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There were plenty of educational sessions (even one with a "twist"), activities, workshops, and exhibits during the 38th Annual Meeting & Scientific Symposium of the American Academy of Orthotists and Prosthetists (the Academy) in Atlanta, Georgia, March 21-24, 2012.
"The meeting was one of our best ever," said Peter Rosenstein, Academy executive director. New programs this year included a joint presentation with the American Physical Therapy Association (APTA) and the chance for students going into their residency to have interviews with resident sites, Rosenstein said, adding, "Feedback on both of those programs has been good." In addition, 100 Atlanta high school students had the opportunity to attend the event and talk with current O&P students about careers in the field.
The Thursday morning opening session included presentations by the four Thranhardt Lecture Awards finalists. Session attendees voted for two winning lectures, which were announced during the Academy business meeting Friday morning. Stefania Fatone, PhD, BPO (Hons), and Azucena Rodriguez, PhD, took one of the Thranhardt prizes for their lecture, "Spinal Motion During Walking in Persons with Transfemoral Amputation with and without Low Back Pain." Mark Geil, PhD, and Kinsey Herrin, MSPO, CO, also received a Thranhardt award for their lecture, "Is a Rigid Footplate as Effective as an Articulated AFO in Controlling Idiopathic Toe Walking?"
The Academy Awards were also presented during Thursday's opening session. Terry Supan, CPO, LPO, FAAOP, FISPO, received the Titus-Ferguson Award, which recognizes those who have made an impact on the O&P profession. Supan, who called himself "a farm boy who was introduced to the strange world of orthotics," was so moved by the honor that he broke down during his acceptance speech. The Distinguished Practitioner Award was given to Donald Katz, CO, LO, FAAOP, for his personal dedication to and leadership in the O&P profession. Jose Miguel Gomez, MD, LO, won the Clinical Creativity Award; Wendy Beattie, CPO, FAAOP, won the Clinical Commitment Award; Andrew Hansen, PhD, won the Research Award; and Bryan Malas, MHPE, CO, won the Outstanding Educator Award. Honorary Academy memberships went to Iraq war veteran Tammy Duckworth, formerly the assistant secretary for Public and Intergovernmental Affairs and the director of the Illinois Department of Veterans Affairs; and Kendra Calhoun, president and CEO of the Amputee Coalition.
The educational session with a "twist" was a collaborative effort by the Academy and APTA.the Interdisciplinary Management of Patients with Lower-Limb Amputations. Session moderator and Academy Immediate Past President Scott Cummings, PT, CPO, FAAOP, said the presentation was developed by the Academy and APTA over the last 18 months in an effort to provide the audience of O&P clinicians and physical therapists information that they could use in their day-to-day practice.
Pairs of prosthetists and physical therapists who work together every day presented complex cases of patients with lower-limb amputations. They cited current research and discussed best prosthetic and physical therapy practice options to manage these complex cases. A "twist team" was also involved to discuss how the treatment might change if one factor of the patient's medical status was altered. "In this way, the audience gained insight into treatment options, but the presentation also highlighted the value of interdisciplinary collaboration to optimize patient care," Cummings said. The final portion of the presentation covered outcomes research and allowed for audience dialogue during a panel discussion with the experts.
Cummings said feedback received has been quite positive. "Attendees felt it was a unique program that reflected the reallife need for interdisciplinary collaboration, especially with complex cases," he said, adding that he hopes this is the first of many such collaborative efforts.
The 39th Academy Annual Meeting & Scientific Symposium will be held at the Caribe Royale Resort, Orlando, Florida, February 26-March 1, 2013.