The American Academy of Orthotists and Prosthetists (the Academy) Meeting and Scientific Symposium—ExperienceAAOP2021—continued today, highlighting topics such as exercising during sessions, pros and cons of virtual and in-person conferences, O&P government affairs, addressing challenging family dynamics as it relates to patient care, and diversity in O&P.
One platform that has engaged attendees since the virtual meeting began has been the Community Question & Answer feature on the Academy’s menu bar. It allows attendees to post questions and get answers addressed quickly via Academy staff as well as from other attendees.
Several questions have centered around the virtual exhibit hall, namely, attendees wondering if perhaps they’ve just overlooked it.
“I may just be missing it, but is there a virtual exhibit hall in this platform?” asked Michael Carroll, PhD, CPO, FAAOP(D), chief, O&P Clinical Services, US Department of Veterans Affairs.
Manisha Bhaskar, senior director of communications and development for the Academy, responded that ExperienceAAOP2021 does not have a virtual exhibit hall. “We decided to create teaching opportunities where our exhibiting partners can educate attendees about the products and services they provide instead,” she wrote.
The future of O&P conferences—in-person and virtual—sparked a lively exchange on the Q&A platform.
The question was posed by Jordan Gaffney, MSPO, CO, resident prosthetist with Hanger Clinic. “Do you think that conferences should transition to virtual? AAOP has done a great job with their virtual format, but nothing beats being in person!”
Jackie Valdez, clinical education specialist, Fillauer, Chattanooga, Tennessee, responded, “I am really enjoying the platform they are using. I agree with you, however, nothing beats meeting in person.”
Michelle Hall, MS, CPO/L, FAAOP(D) answered, “This platform is a good option for a non-ideal situation; however, the fluid encounters we have in-person are quite difficult to replicate virtually. Think about how many people you’ve met randomly standing in a hallway or sitting next to someone new.”
“I am missing the in-person interaction, too!” wrote Sally DiBello, MPO, CPO/L. “But I am really enjoying the opportunity to post my questions during a session and have them answered. Hey, it’ll be 2022 next time, surely we can combine the best of both worlds.”
Terrell Tate, BOCP, CO, MPower Health CEO and founder, agreed. He wrote, “All of you have valid points. The engagement of asking questions is awesome and does not normally happen in person.” Tate also wrote that another advantage to the virtual platform is being able to connect more directly with specific individuals. “I feel that a hybrid approach in the future could bring out the best of both worlds and offer a whole new experience that none of us have ever had previously.”
Exercising during the conference was also a hot topic on the Q&A forum as well as during the first hallway huddle on Wednesday morning, which more than a dozen attended, most with coffee cups in hand.
Brian Kaluf, BES, CP, FAAOP, told the huddle he has set his road bike up on a stationary trainer to watch and listen in on workshops.
Seth O’Brien, CP, FAAOP, said he had done his first session while on a Peloton ride.
Then things got creative with the huddle team trying to come up with clever names for the exercise segment of the conference, including “Peddles in Prosthetics” and “The Peloton Moment.”
Now that Thursday’s sessions, huddles, and events have drawn to another successful close, here’s what sessions to be on the lookout for Friday:
Residency Buzz, Friday, May 7, 9 a.m. – 10:30 a.m. Speakers: Doug Reber, CO; Mark Clary, CPO, FAAOP; Ashley Mullen, CPO; Megan Christ, CPO
Description: As a pivotal component of P&O education, residency involves applying and negotiating for a position, integrating with healthcare practices, and active participation in experiential-based learning. This session will focus on skills for residents, residency mentors, and residency directors.
Special event Workplace Harassment Tools and Guidance: Promoting Dialogue and Creating a Respectful Work Environment, Friday, May 7, from 10:45 a.m. – 11:45 a.m. EDT. Speakers: Maggie Baumer (NAAOP); Teri Kuffel (AOPA); Robin Seabrook (NCOPE); Catherine Mize
Description: Since the existence of sexual harassment within the O&P field was brought to light at the Össur Women’s Leadership Conference in 2018, professional organizations have come together to define harassment and to take a united stand that harassment will not be tolerated. In this presentation, representatives of the O&P Alliance will provide an update on what the profession has achieved over the past year regarding harassment within the O&P workplace.