1. Ayello, Elizabeth A. PhD, RN, ACNS-BC, CWON, ETN, MAPWCA, FAAN

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Almost 400 healthcare professionals gathered in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, to attend the 16th annual National Clinical Conference of the American Professional Wound Care Association (APWCA), Thursday, September 7, to Saturday, September 9, 2017. Conference cochairs, Dr Barbara Delmore, PhD, RN, CWCN, MAPWCA, IIWCC-NYU, and Dr Kathya Zinszer, DPM, MPH, MAPWCA (Figure 1), organized the conference and envisioned the conference's theme, "Doing the Right Thing," as an interactive, interdisciplinary learning opportunity.

Figure 1 - Click to enlarge in new windowFigure 1. APWCA CONFERENCE COCHAIRSLeft to right, Dr Zinszer and Dr Delmore.

After the all-day preconference certification review course on Thursday, attendees were able to rotate through a series of 8 hands-on workshops on total contact casting, cellular- and tissue-based products, advances in wound care dressings, and negative-pressure wound therapy.


On Friday, APWCA President Steven J. Kavros, DPM, MAPWCA, FACCWS, CWS, formally began the conference and challenged attendees to change the current mind-set around wound care and set the stage for a very engaging and thought-provoking keynote address by Dr Nicholas Mezacapa.


The vice president of APWCA, Jeffrey A. Niezgoda, MD, FACHM, MAPWCA, CHWS, moderated a session about maximizing outcomes by working together, posing the question: "How many disciplines does it take to manage arterial wounds?" Other sections of the conference addressed team approaches to venous disease that go beyond compression therapy, diabetic foot ulcerations and the importance of working together for a functional outcome in today's environment, cellular- and tissue-based products and grafts, biofilms and wound bed preparation, geriatric wound science, and looking ahead to new perspectives in wound healing. The case-based presentation approach used in these sessions enhanced the interactive learning and application of the session knowledge into everyday clinical practice.


Two organizations with a special relationship with the APWCA also had dedicated sessions. This included the Wound Healing Society's sessions on wound healing science from bench to bedside and the American College of Hyperbaric Medicine's section on hyperbaric oxygen therapy and wounds.


The highly anticipated "Great Debates" in wound healing did not disappoint. In a lively back and forth, Caroline E. Fife, MD, advocated for maintaining and upholding the use of the term pressure ulcer, while Joyce Black, PhD, RN, tried to convince attendees that the new term, pressure injury, was more appropriate and a forward-thinking alternative (Figure 2). This was followed by the second debate, entitled MMP Scavengers, with Greg Bohn, MD, presenting on collagen extracellular matrices for wound healing, and Breda Cullen, PhD, championing collagen/oxidized regenerated cellulose matrices (Figure 3).

Figure 2 - Click to enlarge in new windowFigure 2. THE GREAT DEBATES: PRESSURE INJURY OR ULCER?Left to right, Dr Black and Dr Fife.
Figure 3 - Click to enlarge in new windowFigure 3. THE GREAT DEBATES: MMP SCAVENGERSLeft to right, Dr Cullen and Dr Bohn.

The APWCA bestowed its highest honor, master status (MAPWCA), on 7 individuals: Laura F. Jacobs, MD, PhD, CWS, MAPWCA (posthumously, accepted by her husband Avrom); Stephen H. Sprigle, PhD, PT, MAPWCA; E. Cuauhtemoc Sanchez, MD, MSc, MPH, MAPWCA; Tyler Sexton, MD, CHWS, CHT, DMT, MAPWCA; Randall G. Cook, MD, FACS, MAPWCA; Charles A. Andersen, MD, FACS, MAPWCA; and Cheryl M. Bongiovanni, PhD, RVT, CWS, FASA, FACCWS, MAPWCA (Figure 4).

Figure 4 - Click to enlarge in new windowFigure 4. 2017 APWCA MASTERS AWARDEESLeft to right, Steven J. Kavros, APWCA president; E. Cuauhtemoc Sanchez, MD; Cheryl M. Bongiovanni, PhD; Charles A. Anderson, MD; Tyler Sexton, MD; Randall G. Cook, MD; Stephen H. Sprigle, PhD, PT; and Jeffrey A. Niezgoda, MD, APWCA vice president.

Jeffrey A. Niezgoda announced that this year's recipient of the American College of Hyperbaric Medicine's Eric P. Kindwall Award of Excellence in Clinical Hyperbaric Medicine went to Dr Helen Gelly. This award is given in recognition of those professionals who have demonstrated a career-long commitment to hyperbaric medicine through excellence in education, application of therapy, teaching, research, forward thinking, and leadership.


Ms Allene Creacy, a true visionary in the field of hyperbaric medicine, received this year's American College of Hyperbaric Medicine's Visionary Award, now posthumously named in honor of previous recipient Ken Locklear. Through her tenacity, 20 years ago Ms Creacy secured hyperbaric oxygen treatments for her husband Bill after medical professionals gave him no hope for recovery, enabling him to continue to participate in life's daily activities to this very day.


Audience participation was an important part of this annual conference and enhanced the learning. The exhibit hall gave participants the opportunity to interact with company representatives and learn more about their products. The food and beverages during this conference were abundant and excellent. On Sunday, several healthcare professionals took the certification examination-and I hope they did well!


Mark your calendars now for the 17th annual National Clinical Conference, September 6 to 8, 2018, in Baltimore, Maryland.