Practical strategies for
solving the health care puzzle

June 19 – 21 | SAN DIEGO

First-Time Attendee Guide


Justification Letter
Are you eager to attend VITAL2024 but need to make a strong case to your supervisor? Use our justification letter template to help you make your case. Download our justification letter template.

Booking Your Hotel
The deadline for making a hotel reservation at the special room rate of $295/night is May 22; however, rooms could sell out before the deadline. Reserve a room as soon as possible to ensure you get the best hotel rate.

Getting to the Hotel
There is no shuttle directly to the conference hotel, but it is a 15-minute drive from the airport. Taxis and multiple ride-share services have pickup locations at the airport.

What to Wear
Business casual attire is appropriate for all conference events. Keep in mind that while San Diego may be warm in June, it can drop into the 60s at night. Conference rooms also can be cold, so we encourage you to dress in layers.

Choosing What Sessions to Attend
VITAL2024 is primarily composed of general sessions and concurrent learning sessions.

Concurrent learning sessions are split into four topical tracks. No registration is required, and you can mix and match sessions among different tracks. Most breakout learning sessions are 30 or 60 minutes, with content from your peers highlighting successful and innovative solutions from their hospitals. Our sessions are built to give you access to speakers, with plenty of time for Q&A and time between sessions to continue the conversation. Check out the full program to see the lineup.

Slides will be available in the conference mobile app one week before the conference, so you can preview them to choose sessions to attend or review sessions you missed.

Business Cards
Connecting with colleagues who understand the unique challenges you face in your hospital is what makes VITAL so unique. Bring business cards to trade, and download the conference app to connect with other attendees by scanning their barcodes.

We will have plenty of coffee and tea at breakfast, and food and drinks will be available during breaks and at receptions. There also is a Starbucks in the hotel. Bring a water bottle to fill at refill stations throughout the conference space.


Networking with your essential hospital peers is one of the most valuable aspects of VITAL, and we make sure to build in plenty of time to socialize and connect. This year, we’re making even more of an effort to provide attendees with a variety of diverse networking opportunities.

First-Time Attendee Mixer
Don’t miss the first-time attendee mixer on Wednesday, June 19, from 1:15–2:15 pm PT, in Balboa, on the third level. Kick off your first VITAL with refreshments and activities to connect with fellow first-time attendees.

Connect with an experienced volunteer leader and past attendee, who will give you an overview of the conference, highlight key events, and help you make the most of your experience. Are you a returning attendee and want to be an ambassador? Apply here!

Request an ambassador by June 7 using the form below.

Ambassador Request



The ribbons hanging on name badges are a great conversation starter. They denote a person’s role in the association or the conference, such as board members or speakers, or their interests, such as climate or combating structural racism. First-time attendee ribbons will help you connect with fellow first-timers and help veteran attendees welcome you.

Keep an eye out for ambassador ribbons! Our ambassadors are a great source for questions even if you’re not paired with an ambassador.

Our opening reception and poster session, Wednesday, June 19, at 5:15 pm, on the Coronado Terrace on the fourth level, will feature a wide variety of projects and best practices from hospitals like yours. Preview posters and abstracts in the mobile app and network with the presenters.

Networking Roundtable
Join us Thursday, June 20, from 3–3:45 pm PT, for a structured networking roundtable session, where you’ll have the opportunity to discuss issues unique to essential hospitals.

Our Wednesday and Thursday evening receptions are open to all attendees and will feature heavy hors d’oeuvres along with alcoholic and nonalcoholic beverages. Wednesday’s reception will coincide with the poster session; Thursday’s reception, at Rooftop Cinema Club, across from the hotel, will feature outdoor games and a movie screening.

Keep the conversation going with presenters and fellow attendees during networking breaks after learning sessions.

Attendee List in App
Complete your profile and connect with other attendees in the VITAL2024 mobile app, which will be available in June.


America’s Essential Hospitals is authorized to award preapproved category II (non-ACHE) continuing education credit for VITAL2024. This credit can be used toward advancement or recertification in the American College of Healthcare Executives (ACHE). Credit hours will be determined according to the conference program and content. Conference attendees who wish to have the CEUs applied toward category II credit should list their attendance when applying for advancement or recertification in ACHE. A uniform certificate of attendance will be available at VITAL2024 for attendees to take, self-calculate their hours, and submit to ACHE.


All conference events are included in your registration, and no additional preregistration is required.

Opening Reception and Poster Session
Join us Wednesday, June 19, at 5:15 pm, to kick off the conference with our opening reception and poster session. The poster session will showcase projects from the VITAL2024 call for abstracts; 2024 Gage Awards winners, honorable mentions; the 2023–2024 Fellows Program; and our corporate affiliate members. Authors will be available during the poster session to answer questions about their projects. Plan your evening by previewing poster abstracts in the mobile app, and walk away with best practices from organizations like yours.

Gage Awards Lunch
The Gage Awards recognize outstanding projects in two categories: population health and quality improvement. At the Thursday lunch, we will honor the winners and debut short videos to learn more about the excellent work being done at essential hospitals and spark ideas to take home to your teams.

Rooftop Cinema Party
On Thursday evening, enjoy the beautiful San Diego weather and views at the Rooftop Cinema Club. Join your fellow attendees in lawn games and watch an outdoor movie on the big screen, with headphones for sound.

Climate Lunch
Learn from your peers how to combat the climate crisis and use funding available through the Inflation Reduction Act to support sustainability projects. A panel of executives with experience securing this funding will provide practical insights and examples of successful climate mitigation and resilience projects. Preregistration is not required, but space is limited. Attendees will be admitted on a first come, first served basis.


Attending VITAL2024 will give you the opportunity to network with essential hospital leaders while making the most of all that beautiful San Diego offers. Our hotel bridges Seaport Village to the Gaslamp Quarter and offers convenience to San Diego’s many entertainment options: grab a meal in Little Italy, see a comedy show in the Gaslamp Quarter, go for an evening stroll in Balboa Park, or enjoy a night out on the town in North Park. Visit the San Diego Tourism Authority to discover more to do in San Diego, secure discounts on local attractions, and learn more about this incredible city.

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