Like many businesses, EAI had to rapidly adapt to a suddenly changing environment as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. We faced the challenge head-on and focused on supporting both our employees and our clients throughout this unprecedented time. Here are just a few of the actions we’ve taken.
To ensure the safety and welfare of our staff and their families, EAI closed the home office prior to the state mandate and quickly implemented a work from home program, which allowed employees to continue servicing our clients while remaining socially distant. We closely monitored state and local regulations and continue to re-assess the situation before bringing our staff back into the office.
Our Director of Information Technology worked tirelessly to ensure that our IT systems and client websites were secure and remained accessible around the clock. We also accelerated the replacement of our staff’s desktop computers with laptops, which were programmed and distributed to employees to ensure they have the secure tools they need to continue working remotely.
EAI staff also closely monitored information about the emerging COVID-19 pandemic from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), the World Health Organization (WHO), state and county health departments, news networks and other credible sources. This allowed our staff to plan ahead (as much as possible in a rapidly-developing situation) and pivot quickly to virtual solutions as necessary.
Fortunately, this was all done with no disruption of services to our clients whatsoever.
Our staff clearly appreciated our concern for their safety and the safety of their families, as evidenced by feedback we received from them.
Thank you for showing so much true concern for us. Really well done. Thank you so much.
In order to keep our diplomates/examinees safe, we eliminated the necessity to travel to a physical testing center by offering our Certification and Recertification examinations remotely with the use of an online proctor. Within a few weeks of initiating this, all testing centers were forced to close. Fortunately, our examinees were able to continue testing seamlessly online from the safety of their homes.
In an effort to help ACAAI members deal with all the changes brought about by COVID-19, staff quickly shifted their focus to concentrate on the development of a number of programs and initiatives for immediate use in their practices.
Communications staff updated their content and communications strategies to ensure ACAAI members received the guidance and support they needed. This included the development of a weekly COVID-19-specific News Brief that contains helpful tips and resources, as well as prioritizing important COVID-19-related content in the weekly member newsletter.
Our staff developed a comprehensive COVID-19 Resource Center for ACAAI members, with links to approximately 100 key resources. We also developed and promoted an ongoing series of webinars designed to respond to the evolving needs of our members as the crisis unfolded.
ACAAI’s 2020 Annual Meeting – scheduled to take place in November, 2020 – also became a high-priority. Unsure if a face-to-face meeting would be possible, staff quickly developed a comprehensive contingency plan to hold the meeting remotely, after consulting with industry experts and more than a dozen companies specializing in virtual meetings. While staff and leadership continue to closely monitor public health guidance and work with our host city and contracted facilities to determine if a face-to-face meeting can occur safely, we are in a strong position to quickly move to a virtual meeting if necessary.
Part of ACAAI’s mission is public education, so we also focused efforts on developing and disseminating information relevant to asthma and allergy patients. Up-to-date news was posted on ACAAI’s patient-facing website and our staff has facilitated media interviews with ACAAI leadership on COVID-19 subjects including symptoms, considerations for people with asthma, the albuterol inhaler shortage and more. Media outlets which quoted ACAAI leadership include New York Times, US News, Medscape, Everyday Health, ABC News, UPI and NPR.
Proof of how great our staff in the ACAAI are. Thank you so much, we don’t tell you often enough how we appreciate your work.
The Academy was one of the first organizations to cancel their 2020 Annual Meeting (Seattle) during the early developments of the pandemic. Less than two weeks out, the Board elected to cancel the event to safeguard the health, safety and well-being of the attendees and exhibitors. All meeting registration, sponsorship and exhibit booth fees were refunded within three weeks and staff worked with the contracted venues to get all cancellation penalties waived.
AO’s Board of Directors meeting, originally scheduled to take place in Seattle, was quickly rescheduled utilizing Zoom, and it ran flawlessly. Election of the 2020-21 slate of directors and officers, usually done at an in-person Business Meeting, was successfully shifted to electronic voting.
The staff quickly focused their attention on significantly expanding the Academy’s online educational programming. More than 30 live webinars were planned through June incorporating experts on COVID-19 procedures and resources – as well as many who were scheduled to present in Seattle.
In response to the impacts of the pandemic, member communications included several short “chair-side” video chats featuring the organization’s president covering topics such as the Academy’s strong financial position, a temporary freeze on membership dues and an extension of member benefits through the summer.
Our staff established an online COVID-19 Resource Center for its members, including a wealth of recent news articles, clinical updates and resources governing dentistry in the U.S.
Wow – as usual, you folks are three steps ahead of me! I speak from experience in global organized dentistry when I continue to contend that AO has the best management team in the business!
I just wanted to commend all of you for the great job you are doing for us members in light of this virus. Your handling of the risk and continuing to provide information and meeting content in absentia has been nothing short of admirable. You have created one of the best, if not the best, organizations in dentistry today. My thanks, and hats off to you all!
The SCT team responded to the COVID-19 pandemic by transitioning their live Annual Meeting to multiple virtual offerings and created an online resource center for the clinical trials community.
SCT’s in-person Annual Meeting (scheduled May 18-20) was canceled less than two months prior to the event, but staff was able to move several portions online to virtual spaces, including the society’s Business Meeting, key lectures and award presentations.
The only thing constant is change. We know that COVID-19 is likely to continue impacting the way we live our lives and our work in myriad ways for some time, but it won’t disrupt EAI’s commitment to our employees and clients.