On Wednesday, the Thomas P. Hinman Dental Meeting announced that it has cancelled Hinman 2020, which was scheduled for March 19–21 at the Georgia World Congress Center and Omni Hotel at CNN Center in Atlanta, Georgia. The 108th Meeting was forced to cancel due to the growing number of COVID-19 concerns domestically and abroad. In addition, the coronavirus outbreak has substantially impacted the logistics of the conference.
“It was a very difficult decision to make, as we know it affects thousands of attendees and industry professionals who were planning to attend the meeting next week. But the health, safety, and well-being of our attendees, exhibitors, speakers, and members are our highest priorities,” says Dr. Bob O’Donnell, General Chair for Hinman 2020. “Our concern is not only for the health of everyone involved, but also the quality of event that we can deliver with the current logistical challenges we are facing. Hinman’s goal has always been to provide world-class continuing education and exhibits, and in the current climate, we will not be able to provide the experience that our attendees have come to expect from our organization.”
The Hinman Meeting typically attracts more than 20,000 dentists, hygienists, assistants, students, and other dental professionals and industry personnel to Atlanta. In addition, more than 400 companies exhibit at the conference, which is held every March.
This will be only the third time in its history that the meeting has been cancelled. In 1931, the meeting was cancelled out of respect for the death of its founder, prominent Atlanta dentist Dr. Thomas P. Hinman. In 1933, the meeting was cancelled due to the Great Depression. In 2008, Hinman was forced to close a day early due to a tornado that extensively damaged the Georgia World Congress Center and Omni Hotel at CNN Center, among other downtown buildings.
Hinman’s leadership and staff have been monitoring the coronavirus outbreak, reviewing daily the recommendations provided by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the World Health Organization, which has officially declared COVID-19 a pandemic. Leadership and staff have also been seeking guidance from local government and health officials.
In recent days, academic centers, health systems, and businesses have issued notices that do not allow for domestic travel. The travel bans and restrictions have had a direct impact on Hinman’s educational sessions and exhibits.
“Unfortunately, it left us no choice and it became very clear that we must move the meeting to a later date. It’s simply the right thing to do,” says Dr. O’Donnell. “And, of course, we couldn’t live with ourselves if even one attendee was at risk.”
In the coming days, Hinman will provide information for registered attendees and exhibitors about its plans for the 2020 program. Information may be found on the Hinman website and its social media pages. This includes information regarding registration refunds. Questions or concerns may be directed to the Hinman office at (404) 231-1663.
Editor's note: This article is an edited version of a press release issued March 11, 2020, by the Thomas P. Hinman Dental Meeting. Press releases may be submitted to [email protected] for review and posting consideration.