Uniting Frontiers: The Future Is in Your Hands. Sow and Grow!

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Perdomo welcomes conference attendees as he moderates the opening ceremonies. Photograph by Phil Stevens.

For the sixth time in ten years, a coalition of International Society for Prosthetics and Orthotics (ISPO) chapters from Mexico, the Caribbean, and Central and South America, further supported by the U.S. National Member Society of ISPO (US ISPO), convened for the Uniting Frontiers Forum. Speakers from the United States, Ecuador, Guatemala, Panama, Argentina, El Salvador, Columbia, Puerto Rico, Dominican Republic, and Brazil converged upon Quito, Ecuador, for the fourday event, held October 19-22.

The opening ceremonies, hosted by Esteban Perdomo Guerra, MD, an orthopedic surgeon and treasurer of ISPO Panama, reminded attendees of the meeting's theme, "El Futuro Esta en tus Manos. Siembra y Cultiva!" Or, "The Future Is in Your Hands. Sow and Grow!"

Following his welcoming remarks, Perdomo reviewed the successes of the Uniting Frontiers, dating back to the initial forum, held in Guatemala in 2005. He then encouraged the new generation of Latin American practitioners to seek involvement within their local ISPO chapters and Uniting Frontiers in the collective effort to create and maintain O&P educational opportunities in Latin America.

Keynote speakers included John Bowker, MD, professor emeritus of orthopedics and rehabilitation from the University of Miami, Florida, who spoke about the diagnosis and treatment of Charcot foot; and Gisela M. Nieto, PT, from Panama, who advocated a more complete, holistic consideration of the challenges associated with independent living for people with disabilities. The last speaker was David Sickles, CPO, CPed, from the United States, who addressed the importance of utilizing a clinic-based team approach in the provision of O&P services.

These presentations were followed by a panel discussion on the development of a humanitarian code of conduct as it pertains to O&P services in Latin America. The discussion, introduced and moderated by US ISPO President Jon Batzdorff, CPO, included remarks from panel members Nieto; Rosie Jovane, an orthotist/prosthetist, a member of the ISPO executive board, and a member of ISPO Panama; and Favio Montane, president of ISPO Argentina.

-Phil Stevens