The 2017 NEC Symposium was an overwhelming success, bringing together multi-disciplinary stakeholders in the NEC community to make progress on this devastating disease. Neonatologists, pediatric surgeons, nurses, scientists, advocate families, members of industry, nonprofit organizations, regulators and many others gathered to discuss the disease and find new ways forward.
The enthusiasm to tackle the disease together was palpable at the Symposium. The conference was sold out, as the meeting room reached full capacity. More than 200 individuals traveled from 35 states and four countries to attend. Lectures, panel discussions, workgroups and informal gatherings provided opportunities to work across disciplines.
We were thrilled to have the participation of 12 nonprofit organizations, each focused on advancing the needs of families in the NICU and encouraging best practices in NICU care, including:
Hand to Hold ~ Human Milk Banking Association of North American ~ Morgan Leary Vaughan Fund ~ San Jose Mothers Milk Bank ~ NEC Society ~ NEC Society Research Collaborative ~ National Association of Neonatal Nurses (Northern CA) ~ National Perinatal Association ~ NICU Helping Hands ~ Preemie Parent Alliance ~ Sutter Children’s Hospital Music Therapy ~ Team Grayson
Over 40 research posters were on display, showcasing cutting-edge research and understanding into NEC. In addition, four posters sharing individual family stories were presented, along with one larger poster sharing excerpts from 30 families’ stories. These family posters were designed to share with caregivers “What I Wish I Could Tell You” about their baby’s care- both positive and negative experiences in the NICU.
The conference was designed to welcome advocate families affected by NEC and to encourage them to share their points of view. The response from the attendees to the family participation was overwhelmingly positive. The consensus was that their presence provided a much-needed human perspective on the disease. Families were included in all sessions and encouraged to ask questions and participate fully in discussion. Many sessions were dedicated to babies impacted by NEC, which provided a moving and important reminder of why we fight this disease. Also, babies who have faced NEC and their courageous families were honored on the Tree of Courage, an artistic display featuring the names and photos of babies who were affected by the disease.
We look forward to sharing more information about the Symposium soon:
- A full summary article will be published on our website.
- The entire February 2018 issue of Seminars in Pediatric Surgery will be devoted to work shared at the NEC Symposium.
- White papers on specific topics of interest from the Symposium will be published.
- Select presentations from the conference were video recorded and will be made available for viewing on the web.
- Stay tuned for details on the 2019 NEC Symposium!
We are excited to use the momentum generated by the conference to accelerate progress on this devastating disease. Thanks to all who made the 2017 NEC Symposium a huge success!
Our deepest thanks to Kickee Pants and MEDNAX for their generous support!