Founded in 2018, Medical Student Pride Alliance (MSPA) is a student-run nonprofit organization whose mission is to advocate and foster community for LGBTQ+ medical students. With over 100 chapters at medical schools in the United States, MSPA provides resources, mentorship, career development, support, and inspiration to medical students across the nation.
MSPA recently celebrated its inaugural conference with a virtual event themed Building Community Together. The two-day weekend-long event featured a research symposium and networking on Saturday, while Sunday focused on mentorship, advocacy, leadership workshops, and an admissions expo.
After having to cancel their in-person 2020 event and hosting a 2021 research symposium on Zoom, MSPA was excited to host their 2022 inaugural conference with an all-in-one virtual event platform so that members could fully engage. MSPA’s Executive Director, Sabina Spigner, had previously been a speaker at an event hosted on Accelevents and was blown away by the seamless experience.
With a strong focus on engagement, community-building, career development, and education, the MSPA team chose Accelevents for their first annual conference with the following event goals in mind:
MSPA used several Accelevents features to exceed their event goals. The following solutions contributed to the success of MSPA’s weekend-long virtual conference:
Event organizers needed to differentiate ticketing between MSPA members and non-students, so they created two free ticket types and customized registration for both parties. Ticketing indicated clear start and end dates with descriptions that encouraged registrants to donate to MSPA from right within the platform.
Instead of directing attendees to the MSPA website to donate, event organizers used Accelevents’ donation feature in the registration process and during their keynote session. Cutting out an extra step for attendees made it extremely easy to do everything – register, donate, and view sessions – all from one place.
The virtual conference featured over 40 speakers and 26 sessions. Event organizers created 10 conference tags and tracks (pre-med, leadership, health & gender, and research, to name a few), allowing attendees to choose which sessions they wanted to attend. With several sessions running concurrently, it was easy for attendees to view a well-organized agenda.
We love seeing event organizers use the platform in creative ways. The conference agenda featured students’ research posters on Saturday and an admissions exhibitor expo on Sunday. When attendees clicked into each student’s research poster or an exhibitor’s booth, they gained access to research details, videos, and downloadable materials. They could also chat or schedule a meeting with the presenter or representative.
As an organization whose presence is solely digital, with members scattered across the country, MSPA needed to have meaningful networking opportunities throughout the conference. Event organizers held a Saturday Social networking session using the Lounges feature where attendees shared their camera and video. Attendees also interacted face to face in educational Workshop sessions throughout the weekend. During the event, they engaged with each other using the live chat in the Lobby and all sessions as well.
Event organizers were pleasantly surprised by a few platform features that contributed to a smooth event set-up and overall event experience.
Accelevents offers a tool for organizers to seamlessly communicate with event stakeholders before, during, and after the event. “The ability to send emails directly from the Accelevents platform was invaluable,” said Sabina. “If we needed to communicate to only the speakers or only the registrants, we could do that very easily.”
Event organizers were extremely impressed with Accelevents' 24/7 customer support. Whenever they had a quick question while setting up the conference, a representative was there to promptly answer and assist them. “We used your support chat at 2AM a handful of times and it made a world of difference. When I first heard that support was offered 24/7, I was a little skeptical, but Accelevents’ really is 24/7 with an almost immediate response rate, which is super impressive!” said Sabina.
All event content stays active for attendees on the platform up to 30 days post event. This is especially helpful for people who could not attend the conference but wish to view recordings and download session resources. Event organizers always have access to the event. MSPA plans to leverage the conference’s content for educational purposes and when marketing future events.
MSPA’s inaugural conference exceeded event organizers’ expectations, and they’re already looking forward to planning next year’s event on Accelevents again. “I really liked that the conference allowed us to, as closely as we could, simulate an in-person experience that people are used to,” said Sabina. “We could customize the event down to the hex code of the color, it was so specific, and we could have banners for different pages - it looked like our event, and I really appreciated that.”
The 2022 MSPA Conference provided an opportunity for over 250 LGBTQ+ medical students and faculty members to come together for the first time to share research, learn, and network. The event even caught the attention of international medical students who attended!
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