ISPO World Congress Draws Delegates from 68 Countries

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David Condie, Knud Jansen Lecture
David Condie, Knud Jansen Lecture

Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, was the setting for the 12th World Congress of the International Society for Prosthetics and Orthotics (ISPO). Held from July 29 to August 3, the Congress drew in nearly 1,400 delegates from 68 countries for six days of scientific, technical, and clinical programs in addition to various cultural and social events.

The Congress opened with remarks from incoming ISPO President and 2007 ISPO Chairman Ed Lemaire, PhD; outgoing ISPO President Harold Shangali from Tanzania; and Etienne Krug, MD, MPH, director of the Department of Injuries & Violence Prevention at the World Health Organization (WHO). Delegates were also treated to a performance by concert violinist Adrian Anantawan as well as a Native Canadian performance.

The academic program covered a broad series of topics relating to interdisciplinary physical rehabilitation. In orthotics, delegates expressed particular interest in the advances in stance control technology. On the prosthetic side, osseointegration combined with microprocessor technology demonstrated new possibilities for amputee treatment.

This year, scientific program sessions were arranged in topic streams to help reduce overlap and allow people to follow an area of interest. "The ISPO World Congress had so much good content that hard choices of which session to attend were unavoidable," said Lemaire.

ISPO by the Numbers

Free Papers: 276
Scientific Program Sessions: 116
Posters: 170
Symposia: 32
Basic Instructional Courses: 18
Advanced Instructional Courses: 18
Keynote Lectures: 5

The World Congress pilot tested a reduced registration rate for persons from low-income countries. The approach was well received and allowed "more people to attend the World Congress and bring information back to their home countries," Lemaire added.

The event was supported and sponsored by the major manufacturers and suppliers of rehabilitation, orthotic/prosthetic components, and assistive devices. In all, 704 exhibitors representing 108 companies around the world showcased their new products and demonstrated the latest developments in O&P technology.

Consumer Day

Opening, Adrian Anantawan
Opening, Adrian Anantawan

August 1 was devoted to consumers, as more than 170 participants had the opportunity to network with one another and see the large range of devices on the market. It was interesting to note the presence of several highly accomplished amputee demonstrators on manufacturers' stands interacting with delegates and the general public on Consumer Day. By using workshops, the manufacturers were able to present more specific and detailed information on new products and to provide hands-on training to the practitioners and consumers alike.

Consumers also had the opportunity to attend various health talks and participate in workshops including "Biomechanics of Amputee Sports and Running," led by Robert Gailey, PhD, PT, assistant professor, University of Miami School of Medicine; First Volley Adaptive Tennis Clinic, led by Darren Kindred, director of First Volley for the Orthotic & Prosthetic Assistance Fund Inc. (OPAF); and "Accessibilty: Making Your Home and Vehicle Work for You!" presented by Allan Dobie, Canada Mortgage & Housing Corp.

The Congress also brought together representatives from the many ISPO national member societies. This combined presence provided an opportunity for the exchange of information, discussion, and planning of joint projects. At the same time, members could put forward their ideas on future activities within the organization.

Opening ceremony
Opening ceremony

Non-English speaking participants noted difficulties in communicating with presenters and exhibitors. They suggested that for future events the ISPO Board and the Congress organizing committee consider using simultaneous translation, not only for the audience but also for keynote speakers, who are not totally fluent in the English language.

Lemaire said he was pleased with the quality of the event. The program provided "excellent presentation with a global perspective; there was "delegate participation from 68 countries with exhibitors from around the world;" and there was ample opportunity for networking, he said.

As ISPO president, Lemaire will guide the organization until the next World Congress in Leipzig, Germany, in 2010. "I am looking forward to [the Germany] conference, since by combining ISPO with the ORTHOPADIE+REHA-TECHNIK event, this will likely be the largest P&O scientific congress and trade exhibition in my career," he said. "Since the ISPO World Congresses are every three years, this event in Germany may not happen again for another 20 years."

Jose Paul Rodriguez from the Dominican Republic, Richard Priborsky from England, and Rosie Jované, OP-Panama, contributed to this article.


Brian Blatchford Prize: Marlo Ortiz, CP (M), was honored for his work on the MAS Socket design. The Blatchford Prize is awarded to an individual with an outstanding record of innovative achievement in the O&P profession.

Forchheimer Prize: Awarded to the most outstanding paper on objective clinical assessment, clinical evaluation, or clinical measurement published in Prosthetics and Orthotics International during the three years prior to the Congress, the Forchheimer Prize was presented to Todd Kuiken, MD, PhD, for his work on novel upper-extremity amputation surgery, neural control, and prosthetic systems.

Best Poster: Pamela Gallagher and Deirdre Desmond: Assessing Psychosocial Outcomes: Trinity Amputation and Prosthesis Experience Scales.

Best Paper-Advancing Clinical Treatment: B. Meikle, T. Pauley, and M. Devlin: Driving Pedal Reaction Times Following Right Transtibial Amputations.

Best Paper-Advancing Education: M. J. Cole, J. Morris, and A. Scammell: The Challenges of Continuing Professional Development (CPD) for Physiotherapists Working as Lone Practitioners in Amputee Rehabilitation.

Best Paper-Advancing Technology: Isamu Kajitani and Tetsuya Higuchi: A Myoelectric Sensor with Insulating Electrodes.

Best Paper-Advancing Education: Brian Callaghan, Marie Johnston, and Elizabeth Condie: Using the Self-Regulation Model to Determine Psychological Predictors of Prosthetic Use, Independence, and Mobility.

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