Academy Annual Meeting & Scientific Symposium: Learn, Discover,

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The 2017 National Meeting & Scientific Symposium of the American Academy of Orthotists and Prosthetists (the Academy), held March 1-4 in Chicago was full of energy. Many sessions were well-attended, with people lining up afterward at microphones to ask questions of the speakers; the exhibit hall was buzzing with chatter and product demonstrations; and after-hour receptions were filled to capacity. About 1,700 attendees convened to learn about new products, as well as those long established; earn continuing education units and expand their knowledge; and reconnect with colleagues while making new professional connections.

team from Advanced Arm Dynamics

From left, Dan Conyers, Kerstin Baun, Tiffany Ryan, and John Miguelez of Advanced Arm Dynamics gather in the poster exhibit hall. Conyers, Baun, and Miguelez were among the presenters during the Free Papers session on upper-limb prostheses. Photographs by Laura Fonda Hochnadel.

LTI upper limb products

The exhibit hall offered attendees the opportunity to examine products up-close and receive demonstrations.

This year's theme, "Learn, Discover, Inspire," was fitting. As one pediatric orthotic specialist with over 20 years of experience said, he learned how much he didn't know by attending sessions.

During the opening session, Jonathan Naft, CPO/L, won the Orthotic and Prosthetic Education and Research Foundation's Tamarack Prize for outstanding contributions to orthotic science and practice-while typically awarded every other year, it was last bestowed in 2013. Naft challenged attendees to contribute to the growth of science of the profession. "I'm here to tell you, your ideas are doable," he said. "It takes a team to make a difference." The Academy Awards were presented next, with 12 individuals honored.

This year included a record number of poster presentations-78-and over half were student submissions. In fact, there was an obvious presence of O&P master's level and technician students in attendance, easily identified by their school-logo attire, walking in groups in the exhibit hall or sitting together in sessions. Friday Night's Women in O&P Reception, sponsored by Townsend and Fillauer®, also had many of those students in attendance; a highlight of the event was the speed meet-and-greet, where attendees were given lists of questions to foster conversations, and bustled from table to table and new groups of people by the sounding of an alarm.

Perhaps the next generation of O&P university and technical students were among the 110 high school students who attended the High School Awareness (HAS) Program. They participated in hands-on, interactive activities, where they learned about O&P devices and the education and training required for a career in O&P, and were treated to a talk by Kevin Carroll, MS, CP, FAAOP, who spoke to them about his work and the movie Dolphin Tale. What was to be a 15-minute talk easily stretched to an hour, as the students were so engaged.

The 2018 Academy Annual Meeting & Scientific Symposium is slated for February 14-17 in New Orleans.


  • Titus-Ferguson Award (for lifetime achievement): Frank H. Bostock, MBA, CO, FAAOP
  • Distinguished Practitioner Award: Ann Yamane, MEd, CO/L
  • Clinical Commitment Award: Michelle J. Hall, MS, CPO, FAAOP(D)
  • Clinical Creativity Award: John M. Miguelez, CP, FAAOP(D)
  • Research Award: Glenn K. Klute, PhD
  • Honorary Membership: Robert Benedetti, MBA, and Joyce J. Perrone
  • Outstanding Educator Award: Joshua B. Utay, MEd, CPO/L
  • Mohammed Amin Award for Humanitarian Service: Jan Brustrom-Hernandez, MD
  • Champion of the Profession (new): Bruce "Mac" McClellan, CPO/L, FISPO, FAAOP(D); Michael J. Allen, CPO, FAAOP; and Phil M. Stevens, MEd, CPO, FAAOP

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