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If you were not at the 17th Annual National Clinical Conference of the American Professional Wound Care Association (APWCA) in Baltimore, Maryland in September, then you unfortunately missed a brilliant educational opportunity. The 3-day conference was preceded by a full-day wound certification review course comprising didactic sessions and hands-on workshops (Figure 1). These were followed by an enjoyable Emerging Leaders Reception and the APWCA Board of Directors meeting (Figure 2). To kick off the event, AWPCA President Steven J. Kavros, DPM, CWS, FACCWS, MAPWCA, welcomed the attendees and recognized the Conference Chairman, Frank Tursi, DPM, FACFAS, AAPWCA.

Figure 1 - Click to enlarge in new windowFigure 1. HANDS-ON WORKSHOPS
Figure 2 - Click to enlarge in new windowFigure 2. APWCA BOARD OF DIRECTORS

The agenda was wide ranging, and sessions were eye opening and timely. Topics included the following:


* conservative and surgical functional outcomes of diabetic limb preservation


* wound healing insights from primary care providers


* healthcare reform


* the business of wound care, including coding, compliance, and quality measures


* diagnosing and treating peripheral artery disease and chronic venous insufficiency


* wound healing challenges specific to geriatric failure to thrive


* current concepts in pressure ulcer management


* the impact of key publications from the literature


* hyperbaric highlights from the American College of Hyperbaric Medicine


* innovative technologies and the new product pipeline


* advanced wound healing techniques


* the wound care toolbox: must-have skills and resources



Once again, Jeffrey A. Niezgoda, MD, FACHM, MAPWCA, CHWS, was the moderator for two very lively and informative debates. They were Offloading Diabetic Foot Ulcers: TCC Versus CAM Walker (Greg Bohn, MD, versus Kathya Zinszer, DPM) and Oxygen Therapy: HBOT Versus Topical Oxygen (Caroline Fife, MD, versus Arnie Franklin, PhD).


Selected take-home messages from the conference include the following:


* Functional restoration, rather than just tissue preservation, must be the goal.


* Wound care delivered by teams is preferred; data support decreased rates of amputation for patients cared for by teams of providers.


* Treat the disease or wound cause and aggravating factors, not just the wound.


* The ankle-brachial index does not measure perfusion to the foot, only to the ankle.


* One of the problems in wound care is "no-name ulcers."


* Wound care is not recognized as a medical specialty, and all professional stakeholder organizations should work together to get it recognized as a subspecialty.


* Patients with peripheral arterial disease are not being diagnosed efficiently.


* Sick legs are never attached to healthy individuals!


* Postoperative wound infections may not start in the operating room or from the skin, but can originate from other sources including the patient's gastrointestinal tract or even dog saliva.


* Effective, consistent temperature monitoring can prevent diabetic foot ulcers.


* We need to think differently about biofilms; for example, consider using material science to physically destruct biofilms.


* The wound mycobiome can include fungal organisms that may also delay healing.



The APWCA also awarded Masters status to the following eight individuals (Figure 3):

Figure 3 - Click to enlarge in new windowFigure 3. MAPWCA HONOREES

* Robert Coronado, MD, MAPWCA


* Aimee Garcia, MD, MAPWCA


* Julio E. Garcia, RN, MD, MAPWCA


* Helen Gelly, MD, MAPWCA


* Tyson Green, DPM, MAPWCA


* Bret Ribotsky, DPM, MAPWCA


* Peter Sheehan, MD, MAPWCA


* Frank Tursi, DPM, MAPWCA



Oral abstract award winners included Deep Shah, BS, for studying diabetic complications in seven counties of Pennsylvania; Nikolai Sopko, PhD, for work on regenerating full-thickness hair-bearing skin with an autologous homologous skin construct; and Tomoya Sato, MD, on bacterial impairment of cell proliferation in the granulation tissue of pressure ulcers.


Throughout the conference, participants asked incisive questions and worked together to network and enhance each other's learning (Figure 4). The exhibit hall was bustling, with tasty food and beverages available to enhance the experience of interacting with company representatives and learning about interesting new products (Figure 5). We hope that everyone who took the certification examination on Sunday passed with flying colors!

Figure 4 - Click to enlarge in new windowFigure 4. ENGAGING SESSIONS
Figure 5 - Click to enlarge in new windowFigure 5. THE EXHIBIT HALL

Further, on September 15, 2018, the APWCA provided its first regional conference, held in McAllen, Texas. The inaugural meeting had more than 120 attendees and was very well received. The APWCA plans on expanding this regional approach to education moving forward in 2019, anticipating four additional venues. We encourage you to stay on the lookout for more information about regional conferences in your area, but either way, be sure to mark your calendars now for the 18th Annual National Clinical Conference in Baltimore, Maryland, September 5 to 7, 2019. We will see you there!