The 2011 AOTA Conference was a blast—but it also gave me many take-aways. I would like to share them with you:
1. When Shonda Schilling, Conference Keynote, confessed that she was a bit nervous about giving her address, Curt Schilling, the famous baseball player and her husband, said, “Go big or go home!” What a quote—that’s what we all have to do!
2. In Dr. Ottenbacher’s plenary address on evidence-based medicine, I learned that in 2002 there were 1.24 million evidence-based medicine websites and in 2011 there are 13.6 million! Evidence-based medicine seems to be exponentially on the rise.
3. From the plenary address, I also learned that it was reported in The Lancet (2003) that 30-45% of patients were not receiving evidence-based care and that 20-25% of the care received was either not needed or potentially harmful.
4. From Dr. Betty Abreu’s Eleanor Clarke Slagle lecture, I was reminded that it is possible to describe in words the key elements of the therapeutic relationship, such as empathy, that significantly impact outcomes. It was truly a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to be able to hear such a scintillating lecture from one of our foremost master clinicians.
5. As a guest at the military-related ReseArch Development to Advance Rehabilitation, Reintegration, Resilience (RADAR3) meeting, I learned about the exciting projects that are being planned to demonstrate the value of occupational therapy in meeting the needs of our wounded warriors. I was surprised and delighted to learn about the considerable momentum the group sitting around the table has created toward the accomplishment of their well-thought-out research plan.
6. At the AOTF Dancing with the Stars Gala, I was reminded that I’d better get back to dance lessons with my husband John. This year’s competitors were beyond belief wonderful and I want to keep up with them. What a great occupation dancing is—it keeps you happy, physically strong, and healthy in so many ways. A great workout laden with meaning, music, and marvel.
7. From everywhere at the conference, I felt the unbridled enthusiasm of the students. And percentage wise, more students than ever were conference attendees—and this critical mass gave a special luster to every meeting, every reception, and every party. I foresee that each and every one of these emerging practitioners will attend every future AOTA conference and be there to celebrate the attainment of our Centennial Vision.
8. From the AOTPAC reception, I discovered a new aspect of myself—one that loves karaoke.
9. At the Program Directors’ meeting, I was so impressed with the caliber of our academic leadership and I remain so grateful to them for the wonderful work they are doing in educating and professionalizing our students.
10. And, finally, at the Representative Assembly I learned that despite differing opinions, occupational therapy practitioners continuously rise to the occasion by engaging in healthy and respectful debate—it is what opens us up, it is what changes us, and it is one of the key ingredients of an exciting lived experience.
The 2011 Annual Conference was certainly an exciting experience! Please share your take-aways with me.
For me, I have several.
1. Meeting up friends from Student Conclave... as well as those I have become friends on Facebook, but not in person yet. It was a great experience because I can finally get to know some of these people better.
2. Autism posters and presentations... I enjoyed sharing my two cents with the presenters.
3. Keynote address... AOTA couldn't have found a better keynote speaker! I almost cried as I heard her speak... because it hits so close to home to me.
4. Student Unconference... it was a wonderful experience. It's a wonderful opportunity to mingle and have fun with students.
5. Your presidential address... it was sure as good as advertised. I think a lot of students and practitioners come out being inspired.
6. To complete the trip, I also got to visit my local friend's church before I headed back to LA. It completed my trip because we had planned to meet each other ever since I knew AOTA was going to be in Philadelphia.
That's all I have.