Connect. Inspire. Lead.
The nation’s only essential conference

June 17-19
Oct. 7 – Nov. 22


Proposal Application Period

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Call For Proposals

America’s Essential Hospitals’ annual conference, VITAL2020, will be held June 17–19, 2020, at the Loews Chicago Downtown, in Chicago. The audience for VITAL2020 includes senior staff leaders within our member hospitals and others who serve vulnerable populations, train future health care leaders, provide comprehensive coordinated care, offer lifesaving services, and advance public health.

Participants will learn from experts and peers, gain insight on solutions and practices to ensure success in all aspects of their organization, and enjoy social and networking events. Participants will leave the conference invigorated, inspired, and equipped with practical tools to use in their hospitals and communities.

VITAL2020 will feature invited and proposal sessions. Invited sessions will be developed by America’s Essential Hospitals staff. Proposal sessions will be developed from the pool of proposals submitted by full members of America’s Essential Hospitals and will be reviewed and selected by volunteers on the education committee and association staff.

As with all America’s Essential Hospitals programs, VITAL2020 is guided by the association’s strategic plan.

Important Dates

  • Monday, October 7: Call for proposals application period opens.
  • Friday, November 22, 5 pm ET: Proposal submission deadline.
  • November–January: Volunteer reviewers and staff will review all proposals.
  • Friday, February 14, 2020: Applicants will be notified whether their submission has been accepted or declined.

Rules and Restrictions

All employees of full members of America’s Essential Hospitals are eligible to submit a proposal. Associate and affiliate members, consultants, industry suppliers, and nonmembers may submit a proposal only when jointly submitted with a full member of America’s Essential Hospitals.

Proposals that sell a product or service will not be considered. Presentations must focus on educating the audience rather than selling a particular product or service.

Registration and Travel

Speakers accepted for proposal sessions will receive a discount on the conference registration fee. Speakers are responsible for their own travel and hotel expenses related to presenting at VITAL2020.

Selection Criteria

Proposals will be reviewed and selected based on the following criteria:

  • relevance to the current health care environment and interest to conference participants;
  • focus on essential hospital services and/or vulnerable populations;
  • ability to be replicated and/or sustained in other hospitals; and
  • clarity and quality of written proposal.



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Sample Submissions

View sample submissions from previous years.


Sample Submission Form

This is a duplicate of the online submission form for planning purposes only. Please complete the online form to submit your entry.


Session Types

The conference will feature four types of sessions and deliver learning in a variety of formats. For all sessions, we strongly encourage actively engaging the audience and emphasizing key takeaways and tools that attendees can apply to their work after the conference. Reviewers reserve the right to combine proposals, request modifications to the session type, or otherwise shape the content to deliver the best programming possible. The number of speakers is limited to no more than two speaking roles per presentation.


This traditional format typically features a formal presentation and a question and answer period. These sessions are ideal for complex topics that compare and contrast different experiences.


Designed to spark conversation among participants, these sessions typically have shorter formal presentations and longer open discussion among participants. We recommend 30 minutes of prepared material followed by 30 minutes of question and answer.


These highly focused sessions are case studies on one topic or one experience. We encourage only 15–20 minutes of prepared material and 10–15 minutes of question and answer.


Posters typically focus on research projects, operational issues, or other evidence-based practice initiatives. They should have clearly measurable outcomes and sound methodology. Proposals accepted for the poster session must identify one author to attend the conference to answer questions about their project during a designated poster session.

Session Tracks

Proposals must fit into one of the following four tracks. The education committee will consider how a proposal fits within one of the tracks and reserves the right to move a proposal to a track other than the one for which it was originally submitted.


Abstracts should target the hard and soft skills necessary to lead complex and evolving hospitals and health systems dedicated to serving their communities. Proposals also may focus on lessons learned from specific leadership experiences and the importance of strategic partnerships, culture change, and aligned goals.


Abstracts should focus on solutions to current public policy and financial issues unique to essential hospitals.


Abstracts should showcase new and promising programs that demonstrate groundbreaking initiatives in caring for vulnerable populations and ensuring equitable access to high-value care. Proposals also may focus on innovative programs that integrate clinical practice into the health system’s overarching mission and goals.


Abstracts should offer expertise on improving the health outcomes for a group of individuals by engaging internal and external stakeholders to serve community needs. Proposals may focus on leveraging policies and procedures at the hospital, local, state, and federal levels to support community wellbeing; innovative financing models; cross-sector partnerships; and aligning community benefit investment with population health efforts.

General Tips and Resources

We recognize that the methodology and data can vary greatly depending on the type of session and the track; whenever possible, please identify the initiative’s evidence-based outcomes. If a proposal focuses on a new initiative that does not yet have outcomes, be sure to indicate anticipated results and/or goals. Please also read the session type descriptions carefully to ensure that the content correlates with the type of session you have selected.

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