Hanger Family Comes Together at Annual Education Fair

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"Develop a passion for learning. If you do, you will never cease to grow."

—Anthony J. D'Angelo, The College Blue Book

Hanger Orthopedic Group's annual Education Fair, held February 1-5 in Reno, Nevada, opened with the stories of nine pediatric patients. An audience of nearly 900 clinicians and 340 representatives from 120 exhibiting companies and organizations gathered to listen to 16-year-old Amber Konkol, who was diagnosed with cerebral palsy at one-year old. With the help of Innovative Neurotronics' WalkAide, which helps combat Konkol's foot drop, this young athlete is now able to participate in triathlons. When she spoke, she expressed gratitude to her orthotist Curt Bertram, CO, for "giving me hope and confidence."

British Royal Marine Mark Ormrod speaks during the opening ceremony.
All photos courtesy of Hanger Prosthetics and Orthotics.

Soldiers who lost limbs while serving in Iraq and Afghanistan were also honored during the opening ceremony. Among those recognized was British Royal Marine Mark Ormrod, a Hanger patient who lost both legs and his right arm in a landmine blast in Afghanistan on Christmas Eve 2007. He told the audience, "There are obviously prosthetists in England that could fit me...," but he said he was inspired to come to the United States because of people like triple amputee Cameron Clapp, who, Ormrod said, "functioned at a level I'd never seen before and I wanted to achieve." Since Ormrod's first fitting in the United States, he hasn't used his wheelchair. In fact, he recently joined a team that ran coast to coast across America as part of a charity challenge called The Gumpathon. Ormrod ran at least one mile each day with the group, which raised money for injured servicemen and women on both sides of the Atlantic.

After hearing these patients speak, Rick Taylor, president of Hanger Prosthetics & Orthotics, Austin, Texas, talked about the emotions that these stories stirred in him, stressing how such emotions are central to the practitioner's role as an O&P care provider. The patient representatives also underscored the purpose of the education fair—to remind the Hanger team that what they do on the job every day impacts patients' lives in significant ways.

"The Hanger Education Fair is an opportunity for us to gather as the Hanger family to celebrate our successes and to communicate our goals for the coming year," Taylor said. "Equally, if not more important, is the quality of the clinical education and training that takes place during the Education Fair. Additionally, it's a chance to renew old friendships and to make new ones in an upbeat and uplifting environment."

Kevin Carroll, MS, CP, FAAOP, leads a symposium.

Otto Bock's Michelangelo hand was featured in the exhibit hall.

Approximately 164 instructors taught 111 sessions on such topics as Coding and Regulations for 2011, Stance Control Orthotics, Prosthetic and Orthotic Management of the High-Activity User, Pediatric Orthotics, Active Vacuum Suspension, the Providence Scoliosis System, and the Lock-it-Socket for Short Transfemoral, Hip Disarticulation, and Hemipelvectomy patients. Kevin Carroll, MS, CP, FAAOP, Hanger P&O's vice president of prosthetics, led a symposium on recent advances in gait analysis. During his session, he presented a Lifetime Achievement Award to Jacquelin Perry, MD, ScD (Hon), chief emeritus at Rancho Los Amigos Hospital, Downey, California. According to the Rancho Los Amigos National Rehabilitation Center website, Perry is considered to be a world authority on gait analysis.

An auction was held to benefit the continued earthquake-relief efforts of the Hanger Ivan R. Sabel Foundation's clinic in Deschapelles, Haiti, during Saturday evening's dinner event. Donated artwork created by Florida Hanger employees, as well as the paintings of Tcho Elinor, a Haitian staff member at Klinik Hanger who is training to become a prosthetics technician, raised $25,800.

Saturday's festivities also included the presentation of Lifetime Achievement Awards to Hanger practitioner Hugh Panton, CPO, FAAOP, of Orlando, Florida, a 46-year veteran with the company, and SPS President Ron May of Alpharetta, Georgia, known for building and maintaining solid relationships through outstanding customer service. Al Maciunas, CPO, FAAOP, earned the J.E. Hanger Award for Clinical Leadership; Steve Miller, CPO, took home the Hanger Excellence Award for Innovation; and Pam Cavaliere accepted the Hanger Excellence Award for Service; 16 patient care centers received the Excellence Award for Operations.

Hanger will hold its next education fair February 6-10, 2012, in Las Vegas, Nevada.

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