AOPA Assembly Draws Many to Canada

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The American Orthotic and Prosthetic Association (AOPA) chose Vancouver, British Columbia's water, blue skies, and snow-capped mountains for the backdrop of its 101st annual National Assembly, September 26-29. More than a thousand exhibitors and attendees came from over 20 countries.

Since it was AOPA's first National Assembly of its second century, an original performance by MUSQUEAM, "People of the River Grass" made for an ideal opening to the exhibit hall. The Musqueam people have lived in Vancouver for thousands of years.

The morning session on September 27 featured keynote speaker Tobie Hatfield, senior director of athlete innovation for Nike, and the Thranhardt lecture series. The annual membership meeting was held September 28, where AOPA presented its Lifetime Achievement Award posthumously to C. Michael Schuch, CPO, FAAOP, FISPO. Barbara Schuch accepted the award on behalf of her husband, who passed away in June 2015.

Saturday, September 29, included a keynote address by Mike Schultz, two-time Paralympic medalist, followed by a summation of Orthotics 2020, Defending the Future of Orthotic Care, by Tom Fise, JD, and Nicholas LeCursi, CO.

The Orthotic and Prosthetic Group of America (OPGA) named Karen Edwards the 2018 O&P Woman of the Year during its member and supplier reception at the assembly. Edwards is director of the Össur Women's Leadership Initiative and a senior area manager with Össur in Arizona and Utah. She has been in the O&P profession for more than 12 years. "I am honored and thrilled to win this award," Edwards said. "This award validates that advocating for women and gender equality is meaningful and important to all of us…."

In addition to demonstrations and educational presentations with new products on display, a host of special events took place in the exhibit hall, such as the Slap Shot Hockey Game, sponsored by ALPS, with prizes up to $100, and the annual Technical Fabrication Contest with 12 winners earning a total of $4,200. The Party with a Purpose fundraiser for AOPA's government relations efforts brought in over $30,000.

The 2019 AOPA National Assembly will be held September 25-28 in San Diego. 

Editor's note: This story was adapted from materials provided by AOPA.