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What is SMACC?

SMACC is ‘Social Media and Critical Care’. It is an international not-for-profit multi-disciplinary critical care conference that originated with the FOAM community (FOAM is Free Open Access Medical education; or #FOAMed on Twitter). Content from SMACC is released free-to-access online after each conference, and becomes FOAM.


What is the SMACC mission?

SMACC provides a meeting place for people involved in the care of critically ill patients so that they can access cutting edge education, be inspired and share innovations and ideas. We aim to break down the barriers to allow everyone to access to the highest quality educational content, expert opinions and appraisals of the evidence base for critical care.


How is SMACC different from most other medical conferences?

SMACC is run by C4, an independent not-for-profit organization that is dedicated to creating the most inspiring and educational conference experience possible.

SMACC is constantly seeking to push the boundaries of what is possible with medical conferences, whilst being committed to providing a genuinely educational experience. SMACC challenges the norms, and tries to excite and surprise delegates every year.

SMACC is independent of any parent organisations or societies yet aims to work with relevant bodies to create a space for free and open discussion involving all disciplines relevant to critical care.

All educational content generated from SMACC is released as free and open-access after the event, highlighting our commitment to FOAM.

SMACC is committed to improving gender equality in critical care, and strives to ensure that female representation is equal to that of males, both on the organising committee and the speaker panel.

SMACC is not just a conference; it is a movement that promotes interaction and community involvement, both at the event and across all social media platforms.


How are SMACC speakers and faculty chosen?

We seek out inspirational speakers who are passionate about their topic and are committed to giving a talk that engages and asks questions of our audience. We find them from the international conference speaking circuit, from recognising their work in the medical literature and in FOAM, as well as from personal recommendations from trusted collaborators and from our recommended speaker submission form.

We are fortunate to be inundated with recommendations of superb speakers and we have the difficult task of deciding which of these make the most balanced, cohesive program. We intentionally try to mix established critical care experts and thought leaders with promising newcomers, people with unique experiences, and experts from diverse backgrounds to make our program as compelling as possible.

The overwhelming number of suggestions and nominations we receive means individual feedback for those are not included in the conference programme isn’t currently feasible. However, we maintain a database of ideas for talks and speakers, which we can call upon for last minute speaker substitutions and unexpected changes. Please don’t be disheartened if you’ve suggested a speaker and they haven’t been invited – we simply can’t include everyone – but keep your suggestions and ideas coming!


How can I access free online content from SMACC?

All the talks from the previous SMACC conferences are available online for free, as open access content. The SMACC website has a searchable archive of SMACC talks from all previous SMACC conferences, usually with the speakers slides. We also have Apple and Android podcast apps which have all our audio talks and our own Youtube and Vimeo channels for the videos.

We have had over 2.5 million talk audio downloads so far (as of February 2017).

Other FOAM websites, such as Intensive Care Network and Life in the Fast Lane, also feature the SMACC talks and help make the content as accessible as possible to everyone around the world. Any FOAM website can feature SMACC content with appropriate attribution.


Why isn’t SMACC livestreamed in video?

We record all the content from SMACC and release it following the conference so that as many people as possible can access our content. We stagger the release of the content so that we can ensure the podcasts are high quality, that individual talks don’t compete with one another, and so that we can maintain a steady stream of new talks being released throughout the year.

If you want to hear all the talks, fresh and live, we want you to come to the conference!

SMACC isn’t just about the talks, it’s an event and experience. Starting from the opening ceremony, all the way through to the SMACC social functions, SMACC is a fully immersive life experience where you will connect with like-minded colleagues, hear inspirational talks and be educated by the greatest minds in critical care.


How are tickets to SMACC priced?

As a not-for-profit charity, we work hard to create the best possible conference experience at the most reasonable price. Tickets to SMACC provide a unique educational and networking experience – including the opening ceremony, theming, entertainment, social events and meals, in addition to the talks and workshops. We want everyone to be immersed in the entire experience, which is why it is all or nothing!

We subsidise the tickets as much as we can and we keep the tickets costs as low as possible for non-specialists. We do understand that it’s not cheap and that’s one reason we distribute all the content for free after the event for those who can’t make it.


How does SMACC support medicine globally?

We know that costs of travel and accommodation can be prohibitive and inevitably excludes many people involved in critical care around the world. This is why we release free-to-access SMACC content via podcasts and online resources produced after the conference. We want as many people as possible to benefit from SMACC regardless of their income.

SMACC also actively supports other FOAM projects, such as the highly successful Critical Care Care Reviews meeting. The SMACC organising committee has also advised and assisted many other conferences and meetings around the world.


How does SMACC support students and healthcare practitioners from LMICs?

Since 2014 we have offered a student support scheme, giving delegates the opportunity to financially support student attendances when they register. This has been very well received by our student attendees as well as by the supporting delegates, many of whom have received heartfelt thank you messages from those they have sponsored.

We also offer discounted rates for “Ambassadors” from LMICs (we ask these Ambassadors to help us to make our resources more accessible to people in their country by translating some of our FOAM resources). We are currently working alongside these Ambassadors to bring you subtitled versions of SMACC video talks in Spanish, Portuguese and Mandarin.

We set our pricing structure to cover our costs but also to reflect the differences in income between medical specialists and trainees/non-physicians; medical specialists pay a little extra so that trainees and non-physicians can pay a little less.


How does SMACC support diversity?

SMACC is inclusive of all professionals involved in critical care, whatever their background. SMACC proudly showcases excellent female speakers. SMACC has been a trailblazer in ensuring strong female representation on the programme. Other critical care conferences are now starting to follow our lead.

SMACC is a family-friendly event. We have provided paid childcare options during the conference since 2014. Being a parent need not be a barrier to attending SMACC. We include speakers from LMICs on our programme, and support participation by doctors from LMICs through our “Ambassador” programme.

We also have talks on the programme which highlight topics relevant to diversity in the critical care specialties, and we will continue this commitment.

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