AOPA World Congress 2017: Celebrating a Century

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By Andrea Spridgen
Ethan Earl

AOPA's A Walk Through Time display marked a century of innovation.

Photograph courtesy of Andrea Spridgen.

More than 2,500 attendees from 41 countries gathered September 6-9 in Las Vegas for the American Orthotic and Prosthetic Association (AOPA) 2nd World Congress and AOPA Centennial Celebration. AOPA President Michael Oros, CPO/L, FAAOP, kicked off the event Wednesday evening at the welcome reception where attendees were treated to a dance and acrobatic performance from Le Rêve – The Dream production that included transtibial prosthesis user Andrew Montgomery. The celebration continued with vendors doing "Show Your Vegas Style" themes at their booths.

The presentation of the Inventor awards at Thursday morning's general session served to reinforce the congress' theme of "Celebrating a Century, Envisioning the Next." Van Phillips, Flex-Foot; J. Martin (Marty) Carlson, CPO(E), FAAOP, Tamarack Flexure Joint; M.E. (Bill) Miller, CO, The Boston Brace System (posthumously); and Kelly James, PhD, C-Leg were honored and each addressed the audience about the development of their groundbreaking inventions and implications of the technology for the future. Miller's son, James (Rusty) Miller, accepted his award and spoke on his behalf.

Other awards presented during AOPA's general sessions included the Lifetime Achievement Award to Sir Saeed Zahedi, OBE, FREng, BSc, PhD, FIMechE, CEng, RDI; Ralph R. (Ronney) Snell Legislative Advocacy awards to Aaron Holm and Adrianne Haslet; the Edwin and Kathryn Arbogast award to Elizabeth Bell; and the Otto and Lucille Becker award to Kierra Falbo. Winners of the prestigious Thranhardt Lecture Awards were Shaman Hoppe-Ludwig, CPO, for "The Micro-Processor Controlled Orthosis: What is the Impact to the User Versus the Stance Control Orthosis and Conventional Locked KAFO?" and Andrea Giovanni Cutti, PhD, for "Reference Values for Temporal Gait and Loading Symmetry of Lower-Limb Amputees Can Help in Refocusing Rehabilitation Targets." The Sam E. Hamontree CP(E) Business Education Award winner was Ryan Ball for "Competitive Differentiator: Executing a Data-Driven Growth Strategy in O&P."

In a special event hosted by the Orthotic and Prosthetic Group of America (OPGA), Waterloo, Iowa, on Wednesday evening in conjunction with the conference, JoAnne Kanas, DPT, CPO, FAAOP, was honored with the inaugural O&P Woman of the Year Award. Kanas is the corporate director of orthotics and prosthetics for Shriners Hospitals for Children in Tampa, Florida.

Throughout the congress, education, innovation, and the value of O&P care were highlighted in sessions with presenters from around the world. At the Friday and Saturday morning sessions, the results of the RAND study on the economic value of advanced transfemoral prostheses, and an updated Dobson DaVanzo cost effectiveness study were presented—both once again reinforcing that O&P care provides good value for patients and payers. Other educational sessions focused on clinical issues and application of technology to challenges as diverse as socket perspiration, the durability and cost-effectiveness of using 3D printing in O&P, and myoelectric orthoses in upper-limb treatment.

The exhibit hall reinforced educational presentations with new products on display and patient models available to highlight the solutions they are using that make a difference in their lives. And, to celebrate the achievements in O&P in the past century, attendees could visit AOPA's Walk Through Time display in the hall.

The 2018 AOPA National Assembly will be held September 26-29 in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.