Just in Time for the Annual Meeting: AOPA 2019 National Assembly

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The American Orthotic & Prosthetic Association (AOPA) National Assembly will be held September 25-28 in San Diego. This Online Exclusive offers some thoughts on the value of professional conferences and describes several session presentations to take you beyond the program. We hope it enhances your experience and provides you with more insight into the proceedings.

"There is power in being connected to other people who are active in your line of work, but it can also be easy to talk yourself out of committing to that annual meeting…. Many people think that joining the organization is enough, but to capitalize on the return on your investment you need to be engaged and participate in the meetings," writes Thom Singer, an author of books on the power of business relationships and networking. Professional conferences offer opportunities to expand your professional knowledge and connect with colleagues to share experiences, gain insights, find opportunities to collaborate, or even establish friendships.

Singer acknowledges that for small business owners, leaving the office for several days can seem unrealistic, but suggests that conferences can help you build your business, improve your professional skills, including keeping up with trends and changes in O&P.

"Working in a small business venture can often be isolating, and without exposure to a variety of points of view, we can miss new ideas and trends that can impact future results," he says. "It is the people that bring the ROI to your time at a conference."

The Realities and Legalities of Workforce Harassment

Teri Kuffel, JD; Joyce Perrone, director, De La Torre O&P

What is sexual harassment? What are the slippery slopes? How can we have preventive protocols? These key questions will be discussed in this session. The speakers will address different perspectives that may be held by each gender to help prevent misinterpretation in the face of an event. The speakers will use actual case studies, address the legal issues, and review the 2018 open letter about discrimination in O&P and what it means in practice.

KAFO Fabrication

Tony Wickman, CTPO

In this program about the fundamentals of KAFO fabrication, Wickman will use visual methods to support the discussion of various modification techniques as well as manufacturing processes and joint application.

Impact of Five Common Prosthetic Ankle-Foot Categories for Individuals with Diabetes/Dysvascular Amputation

Shane Wurdeman, PhD, CP

This presentation addresses the details collected from the fifth Mobility Analysis of AmpuTees (MAAT V) study of 738 people. MAAT V sought to explore correlations between foot type and mobility, with a specific interest in those patients with diabetic or dysvascular amputations. The study constitutes the largest analysis of prosthetic foot type and mobility with implications on foot selection when enhanced mobility is a primary objective in prosthetic rehabilitation.

Opioid Use in Adults with Above Knee Amputations

Kenton Kaufman, PhD, PE

According to the CDC, opioids were involved in more than 33,000 deaths in 2015. Having a history of a prescription for an opioid pain medication increases the risk for overdose and opioid use disorder. Kaufman will address the results of a study conducted to determine the impact of opioid prescriptions in patients with above-knee amputations in comparison to other neurogenic pain medications in order to determine the relative risk of addiction.

Transitional Approach to Wound Healing

Seamus Kennedy, CPed

This session will explore options for treating persistent wounds in people who have diabetes and peripheral neuropathy. The Transitional Approach seeks to stage the wound appropriately and adjust the protocol with the patients as they move along the spectrum.

Prostheses that Feel: Clinical and Technical Considerations for Restoring Sensation to Upper and Lower Limb Amputees

Hamid Charkhkar, PhD; Bernhard Graimann, PhD; Emily Grayczk, PhD; Courtney Shell, PhD, MS; Ronald Triolo, PhD

In this symposium, the speakers will review the clinical need and commercial potential for sensory-enabled prostheses and make a business case for their eventual incorporation into clinical practice. The presenters will summarize recent advances in directly interfacing sensorized prosthetic limbs with the nervous system to produce direct and natural perceptions of interactions with the environment and their effects on grasp, phantom pain, standing and walking stability, as well as home use, agency, and embodiment. They will also explain the methodology and results of targeted sensory reinnervation and the potential to exploit cognitive illusions and internal models to produce natural feelings of sensation.