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This Just In

AAPA Conference and Expo Offers Largest Expo to Date in 2024

ANDREW WARRICK, DIGITIAL ASSOCIATE EDITOR
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HOUSTON — The American Academy of Physician Associates’ (AAPA) Conference and Expo, held May 18- 22 at the George R. Brown Convention Center, featured its largest expo to date in 2024.

“It is the fastest growing healthcare profession in the United States, so we continue to see more and more interest,” Anthony Maggiore, CMP, CED, Senior Director, Conference & Meetings at AAPA, said, adding that AAPA’s advocacy efforts also helped fuel this growth. “We’re starting to see more companies be interested in reaching out to PAs and being able to connect with PAs.”

AAPA also has a continually strong student presence, evidenced by the record-breaking number of teams competing at its National Medical Challenge Bowl, a Jeopardy-style student game show.

PA Night Out, the event’s off-site networking experience, also saw tremendous attendance, bringing its venue, Stampede (the largest dance floor in Houston), near capacity.

“The spirit and excitement of PAs is so intoxicating, and to be in a room around 3,500 of our members having an opportunity to let loose and have fun is so rewarding… we’re really giving them the opportunity to just socialize with their peers, to forgo the day-to-day stress that they endure and just have a night of fun,” Maggiore shared.

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New Attractions

AAPA focused on driving attendance at the expo this year, and boosting exhibitor return on investment in the process. This involved adding dedicated expo hours to the conference and introducing new features to the expo floor.

New attractions included two pickleball courts, and an Animal Cuddle & Snuggle Zone, which Maggiore called “everyone’s new favorite area… [and] wildly popular,” where attendees could play with puppies from a local shelter to unwind and relax.

According to Maggiore, the AAPA’s biggest new initiative was the Made in Houston Marketplace, a pop-up shop where 14 local small businesses showcased handmade goods, attire and artwork. Visit Houston, the city’s convention and visitors bureau, helped recruit vendors and contributed to this feature.

“We wanted to find a way to engage with the local community. When you travel for a conference, your days really tend to be very, very filled from early morning until evening, and unless you decide to ditch the conference for a day and really go explore the city, you don’t have a lot of time to see what the city has to offer. So we created this marketplace,” Maggiore said. “We were really able to bring an essence of the city into our expo space.”

Maggiore hopes to include a similar expo hall destination at AAPA 2025, scheduled for May 17-21 in Denver.

“It’s a city that historically does really well for this group from an attendance perspective… We get to kind of continue to ride this wave we’re seeing of this growth and this excitement, and we’re certainly not going to rest on our laurels. There’s going to be a big focus on innovation in 2025, both from a content perspective and from an expo perspective.”

Reach Anthony Maggiore at amaggiore@aapa.org

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