Behind the Scenes of the World’s Largest Diabetes Meeting

In 1941, the American Diabetes Association held its first Scientific Sessions. The group consisted of 12 attendees who discussed five research posters. Since then the meeting has grown considerably.

Well, “considerably” is an understatement.

This year’s attendance includes a projected 13,500 medical professionals, meaning that the American Diabetes Association’s Scientific Sessions have grown 1,125 times larger since 1941.

The 71st Scientific Sessions will begin this Friday in San Diego, CA. The estimated 13,500 professionals attending  will  include physicians, scientists, nurses, nurse practitioners, dietitians, pharmacists, podiatrists, psychologists and other health care professionals.

To put the enormousness of the meeting in perspective here are some big facts and figures worth mentioning:

From Across the Globe
People from all over the world travel to Scientific Sessions. In fact, attendees will represent more than 100 countries. Geographically, the farthest point on the globe from San Diego is in the middle of the Indian Ocean. There are 35 attendees who will be traveling from South Africa (the closest land mass to that particular spot in the Indian Ocean), which takes over 24 hours by plane.

Talk About It
This year there are 120 concurrent sessions (including symposia, current issues and oral presentations), with 420 invited speakers and 10 special lectures and addresses. That adds up to about 300 hours of talking about diabetes research, care, treatment and prevention!

Read About It
There also will be more than 1,600 posters and more than 70 guided audio tours of the posters. The average poster size is about 3 feet by 4 feet, meaning that the posters at Scientific Sessions will cover about 20,000 square feet, more than enough to cover an entire NHL ice hockey rink!

Roll Out the Red Carpet
Okay – I’m not sure exactly what color the carpet is going to be, but Scientific Sessions will use 37,076 feet of carpet. That’s more than seven miles of carpet, or more than enough to carpet a path around the perimeter of Central Park in New York City!

Beyond Venti
More than 500 gallons of complementary coffee will be served. That’s 6,500 cups of coffee –a week’s worth of coffee for the entire news department staff at The New York Times.

Keep Things Moving
A bus system of 27 buses running five bus routes will be in motion for Scientific Sessions. At peak service, 2,629 people will be riding each hour. That’s just under the number of athletes who attended the 2010 Olympics.

Many, Many Sweet Dreams
During Scientific Sessions, 40,000 hotel room nights will be used in the San Diego area. That’s more than enough rooms to house the undergraduate class of The Ohio State University in Columbus.

Have a Seat!
At the San Diego Convention Center, 25,334 chairs will be utilized in the 24 session rooms. That’s enough chairs to fill the Sydney Opera House Concert Hall nearly ten times.

Get an Early Start
Scientific Sessions takes years of detailed planning and coordination. In fact, each host city is chosen approximately 14 years in advance. Next year Scientific Sessions will be held in Philadelphia.

Slow Construction, Quick Destruction
While it takes approximately five days to set up the convention center for Scientific Sessions, it only takes a day and a half to pack everything up!

Signs of Green
Over 350 signs, 40 banners and a dozen props will be used to direct attendees throughout the convention center. When Scientific Sessions are over, they will either be recycled or donated to the local American Diabetes Association office in San Diego for future use!

What’s the main value of bringing the world’s leading diabetes experts together to discuss basic and clinical research, therapies and more? The networking, collaborating and exchanging of new ideas that lead the path to help Stop Diabetes®.

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