A few years ago, Adelaide may have seemed like another Australian city with no clear-cut identity, but it has since transformed itself into a destination attracting attention from associations all over the globe. It helps, of course, that urban revitalization projects are everywhere to be seen, with some exciting architectural rejuvenation among the city’s art venues, museums, and downtown residential and office buildings. This attention also stems from another source: the city’s ambition to being a medical and life science leader on the world stage.
The 2016 MASCC/ISOO Annual Meeting on Supportive Care in Cancer was held at Adelaide Convention Centre in June 2016. According to MASCC President Ian Olver “innovation was a particular aim of the meeting,” which attracted over 1,070 delegates from more than 50 countries, with a sizable turnout from Australia and Asia. At the time, MASCC had traditionally met either in North America or Europe, but momentum had been building to host the MASCC symposium in Australia for several years, and there was a growing desire to be more global, since the forum gathers world-leading experts to discuss the latest scientific developments and cutting-edge research in supportive care in cancer.
Adelaide was selected based on a number of criteria. Scientific Program Co-Chair Dorothy Keefe explains: “Supportive care is ultimately about improvements in care, management of the side effects of cancer treatment–both physical and psychological—prevention of secondary cancer, prolong survivorship, and maximization of quality of life. The work we are undertaking at Adelaide’s BioMed City and in our universities within this field are ground-breaking and gaining worldwide recognition; it just made sense to hold the meeting in the South Australian capital. At the time it took place, the city had also just completed its new Riverbank precinct with a new hospital, research institute, convention centre and university buildings. The revamped infrastructure and easiness of use was impressive.”
According to Dorothy, Adelaide is a perfectly sized city for a conference, since it is compact, close to the airport, and offers hotels and facilities within walking distance. “Now that the Royal Adelaide Hospital and medical school are open, it will be even better. The hotels are also very good, and the choice of restaurants is fantastic—the best sitting within a stone’s throw from the Centre. Safety is also increasingly important, and Adelaide is one of the safest cities. And, of course, we boast such wonderful wineries and natural beauty within a very short travel distance,” she adds.
The Symposium definitely enhanced Adelaide’s reputation as a wonderful conference destination, as well as an emerging arts venue (a much-appreciated art exhibition was held during the conference) and place where patients are at the heart of supportive care in cancer. “The legacy components of the meeting were threefold. We were able to engage the Asia-Pacific region like never before and increased the presence of MASCC and its membership in the region. South Australia became better known to the participants as a wonderful destination. We had many visitors from the USA, Europe, and Asia, and a large number of them would have known of Melbourne or Sydney before but were delighted with Adelaide. The focus on the region also led to an increase in the knowledge of supportive care and long-term patient benefits. It showed how well the city works for visitors and for conferences. It also changed MASCC; there had never been dancing at a MASCC President’s dinner before!” Dorothy said.