The Academy Annual Meeting Shines in Sunny Florida

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By Andrea Spridgen

Exclusive live coverage by The O&P EDGE

Shurr accepts award

Shurr (left) accepts the Titus-Ferguson award from McClellan during the Opening Ceremony.
Photographs courtesy of the Academy

The American Academy of Orthotists and Prosthetists' (the Academy) 39th Annual Meeting & Scientific Symposium, held February 20-23 in Orlando, commenced with an opening session on Wednesday evening, a departure from past years' scheduling. The Academy president's address and presentation of the Academy awards were the first orders of business.

In his opening remarks, Academy President Bruce "Mac" McClellan, CPO, LPO, FISPO, FAAOP, challenged O&P care providers to reflect on their perspectives, passions, and purposes in pursuing their professions, and reminded them of the value of putting patients first. When patients come to their offices, he said, they have already received excellent medical care, but they cannot gain or regain a certain degree of function without the specialized interventions O&P professionals provide. While the care O&P professionals provide is not "better" than other medical professionals, he said, it is "different, special, and unique." He proposed that O&P professionals adopt a motto similar to physicians' "Do no harm" maxim, but one that exceeds the threshold of what to avoid and instead encompasses what to aspire to. McClellan suggested that the O&P profession adopt as its guiding principle, "Maximize the potential." To do this, he said, practitioners must maximize their own potential by continuing to learn and grow in their professions, and cautioned that "experience alone doesn't make you good."

2013 class of Academy Fellows

The 2013 class of Academy Fellows (from left): Rob A. Yates, Arlene Gillis, DeAnna C. Chapman, Peter E. Leimkuehler, Patrick C. Prigge, Sara L. Peterson, E. Beth Durham, Donald R. Cummings, and J. Anna Avakian.

The Academy awards were also presented during the opening session. Donald G. Shurr, PT, CPO, was honored with the Titus-Ferguson lifetime achievement award in recognition of the impact he has made on the growth and development of the profession. James H. Campbell, PhD, CO, FAAOP, received the Distinguished Practitioner Award in recognition of his personal dedication and leadership to the advancement of the O&P profession. Additionally, this year's Mohamed Amid Award for Humanitarian Service was presented to Christina Skoski, MD. This award is presented at the Academy's discretion to an individual with a physical disability who has significantly influenced and promoted the advancement of human welfare through his or her philanthropic, vocational, or avocational activities. Keith M. Smith, CO, LO, FAAOP, received the Clinical Creativity Award, and Gary M. Berke received the Clinical Commitment Award. Other award winners included Mark D. Geil, PhD, who received the Academy's Research Award; Todd Kuiken, MD, PhD, who received an Honorary Membership Award; and Arlene Gillis, CP, LPO, MEd, FAAOP, who received the Outstanding Educator Award. Tom Gavin, CO, was presented with the 2013 Tamarack Prize for his contributions to the practice and understanding of orthotic science.

Shurr accepts award

Sanders delivers her Thranhardt lecture.

The Thranhardt Lectures were presented Thursday morning in a stand-alone session with top awards going to Brian Hafner, PhD, for "Normative PEQ-MS and ABC Scores among Persons with Lower Limb Loss," and Joan Sanders, PhD, for "Transtibial Amputee Fluid Volume Changes during Different Activities."

Thursday through Saturday offerings included professional development sessions, instructional courses and symposia presentations, free-paper and poster presentations, demonstrations and discussions of clinical and practice management techniques and issues, manufacturer workshops, and product preview presentations. There was also a full-day pedorthic program and a fullday technician education program. In total, up to 39 continuing education credits were available.

Shurr accepts award

Attendees explore the devices and technology on display during the Welcome Reception.

Special events this year included a movie night with a screening of the documentary Out on a Limb, Scientific Society Forums, and the Orthotic and Prosthetic Education and Research Foundation (OPERF) Showcase, which highlighted research conducted with support from OPERF.

An exhibit hall filled with 350 exhibits provided attendees the chance to meet with vendors and get an up-close look at new and existing products. Product display showcases provided demonstrations and additional opportunities to earn continuing education credits.

The Academy's 40th Annual Meeting & Scientific Symposium is scheduled for February 26-March 1, 2014, in Chicago, Illinois.