In May 2020, the USP Convention (USPC) met virtually to review how its central role in advancing public health has evolved during the broad sweep of its 200-year history on the one hand, while assessing its response to the pressing needs of the COVID-19 crisis now dominating the healthcare field on the other.
The 15 resolutions passed at the meeting – intended to set strategic priorities for the next five-year cycle – indicate that advancing public health and patient safety will remain front and center as USP enters its third century. Other priorities undergirding the resolutions are: ● USP’s continued development of quality standards ● a focus on innovation ● ongoing collaboration with stakeholders, and ● strengthening global regulatory systems.
Scheduled every five years, the USP Convention (USPC) meeting brings together representatives from the voting member organizations – now numbering nearly 500 – to conduct the essential business that will guide USP during the following cycle.
During a typical meeting, the Convention members: ● hold open hearings to debate and approve strategic resolutions to guide the organization’s work ● consider amendments to USP’s governance and operational bylaws, and ● elect the leaders two of USP’s governing bodies – the Board of Trustees and Council of Experts – along with the next USP Convention President.
This year’s Convention meeting in May had been planned as a special celebration of USP’s 200th anniversary of working to improve public health through standards and related programs that help ensure the quality of medicines, dietary supplements, and foods.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, however, the decision to transition to a remote meeting had been made just five weeks beforehand – allowing the key governance duties and important elections to proceed, while necessitating practical changes to the manner in which the meeting was conducted.
Despite the virtual platform, USP CEO Ron Piervincenzi joined the opening session from USP’s Headquarters in Rockville, Maryland, along with USP Global External Affairs Senior VP and Convention Secretary Anthony Lakavage, to lead the “live” portion of the governance meeting.
Convention delegates had been provided an opportunity to pre-submit comments on proposed resolutions and amendments to bylaws. They then joined the meeting, including the open hearings, remotely – viewing recorded videos of several reports from members of USP’s Convention and staff leadership team.
The compressed agenda for the 2020 USP Convention Governance Meeting provided introductory information on the first day, including: ● the CEO report on accomplishments ● the nominating committee reports listing candidates for the new Board of Trustees and Council of Experts, and ● USP’s 2025 impact strategy, previously endorsed by the current Board of Trustees. These were followed by live-streamed open hearings on the proposed bylaw amendments and proposed resolutions.
The first day was followed by a window of 18-hours for online voting – spanning the second day of the meeting – to provide flexibility for Convention delegates from around the world to participate. Results of the elections were announced on the third day, followed by closing remarks and adjournment.