Caesars Palace Welcomes Back Its Longest-Running Medical Conference
Last month, Caesars Palace in Las Vegas welcomed the live return of its longest-running conference, the Trauma & Critical Care & Acute Care Surgery conference, aka the Mattox/Vegas TCC&ACS. Held April 12-14 inside the resort’s 50,000 square-foot Octavius Ballroom, the event not only marked its 54th year at the storied Strip resort, but also the first large-scale meeting to be held at the property since the onset of the pandemic.
Known as the largest trauma postgraduate course in the U.S., the two and one-half day conference is designed for medical professionals working in Level I-IV trauma centers, with attendees comprising general surgeons, anesthesiologists, emergency medicine physicians, family practitioners, trauma coordinators, surgical residents, thoracic surgeons, trauma nurses, physician assistants, administrators and EMS coordinators.
While participation was lower than its typical 1,300 attendees and 45 exhibiting companies, the event attracted 14 exhibitors and 425 attendees, who converged in person to meet with peers, learn from the experts, enhance their knowledge base and keep abreast of the latest advances in the field. The conference also went hybrid for the first time, producing a virtual component that drew in 467 participants.
According to Mary Allen, who has served as the conference’s program coordinator for more than three decades, the group was as thrilled to return to Caesars as the resort was to have them back.
“[Our attendees were] ecstatic, and they totally appreciated what we and Caesars did,” Allen said. “They also loved the reaction of the Caesars personnel. These are all people who we’ve worked with over the years and they hadn’t worked in over a year. They were as excited as we were to be here – it made everybody feel good.”
Allen added that she and Program Director Dr. Kenneth Mattox had been determined to host a live meeting in 2021 after having to cancel the 2020 event at the last minute. The organizers looked to the Caesars convention services team to help execute a meaningful in-person experience while also keeping health and safety top-of-mind via the resort’s extensive protocols.
“As far as the COVID, they were the go-to people – they were so prepared,” Allen said. “I wouldn’t even start to try to do a meeting in this era without a total dedication from the venue – [planners] cannot do it alone.”
While turning the TCC&ACS into a hybrid event was no easy feat, it helped to have a team of consummate professionals on board to make sure the virtual experience was a valuable one for those unable to attend in-person, Allen added.
“vFairs managed our virtual platform and they and their project manager were amazing,” she said. “Caesars Encore and Freeman worked seamlessly and expertly with [them] to assure the virtual presentations were nothing short of perfect. Communication and cooperation were key and exceeded expectations.”
According to Dr. Mattox, digital attendees enjoyed the virtual conference but asserted that they longed for the chemistry and energy of being together face-to-face.
“I don't know who said it, maybe it was Hippocrates or someone who said, ‘Never be the first to embrace a new tactic, technique or treatment, but don't be the last,’” Maddox said. “[The conference was] a team effort. Caesar’s Palace put a great deal into their commitment [to health and safety] and we all worked together. And together we can all say we are still standing!”
But Dr. Mattox, Allen and the conference’s live participants weren’t the only ones overjoyed to be back together at Caesars.
“We’ve enjoyed working with Dr. Mattox, Mary Allen and the team for so long now, it’s like welcoming back old friends,” said Don Ross, Caesars Entertainment’s vice president of meeting operations Las Vegas. “The Caesars Palace team did an incredible job getting ready for this important medical conference [and] we worked closely together with Mary and Dr. Mattox to provide a safe and enjoyable experience for the attendees.”
The TCC&ACS conference will return to Caesars Palace March 28-30, 2022.