More than 1,600 people attended the 2019 National Meeting of the American Academy of Orthotics and Prosthetics (the Academy) March 6-9 in Orlando, Florida.
The event drew O&P professionals worldwide to the City Beautiful to experience four days of hands-on learning and educational sessions, panel discussion and workshops, along with a plethora of networking opportunities, and a chance to experience a sold-out exhibit hall firsthand filled with the latest in trends and technology, as well as product showcase displays of current O&P technology.
The 45th annual event began Wednesday, March 6, with the opening session address by Leigh Davis, MSPO, CPO, FAAOP, 2018-2019 Academy president. “We are a home, a family of professionals,” Davis told the audience in her opening remarks.
The keynote address was delivered by Phil Hansen, a self-taught American artist. His presentation was aimed at not letting limitations hinder individual success. Hansen was fascinated by pointillism, a painting technique where small, distinct dots of color form an image, throughout his high school years—to the point that it resulted in permanent nerve damage in his hand. Hansen said a neurologist told him to “embrace the shake,” which he said he took to heart. Hansen said he began exploring other forms of two- and three-dimensional art that has led to a successful career. His topic served to motivate the crowd and got the meeting off to an enthusiastic start.
Recipients of the 2019 Academy Awards were also presented during opening ceremonies. Seven were honored, including Bruce “Mac” McClellan, CPO/L, FISPO, FAAOP (D), who won the Titus Ferguson Lifetime Achievement award, and David Hughes, CPO, LPO, who earned the Distinguished Practitioner award. McClellan, who has worked in O&P for nearly 50 years, received a standing ovation when he accepted his award. “I am humbled to receive this award,” he said and then drew laughter from the audience when he added, “It was bound to happen that you’d run out of deserving people to give the award to.”
Educational and panel sessions were well attended and provided a wealth of information on numerous topics including how to improve communication about secondary health conditions affecting the physical and mental health in older adults with upper-limb loss and difference. The panel discussion “Can We Talk?” repeated a session format that was held during the 2018 Academy meeting in New Orleans, which was intended to create an environment for meeting attendees to have an opportunity to interact directly with Academy meeting speakers and other O&P leaders.
The “Prosthetic Management Following Osseointegration” session included the latest information regarding the procedure. The audience received a brief overview of surgical procedures and protocols of osseointegration, rehabilitation protocols, and an overview of prosthetic adaptors and other limitations. Despite the unknown long-term effects of osseointegration, the presenters emphasized that it is here to stay. Following osseointegration, most patients reported an increased quality of life, and “gait parameters improved for all patients,” said Phil Stevens, MEd, CPO, FAAOP. “It’s going to stick around awhile,” he said. “It enables more amputees to successfully rehabilitate.” The 2020 Academy Annual National Meeting & Scientific Symposium is scheduled for March 4-7 in Chicago.