The 12th World Congress of the International Society for Prosthetics and Orthotics (ISPO) was held July 29 to Aug. 3 in Vancouver for a group of more than 1,400 delegates. The ISPO World Congress is the premier multidisciplinary event for prosthetic and orthotic professionals. The congress gives researchers and practitioners a forum to exchange information and share the newest and most promising developments in rehabilitation medicine.
The theme of this year’s congress was “Moving Beyond Disability,” which signifies the goal of looking at a broader perspective of the overall health of people with disabilities.
At Sunday’s opening ceremonies, Edward Lemaire, PhD, chairman of the ISPO 2007 World Congress, welcomed the delegates and said the theme provides a base from which to create a varied and informative program.
“Technology has helped us improve disability,” Lemaire said. “A lot of people with disabilities are moving beyond anything we thought possible.”
Harold G. Shangali, president of ISPO, said that the meeting presents an unique opportunity for rehabilitation professionals to share experiences and expertise in the fields of education, training, service delivery and research.
This year’s keynote speakers presented issues of improving the lives of people with disabilities.
David N. Condie, CEng, FISPO, a clinical engineer from the Rehabilitation Engineering Services for the National Health Service Tayside and honorary senior lecturer in the department of orthopedic and trauma surgery of the University of Dundee in Scotland, presented the Knud Janssen lecture during the opening ceremonies. He told delegates about the advances of orthoses in materials and manufacturing, as well as the opportunities and challenges of the biomechanics of orthotic designs.
Jan Geertzen, MD, a physiatrist and a professor of rehabilitation medicine at the Centre for Rehabilitation, University Medical Centre Groningen, the Netherlands, spoke about the challenges of moving beyond disabilities. He said that 10% of the world’s population lives with various types of disability, and science should be more focused on the patients’ needs.
“Diagnosis alone cannot explain what patients can do,” he said.
Todd Kuiken, PhD, MD, director of the Neural Engineering Center for Artificial Limbs at the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago, spoke about his research on the control of prostheses, and the development of and improving upper extremity prosthetic movements using targeted muscle reinnervation techniques.
“This is not tomorrow, this is something that can be done. The technology is available today,” he told the delegates.
Yutaka Takamine, MPH, MSW was the keynote speaker on Wednesday. He spoke about moving beyond social boundaries and his work at the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific, and how to include disability issues in the activities of the region. David Constantine, co-founder and executive director of Motivation, told attendees about the charity’s work to initiate sustainable projects that enhance the quality of life for people with mobility disabilities in low-income countries. Dan Blocka, CO(C), FCBC, director and professor of prosthetic and orthotic programs at George Brown College in Toronto, spoke about moving the profession forward. He also became the new president of ISPO at the meeting.
Educational programs and special events
Among the numerous educational programs were several sessions of free papers on the management of the residual limb as well as biomechanical analysis of microprocessor knees. Additionally, there were sessions that covered the global initiative on clubfoot, orthotic stance control, and other topics that ranged from evidence-based practice in orthotics and prosthetics, to principles and practices of external powered upper extremity prostheses.
Delegates were offered the chance to take part in additional events outside of workshops, lectures and touring the exhibit hall. Among these was the reception at the Vancouver Aquarium on Monday night. Wednesday, Aug. 1 was the consumer day. The program provided practical information with workshops and health talks. The Orthotic and Prosthetic Assistance Fund also held a First Volley Adaptive Clinic. On Thursday evening, delegates attended the gala dinner reception held at the convention center.
The 13th World Congress of ISPO and the Orthopädie + Reha-Technik International Trade Show will be held May 9-15, 2010 at the Exhibition Centre in Leipzig, Germany.
– Kristine Houck, ELS
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