For 40 years, the OI Foundation has held a biennial National Conference that brings together people with OI, their families, medical professionals, and others in the OI community. In the past, attendees would spend three days meeting with OI experts, asking questions and connecting with friends (both old and new) from all over the world. Sadly, in 2020, the planned OIF National Conference in Omaha, Nebraska had to be postponed and, in its place, the OIF held the first-ever Virtual National Conference.
We saw huge increases in attendance numbers from individuals who have not been able attend past OIF National Conferences due to travel as well as international attendees. We were very proud of the programming for the 2020 Virtual Conference but still looked forward to hosting an in-person National Conference in 2021. Unfortunately, due to continued high rates of infection for COVID-19, the OI Foundation Board of Directors and Staff made the difficult decision to postpone the in-person National Conference once again. In its place, we decided to host another Virtual National Conference. Thanks to the support of our dedicated OI community members, we were able to build on the success of the 2020 Virtual Conference by incorporating new social and informational sessions and special features to the 2021 Virtual OIF Conference.
For the first time ever, we were able to offer live translations for several of the most popular sessions. This allowed participants to listen to vital information sessions in English, Spanish, or French during the conference. In addition, we are now able to offer translated session recordings as a resource in the future.
Feedback from the 2020 OIF Virtual Conference revealed that many attendees would like more time for questions. This year, we reformatted our information sessions to feature less formal presentations and more time for questions. In addition, we hosted our first-ever Ask the Experts session. During this session, attendees had the opportunity to join breakout rooms with OI experts for a conversation with fellow community members to answer questions and offer advice.
We are hopeful to be able to gather in person in 2022 in Orlando, Florida for the next OIF National Conference but we know we can’t go back to the way conferences have been held in the past. Our hope is to continue building on what we’ve learned over the past two years in our effort to reach all members of the OI community. Our hope is to host a hybrid National Conference with both in-person sessions as well as a virtual component for those who are not able to attend in person. As we continue to expand our outreach and resources to ensure all members of the OI community have access to top medical information and current updates, we need your help now more than ever!
Please consider making a gift to the OI Foundation to help us navigate the ever-changing future and create programs that benefit all OI community members. Whether it’s the OIF National Conference or the various virtual meetings, your support will help us reach every person who needs the support, information, and services offered by the OI Foundation.
Thank you for your continued support of our activities and our mission of improving the quality of life for every person living with OI.
Wishing you all a happy and healthy summer,