AOPA 2014 National Assembly: Viva O&P

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By Andrea Spridgen
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The 2014 American Orthotic and Prosthetic Association (AOPA) National Assembly, held September 4-7 in Las Vegas, Nevada, officially kicked off that Thursday evening with the exhibit hall opening ceremony and ribbon cutting as Anita Liberman- Lampear, MA, AOPA president, addressed the assembled visitors. The more than 2,200 attendees were treated to a Viva Las Vegas-themed welcome reception where they had their first opportunity to visit the 160 exhibitor booths at this year's assembly.

Friday morning's program featured a keynote presentation by Adrianne Haslet- Davis, a former professional ballroom dancer who underwent a transtibial amputation of her left leg as a result of injuries she sustained in the Boston Marathon bombing. She was able to begin dancing again last March with a prosthesis invented by Hugh Herr, PhD. She shared her story of recovery and expressed gratitude for the work of the O&P community. Immediately following the keynote presentation was the Thranhardt Lecture Series with a special introduction by Ted Thranhardt, CPO(E), son of the series' namesake, Howard R. Thranhardt, CP. He provided audience members with history about his father's support of O&P education, including the first formal prosthetics education programs in the early 1950s and the key role he played in the formation of what is now known as the American Board for Certification in Orthotics, Prosthetics and Pedorthics (ABC). This year's winners of the award that honors Thranhardt's legacy by recognizing commitment to O&P research and education were Nicoleta Bugnariu, PT, PhD, for her presentation, "Functional Performance and Evaluation of Dynamic Response Feet," and Andreas Hahn, PhD, MSc, for "Evaluation of 1,200+ C-Leg Test Fittings in Germany."

The AOPA Membership Meeting and Awards Ceremony were held Saturday morning, during which newly elected officers were announced and an overview of the "Mobility Saves Lives and Money" presentation was shared. Karl Fillauer, CPO, FAAOP, was honored during this session with the Lifetime Achievement Award. In accepting his award, Fillauer stressed that the success of the 100-year-old company was a team effort. James Kaiser, CP/L, was recognized with the Ralph R. "Ronney" Snell, CPO, FAAOP, Legislative Advocacy Award, which was accepted on his behalf by his colleague Michael Oros, CPO/L, FAAOP. The Hamontree business lecture series was also held on Saturday, with Mike Mallaro, CFO, CPA, winning the Sam E. Hamontree, CP, Business Education Award for his presentation, "Build a Stronger Business: Megatrends Impacting Your O&P Practice and What You Need to Do Now to Optimize Your Business."

Off-site, Amplitude Media Group (AMG) staff members arranged a small group activity: The television show Pawn Stars donated a tour of its location, a meeting with the stars, and a viewing of a portion of an episode's taping. While AMG is a relatively new company, in the spirit of "paying it forward" AMG donated $1,000 to the Orthotic and Prosthetic Assistance Fund (OPAF). These activities also celebrated the preview issue of Amplitude magazine, which was available at the AOPA Assembly.

AMG staffers and guests had the chance to meet personalities from the television show Pawn Stars, including Rick Harrison (fifth from the right).

Other notable events included the third annual Technical Fabrication Contest, with Nicole Gibson from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, taking top honors; the Thranhardt Golf Classic; the seventh annual Wine Tasting and Fundraiser; and the Exhibit Hall Closing Extravaganza and $5,000 Cash Giveaway, with Erin Cammarata of CBS Billing & Consulting, Hampton Falls, New Hampshire, as the winner. In addition, several organizations celebrated milestones: United Prosthetics, Dorchester, Massachusetts, and Fillauer Companies, Chattanooga, Tennessee, celebrated 100 years in business; Achilles Prosthetics and Orthotics, headquartered in Bakersfield, California, celebrated 35 years in business; Jonesboro Prosthetic & Orthotic Laboratory, headquartered in Jonesboro, Arkansas, celebrated 25 years in business; Ottobock, Austin, Texas, celebrated the 15th anniversary of the U.S. introduction of the C-Leg; and Ability P&O, headquartered in Exeter, Pennsylvania, celebrated ten years in business. OPIE Software, Gainesville, Florida, also announced its merger with Futura International, Clearwater, Florida, under its corporate umbrella and celebrated with a special event in the exhibit hall.

The 2015 AOPA National Assembly is scheduled for October 7-10 in San Antonio, Texas.