Inside Look at VNATA 2021 Planning

May 3, 2021 by Claire Higgins

By Michelle Boling, PhD, LAT, ATC, Incoming NATA Convention Program Committee Chair

The NATA Convention Program Committee (CPC) is excited to share with members in the coming weeks the educational program for the 2021 NATA Virtual Clinical Symposia & AT Expo live June 22-24 and on-demand through Sept. 30. The CPC has worked with NATA Knowledge Initiatives and Meetings departments to develop an engaging program that addresses timely topics, such as eliminating cultural barriers to patient care and the impact of COVID-19 on athletic training clinical practice.

The themes for VNATA 2021 are mental wellness, emergency planning/response and ergogenic aids. About 50 percent of the program will align with these themes and the other 50 percent include topics across all five domains of athletic training.

In total, attendees will have access to more than 70 educational sessions, including eight EBP CEU sessions, during the live portion of VNATA 2021. Additionally, attendees will have access to all of these sessions on-demand.

For the first time, VNATA 2021 is offering a new session format coordinated by the CPC: interactive lectures (ILs). ILs will provide attendees with another opportunity to be more engaged in the session than they would be in a traditional lecture session.

Speakers presenting during IL sessions will break up their lecture with “engagement triggers,” such as video demonstrations. All sessions will also be available on-demand, so attendees will be able to pause sessions to practice a hands-on skill or technique that is presented during the IL session.

Transitioning Education to Fit Members’ Needs

The CPC oversees planning and implementation of the annual NATA Clinical Symposia & AT Expo educational program. The committee is composed of 10 district representatives and four at-large members. The CPC begins planning the educational program approximately 18 months in advance of the next year’s event. CPC members develop approximately 50 percent of the educational program and the rest of the program is planned through proposals submitted by NATA members and nonmembers.

In April 2020, the CPC quickly pivoted to a virtual educational program to accommodate VNATA 2020. The educational program for a live in-person meeting had already been developed and a schedule was set, but with the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, the CPC shifted to create a virtual educational program that would interest members.

Through this experience in 2020, the CPC learned effective methods to quickly revise the educational program to ensure members could still interact in an engaging educational program in a virtual format.  

To do this, the CPC reviewed the entire educational program and selected sessions that were timely, aligned with the 2020 themes and received the highest peer-review and CPC-member-review scores. The CPC then reached out to speakers to determine those who would be willing and available to provide their accepted educational session in a virtual format.

In pivoting again to develop a program for VNATA 2021, the CPC utilized a similar strategy to modify the 2021 in-person education program to a virtual format for VNATA 2021.

Although not a new education format to the in-person events, virtual forum sessions will take place during VNATA 2021, which was not offered as part of the VNATA 2020 educational program.

Virtual forum sessions will be offered at the end of each day of the live VNATA 2021 and attendance will be limited so attendees can have a productive conversation on a specific topic. Some of the topics for the virtual forum sessions include cognitive loading for ankle sprain rehabilitation; overcoming barriers to cool first, transport second; and emergency action planning for extreme sports.

Attendees should look forward to an engaging educational program that will cover a broad range of topic areas of interest to the membership and timely issues impacting the profession. The CPC hopes attendees will take advantage of increased opportunities to engage with speakers and content experts, in addition to networking sessions with colleagues.

The generous on-demand program will offer attendees unlimited access to more than 70 sessions to view and review at their own pace and on their own schedule.

The CPC is looking forward to providing another great educational experience to members.

Registration for VNATA 2021 is now open – Visit the VNATA 2021 site for more information and to secure your spot for the live event and access to on-demand content.