O&P EDGE: The pandemic has caused many of the 2020 and 2021 O&P education events to go virtual, with many including a virtual exhibit hall. Why did the Academy choose not to have an exhibit hall at ExperienceAAOP2021?
Kanas: When the decision was made to host a virtual event, we reached out to our exhibitors and asked them what they needed for a successful experience. We knew that many took a financial hit with the pandemic, and we wanted to ensure that we consulted them before making any decisions. Many expressed that a virtual exhibit hall did not offer a return on investment that made dedicating that type of time and money worthwhile.
O&P EDGE: What led to the creation of the Exhibitor Planning Committee, and how has it participated in planning the annual meeting?
Kanas: No one can explain the needs of O&P manufacturers and suppliers better than O&P manufacturers and suppliers. This committee was formed to ensure that our exhibitor partners had input in the making of ExperienceAAOP2021. We have a mix of large, midsize, and small exhibiting companies on our team. They have been vital to architectural decisions related to this year’s sponsorship and engagement opportunities. The Academy was founded on the basis of providing unbiased learning opportunities to the O&P profession. For this reason, the committee decided rather than having a virtual exhibit hall, let’s create teaching opportunities where our exhibiting partners can educate attendees about the products and services they provide. This component rounds out ExperienceAAOP2021 as the most comprehensive O&P learning event the profession will experience since the pandemic.
O&P EDGE: We are familiar with technical workshops and product display showcases; however, we see ExperienceAAOP2021 will offer Clinical Techniques. What can you tell us about that new offering?
Kanas: Clinical Techniques were offered as part of past Academy Annual Meetings where practitioners would present an in-depth lecture offering a demonstrational component. We decided to offer this teaching model to our exhibiting partners as an opportunity to blend lecture and hands-on techniques for a multidimensional learning experience.