportunity and came to Baltimore. Many came to get acquainted with the new developments and updates in the science and art of cytopathology from the experts themselves and get the chance to communicate with these authorities and share inquiries and experiences in person. The meeting was exceptionally comprehensive and covered all aspects of cytology. These included, but are not limited to, early morning cytology journals, editorial board meetings, short topic-based courses, important key-note speeches, updates on the recent standardization of different cytology reporting systems, new frontiers in the field of molecular cytopathology, reimagining the cytology reporting system, diagnostic cytology dilemmas and challenges, industrial exhibitions, trainee abstract presentations, and the ability to sign out cases with professors [. The scientific as well as the social programs were impressive and wide-ranging. You just need to walk into the venues to feel and see the positive energy in person. Attendees were able to exchange and share ideas with professionals while networking.
The joined ASC and IAC meeting was a complete success and should be considered a model for other health and medical societies and organizations to simulate. Congratulations to all of us, and thank you to the ASC and IAC leadership.
Conflict of Interest Statement
The author declares no conflict of interest of any sort.
No funding was received for this editorial.