The Healthcare Convention Exhibitors Association announced record attendance (717 participants) for the second year in a row at this year's meeting at the Minneapolis Convention Center, held from June 10 to 13. HCEA's new president Barbara Charbonneau said their new membership drive will target medical meeting planners — then she brought the house down with an inspirational song.
HCEA also plans to actively recruit exhibit managers and exhibition managers from the ranks of biotech firms and medical associations.
Eric Allen, HCEA's executive director, announced plans for a research grant program to fund studies at colleges and universities on medical exhibition and event management return-on-investment. HCEA also plans to begin a study this fall on the total impact of medical exhibits, seminars, and meetings on the health care industry. On another educational front, for the first time, attendees could earn continuing education credits by going to HCEA education sessions.
Mark Wachowitz, senior vice president of the Audit Bureau of Circulations, caused a buzz with a presentation on auditing trade shows. Convention organizers weren't sure there was a need for it, since the pharmaceutical industry was already involved in market research.
During her presentation on the latest FDA policies, pharmaceutical consultant Janet L. Rose, Leesburg, Va., addressed the exhibit-floor issues arising from the growing internationalization of U.S. medical conventions — where physicians sometimes learn about drug uses that are unapproved in their own countries.