Academy Hosts 33rd Annual Meeting and Scientific Symposium in San Francisco

Academy Hosts 33rd Annual Meeting and Scientific Symposium in San Francisco

San FranciscoThe 33rd Annual Meeting and Scientific Symposium of the American Academy of Orthotists and Prosthetists was held March 21-24 in San Francisco to a group of nearly 1,500 participants. The Academy unveiled the new video “Make a Career of Making a Difference” at the opening session on Thursday morning, kicking off several days of clinical, instructional and technical workshops helping the practitioners to keep in mind that their work truly makes a difference.

“We have been working hard over the past few years to continuously raise the scientific quality of our education sessions and from all the comments I received I know we have succeeded,” said Gary Berke, MS, CP, president of the Academy. “But we will continue to make sure that those who attend our annual meetings will get only the highest quality education.”

Thranhardt lectures

Both of this year’s Thranhardt lectures presented concerned topical issues of both traditional and advanced technologies.

The first lecture presented by Michelle J. Hall, CPO, FAAOP discussed “Dermatological Problems with Prosthetic Roll-on Liners.” Hall’s research of transtibial amputees uncovered that 90% of subjects reported some type of skin problem associated with liner use and 78% of subjects presented with a dermatological problem during exam.

Demonstration of company products at meeting
Meeting attendees could watch demonstrations about company products.
Image: Kristine Houck

Mark D. Geil, PhD presented on the “Comparison of Measurements of Residual Limb Shape Using CAD versus Conventional Devices.” Geil asked the question – is there utility in digital shape capture alone? Following the course of his study, Geil concluded that digital shape capture is an efficient means of measurement recording even if computer-aided fabrication is not intended.

Educational programs

The Thranhardt lectures marked the beginning of 3 days filled with educational programming. Among them were several sessions of free papers on lower limb orthotics and prosthetics as well as upper limb prosthetics with topics including: “New Post Amputative Treatment Options” presented by Alistair Gibson, CPO; “Prosthetic Knee Joints: Understanding Design and Function” presented by Kevin Carroll, MS, CP, FAAOP; “Turning During Activities of Daily Living” presented by Brian C. Glaister, MS.

“An interesting and important session was the CMS panel where six of the 10 organizations deemed by Medicare to accredit O&P facilities described their programs,” Berke said. “It was clear to the attendees that ABC was going to do the most comprehensive accreditation and it was most applicable to our current expectations. We were all pleased when representatives of CARF and JACHO were supportive of raising provider credentials.”

Additionally, there were sessions that covered the business-end of the profession including topics that ranged from internal controls, planning for the future of a business, and ways to be more profitable in the industry.

“Evidence Based Practice: Justifying Patient Care”, presented by Geil and Brian J. Hafner, PhD was of particular interest as the field begins to look into new possibilities within the realm of evidence based care.

Darren Donnelly, CO, Elizabeth Mansfield and Jerry Schoendorf
OPAF members pictured from left are Darren Donnelly, CO, Elizabeth Mansfield and Jerry Schoendorf.
Image: Elizabeth Mansfield

“If we, as a profession, are going to embrace evidence based practice, we need to know how to evaluate good from bad research and this program did exactly that,” Berke told O&P Business News. “We are putting together a complete research education program as part of our certificate program and soon on our online learning center. The Academy Board of Directors is truly dedicated to bringing research and research education to the practitioner to enable them to justify and enhance the care they give to their patients.”

Recognition of successes

This year’s Titus Ferguson Award went to William W. Schumann, CPO in recognition of his accomplishments that have made an impact on the growth and development of the O&P profession. Schumann has served as both Academy and New England chapter president in the past and currently works part-time at Northeast O&P in Rhode Island.

Thomas V. DiBello, CO, FAAOP was awarded the Distinguished Practitioner Award for his leadership and dedication to the profession. He is the owner and chief executive officer of Dynamic Orthotics and Prosthetics, LLC in Houston.

The Mohamed Amid Award for Humanitarian Service was given to David J. Krupa, CP, in recognition of his efforts in founding the Range of Motion Project (ROMP), a Guatemalan-based organization which aims to help underserved amputees. Since, ROMP’s foundation, Krupa has moved to Guatemala to oversee the organization and run an open clinic five days a week.

Other awards included: Clinical Creativity given to Wayne A. Koniuk, CP and the Research Award which was dually granted to Douglas G. Smith, MD and John W. Michael, MEd, CPO/L, FISPO, FAAOP.

Michael Burton, president of OPAF, welcomes First Bid attendees Brad Mattear served as the event’s auctioneer G. Henry Lambert, CPO (left) and W. Clint Snell, CPO (right) walk the exhibit hall
Michael Burton, president of OPAF, welcomes First Bid attendees. Brad Mattear, general manager of O&P1, served as the event’s auctioneer. G. Henry Lambert, CPO (left) and W. Clint Snell, CPO (right) walk the exhibit hall.
Image: Jennifer Hoydicz Image: Jennifer Hoydicz Image: Kristine Houck

Special events

Attendees were offered the chance to take part in additional events outside of workshops, lectures and touring the exhibit hall. Among these was the exceedingly successful Orthotic and Prosthetic Assistance Fund (OPAF) First Bid which raised over $20,000 for the fund through the silent and live auctions.

“This is the largest single fundraising event ever for OPAF,” said Robin Burton, OPAF executive director. “To have this type of support and affirmation is such a shot in the arm for the official philanthropy of the U.S. O&P community.”

On Friday night, hopeful participants competed in a poker tournament to benefit the Barr Foundation.

The 2008 Academy meeting will take place in Orlando, Fla. from Feb. 27 to March 1.

— Jennifer Hoydicz

Disabled Sports USA and Wounded Warrior Project Announce 2007 Sports Project Schedule

Service members severely wounded in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan will participate in a year-long program of sport rehabilitation offered by Disabled Sports USA (DS/USA), its chapters and the Wounded Warrior Project. This year’s Wounded Warrior Disabled Sports Project will include a series of activities, including more than 60 clinics in alpine and Nordic skiing, snowboarding, cycling, golf, outrigger canoeing, kayaking, scuba, rock climbing, camping, water skiing, wakeboarding, track and field and other sports.

In addition to basic instruction, advanced-level training and competitions are also offered to help the Wounded Warriors to remain active throughout their lives. Several wounded warriors have been certified as ski instructors and scuba divers, and some are training to be Paralympians as a result of the programs. Many have become active in local DS/USA chapter activities, once they return to civilian life.

The 2007 sporting events scheduled include:

  • May 9-15 – Lewis and Clark Expedition (Fly Fishing/Camping Trip), Smith River, Mont.
  • June 7-10 – The Endeavor Games, Edmond, Okla.
  • July 19-21 – O&P Extremity Games by College Park, Orlando, Fla.
  • Aug. 11-18 – Bonaire SCUBA Trip, Bonaire (Dutch Caribbean)
  • Sept. 14-16 – Rochester River Challenge Canoe Race, Rochester, N.Y.

For more information and a complete listing of scheduled events, call (301) 217-9840 or visit the Web site at

Disabled Sports USA provides all sports programs free of charge for severely wounded service members and their families. This includes costs for transportation, special adaptive sports equipment, training from qualified instructors, lodging, meals and other costs.

“These brave service members, who have sacrificed greatly for this nation, deserve every opportunity to participate in sport programs early in their rehabilitation as a way to rebuild their lives and help them achieve top-level performance,” said Kirk Bauer, executive director of DS/USA and a disabled Vietnam veteran. “Participating in sport is an effective way to show them they can still lead an active and productive life.”

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