Kaua’i, The Garden Isle—Home of Pac Rim 2016

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The 2016 Pacific Rim (Pac Rim) conference was held at the Kaua’i Marriott Resort, January 22-24. The event was hosted by the U.S. National Member Society of the International Society for Prosthetics and Orthotics (US ISPO), which welcomed more than 100 attendees from around the world. The casual atmosphere of the open-air sessions and exhibit area permitted casual attire as the norm—from Hawaiian shirts to shorts and sandals—and complemented the theme of Waves of Change, Oceans of Opportunity.

Mercer and Hernandez were on hand to answer questions about osseointegration for prosthetic attachment surgery. Photographs courtesy of Fred Hernandez.

The quality and depth of the clinical sessions, however, were far from casual. US ISPO Chairman Jon Batzdorff, CPO, kicked off the meeting by thanking those for making the trek to the beautiful garden island. Among the well-attended clinical sessions were “Evolution of Lower-Limb Amputee Care Over Three Decades” by Frank Gottschalk, MD; the M.A.S.® transfemoral socket discussion by R. Marlo Ortiz Vazquez del Mercado, CP (M); the research papers presented by Mayo Clinic participants; Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago’s upper-limb bionics research by Laura Miller, PhD, CP; and “MASA Research Creates New Generation of Fabric Socket Technology” by James “Jay” Martin, CP, FAAOP. The business sessions covered topics pertinent to facility owners, practitioners, and manufacturers, including facility accreditation, marketing, and last year’s decision by the National Commission on Orthotic and Prosthetic Education to no longer accredit/ approve fitter education.

Of note, Munjed Al Muderis, MD, FRACS(Orth), an associate professor in orthopedic surgery, traveled from Australia to discuss his pioneering work of osseointegration for prosthetic attachment. Several of his patients were also in attendance, including Fred Hernandez and Cindy Mercer. Mercer wore shorts and proudly showed off her implant.

A change is on the horizon for US ISPO’s next Pac Rim conference: During the bayside sunset banquet, Terry Supan, CPO/L, FAAOP, FISPO, announced that he is stepping away from his work with Pac Rim to concentrate on his new appointment as treasurer of ISPO. Several of his colleagues expressed their well-wishes and said they would miss his collaborative efforts. US ISPO board member, David Boone, PhD, CP/L, MPH, will be stepping in to serve as the new Pac Rim program chair.

conference session

Sessions were well attended and covered the gamut from lower- to upper-limb prosthetics, education, continuum of care, and research and innovations in O&P.

Event co-organizer and US ISPO’s executive director, Dianne Farabi, said it was one of the best attended Pac Rim meetings. She added that she received many accolades about the presenters and their presentations, such as: “A nice, small conference in a great setting makes it easy to approach people and talk”; and “Overall the conference was very informative on new applications, technologies, socket design, and overall possibilities of future advancement in prosthetics. I think it was very beneficial to have MDs here as well”; and “I particularly enjoyed the researchers’ presentations—the studies described were useful and insightful and added to current knowledge”; and “Thank you. I am pleased with the dedication to education that the attendees have. The meeting team has done an excellent job again!”

The conference offered camaraderie and plenty of networking opportunities, including the golf outing prior to the start of the conference, the welcome reception in the exhibit area, and the Hawaiian-themed dinner on the beach. The speakers were high quality, and the atmosphere offered a low-key, comfortable venue in which to learn and earn CEUs.

The next Pac Rim conference will be held in January 2018; the location has not yet been determined.

—Tonja Randolph

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