The Academy’s effort and hard work on planning and kicking off its first-ever virtual assembly paid off Tuesday with more than 800 attendees from the United States, Canada, the Caribbean, and beyond able to experience and use an active and easy-to-navigate meeting website.
The conference got started Tuesday with opening ceremonies, Thranhardt lectures, and a host of morning and afternoon business and educational sessions. O&P industry experts discussed topics including scoliosis bracing, targeted muscle reinnervation (TMR) in lower-limb loss, managing nerve pain, partial hand and foot amputations, and adapting workflow to a digital world.
Jared Howell, MS, CPO, FAAOP, Baylor College of Medicine, and Academy president, gave the opening session address on Tuesday afternoon. His welcoming comments included highlighting a year in which everyone has experience myriad firsts due to the pandemic. He encouraged the attendees to share what was a first for them.
Attendee comments included, “first time I ever stood in line to get inside a grocery store,” “first time I got front row parking at the hospital,” “first time I rode a stationary bicycle trainer during an Academy presentation,” “first time I washed a face mask,” “first year without any plane travel,” “first time attending an Academy meeting,” “first time I took prosthetics classes and made my first prosthesis,” and “first time I have actually used a hashtag.”
On Wednesday morning, early-riser attendees tuned in to the session: “Future Political Climate” with speakers Howell, Mac McClellan, CPO, FAAOP(D), Rick Miller, CO, FAAOP, Greg Armstrong, CPO, Kevin Hines, CPO, FAAOP. Academicians discussed the current efforts of the Academy’s public policy committee and the work they’re doing in conjunction with the O&P Alliance as well as independent Academy efforts.
About a dozen early birds attended “Coffee & Community Networking with the Scientific Societies,” a kaffeeklatsch Zoom setting, which provided a glimpse into kitchens, living rooms, and offices, while allowing attendees an informal way to start the virtual conference for the day.
What are attendees saying so far at ExperienceAAOP2021?
Susan Kapp, MEd, CPO/L, FAAOP(D), University of Washington Department of Rehabilitation Medicine. “I just attended the ‘OPRA System by Integrum – Improving Life.’ Good information and well presented. Looking forward to a week of learning and networking.”
Jeffrey Waldmuller, CP, Ottobock, is looking forward to attending a number of sessions. “Anything with professional interaction,” he said. “The pandemic has me craving this cohort! Looking forward to seeing everyone, virtually.”
The Wednesday morning “Hallway Huddle” was a mini session to give attendees a chance to unwind and chat informally before heading off to the next virtual session.
Now that Wednesday’s sessions and events have drawn to a successful close, here’s what to be on the look for Thursday:
For the early risers: Advocacy Alert – Government Affairs Updates, Thursday, May 6, 7:45 a.m. – 8:45 a.m. EDT. Speaker: Peter Thomas, JD.
Description: Join the government relations update to gain insight on advocacy and policy as they relate to the O&P profession. Discussion topics include the Patient-Centered Care Act, CMS, and veterans’ affairs.