The Amputee Coalition of America (ACA) held its 2008 Annual Conference from June 19-22 at the Renaissance Waverly Hotel in Atlanta. According to Paddy Rossbach, RN, president and chief executive officer of the ACA, more than 840 people from 41 states registered for the conference, with more than 260 people attending for the first time.
This year’s conference provided attendees with information regarding all aspects of amputee life – from accepting amputation and learning to fall correctly, to finding a specialist and getting proper health care coverage.
The opening ceremony kicked off with several light-hearted speeches from Patricia Isenberg, MS, ACA’s chief operating officer, and David McGill, Esq., chair of ACA’s board of directors. Rossbach officially opened the conference with genuine emotion about the effect the ACA has had on some of the children over the years. McGill and Rossbach also highlighted the vast technological and legislative advancements the profession has made during the past year.
The conference featured several workshops like gait analysis and other technology sessions, which were held by a number of the 68 exhibitors in attendance. At Otto Bock HealthCare’s Bilateral Lower-Extremity Mobility Workshop, Kevin Carroll, MS, CP, FAAOP, vice president of prosthetics for Hanger Prosthetics & Orthotics, presented amputees with the keys to bilateral transfemoral success. Heath Calhoun and Cameron Clapp, among others, shared their stories of prosthetic success with the group.
For the first time, the ACA offered a track of sessions specifically designed for upper extremity amputees. Sessions like “How to Find an Upper-Extremity Specialist,” “Role of the Occupational Therapist in Upper Extremity Rehabilitation,” and “Coping With Upper Extremity Amputation” brought together the upper extremity amputees in attendance to address specific issues, share resources and obtain useful information to aid in recovery and throughout daily life.
The 18 families who attended this year’s event were treated to a number of youth and parenting sessions, sports and recreational sessions, and several support groups. Also, the ACA offered various educational options for amputees with “Upper-Extremity Adapted Sports” and “Traveling After Limb Loss,” as well as “Treatment of Phantom Pain” and “Options for Managing Chronic Pain.”
State and federal parity sessions updated attendees on the current status of prosthetic parity, and presented various ways for people to get involved with the cause. Morgan Sheets, ACA’s national advocacy director, urged attendees to contact members of Congress and the House of Representatives from their districts, which sparked a good deal of conversation among attendees.
Special events at the conference included various dance sessions, a 1-mile fun “walk/roll,” and First Swim and First Volley sessions. In ACA fashion, conference attendees were treated to a Tropical Dinner and Luau on Saturday night.
The 2009 ACA Annual Conference also will be held in Atlanta at the Renaissance Waverly Hotel, from June 18 through June 21.
– Stephanie Z. Pavlou, MA
Editor’s note: To faciliate bringing news to readers rapidly, for meeting wrap-up articles, O&P Business News departs from its editorial policy and typically does not send these items out for source corrections.