Inclusion, Participation, and Empowerment
The 14th World Congress of the International Society for Prosthetics and Orthotics (ISPO) was held in Hyderabad, India, February 4-7. It is the first time that the event has been held in an emerging nation. About 1,800 participants from more than 80 countries gathered for this global multidisciplinary forum. Orthotists, prosthetists, physiatrists, orthopedic surgeons, physical and occupational therapists, rehabilitation engineers, clinical psychologists, and others convened to gain a deeper understanding of the latest advancements in O&P care, devices, and technology. During the four-day event, 121 sessions, which included free papers, instructional courses, and symposiums, were given, and more than 108 posters were displayed.
The opening ceremony featured the Knud Janssen Lecture, given by Carson Harte, a prosthetist-orthotist, chief executive of The Cambodia Trust, and an active member of the ISPO Education Committee. Building on the theme, "Inclusion, Participation, and Empowerment," his lecture reflected his personal experience on the impact of P&O training schools across the globe and offered personal insights into P&O education, research, appropriate technology, and service delivery in an international development context.
The 14th World Congress also marked the handing over of the baton from outgoing ISPO president Jan Geertzen, MD, PhD, a specialist in physical medicine and rehabilitation (PM&R) at the Center for Rehabilitation, Groningen, the Netherlands, to Bengt Soderberg, CPO, gait lab manager and managing director of the Scandinavian Orthopedic Laboratory, Helsingborg, Sweden.
Spirit of Collaboration
Max Ortiz Catalan, an industrial doctoral student, traveled to the World Congress from Gothenburg, Sweden, to give two presentations, one of which was about the open-source release of the computer system for myoelectric prosthetic control based on pattern recognition. The software was created at Chalmers University of Technology, Gothenberg. "We used this forum for the official release of our software as open source, so the people interested in the field would know about it," he said.
When asked about what he learned at the World Congress, Ortiz Catalan told The O&P EDGE that hearing about the latest news and getting a better idea about what direction the O&P and related rehabilitation fields are going were among the top benefits. For instance, Laura Miller, PhD, CP, a research scientist/ prosthetist at the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago (RIC), Illinois, "gave a very good talk on how myoelectric control based on pattern recognition is moving into clinical implementations," he explained.
Recently appointed chairman of the U.S. National Member Society of ISPO (USISPO), Jon Batzdorff, CPO, FAAOP, traveled from California to attend. He said a high point of the trip for him was the ISPO International Committee meeting, during which a representative from each ISPO member society spoke for five minutes about P&O practice, education, and ISPO activities in their country. Batzdorff, who is also the founder and president of the nonprofit organization Prosthetika, spoke about development projects as opposed to emergency response projects. "For...sustainability of a development project, you must build local capacity" with a foundation for the long term, he said, adding that the training component is primary and sometimes takes priority over the immediate numbers of patients being fitted per day. His personal take-away from ISPO included "many ideas for new programming for USISPO" as well as a "renewed enthusiasm for being in a truly international and multidisciplinary group."
World Congress participants also had the opportunity to attend exhibitor workshops, which were focused on manufacturers' latest product developments and therapy options, as well as advice about sales and marketing and other business-related topics. More than 110 exhibitors were in attendance showcasing the latest and most advanced aids and supports available from around the world.
The 15th ISPO World Congress is scheduled to take place in Lyon, France, June 22-25, 2015. The World Congress will now be held on a two-year cycle instead of a three-year cycle.