1. Salcido, Richard "Sal" MD

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The American Professional Wound Care Association (APWCA) is approaching a decade of action-oriented proactivity and sustained advancement in wound care. Moreover, its base annual conference, first held in 2002 and the branches that have evolved from that initial conference, attest to the American entrepreneurial sprit. The association will host "APWCA2010 National Clinical Conference, Wound Care and the Related Sciences" on April 8-11, 2010, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

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The APWCA was initially incorporated in 2001 and began its membership enrollment in April 2001. Its founder is Steven R. Kravitz, DPM, FAPWCA, FACFAS, a podiatrist and a member of the faculty of Temple University School of Podiatric Medicine, in Philadelphia. His experiences in wound care and organized medicine are exemplified by his numerous and indefatigable activities centered on the education and care of patients, and by advancing the technical and professional competency of wound care practitioners at the regional, national, and now, at the international level.


Dr Kravitz had observed the lack of a wound care association that was a completely independent organization and directly multidisciplinary. The APWCA was developed to be a membership-driven organization not related to any corporate entity. Its goal was to incorporate and capitalize on the transprofessional synergies involved in wound care and bring them together for educational purposes, networking, representation to the payer, and maintaining professional standards though credentialing and certification. The APWCA is a "professional organization" in that all its members are licensed healthcare providers. The various programs emanating from the base program have proliferated to the provision of accredited educational programs focusing on the wound continuum of care. The APWCA's membership base is predominately physicians. To date, more than 3000 professionals have joined the association and the current active membership is approximately 2600; 75% of which are physicians and 60% of that group is podiatric physicians. The APWCA also has formed a House of Delegates that is divided into 4 regional areas throughout the country so that each region's insurance concerns and other practice-based issues can be addressed on a more local level when needed.


The APWCA is a categorical organization in that by design it designates membership categories in a similar manner to the American College of Surgeons. Currently the requirements for the designations are as follows:


* Master: This is provided to a select few world opinion leaders who have authored many articles, and, in other matters, have significant impact on the field of wound care.


* Fellow, Diplomate, or Associate: These designations are available to general wound care providers.



Specific information regarding these designations can be found on the association's Web site (


The association produces and manages all of its educational programs. Its national clinical conference is completely orchestrated by its members, their various internal committees, and the larger organization. It is not affiliated with a specific corporate entity, as are some national meetings in wound care. The APWCA has developed a reputation for producing high-quality, balanced educational programs, while implementing educational continuous quality improvement as an important aspect of the association's educational directives. The annual conference continues to grow and last year hosted more than 700 attendees. Highlights included a full-scale exhibit hall with more than 70 exhibits, poster abstracts, oral abstracts, general lecture sessions, break-out sessions, and courses on business management.


In addition to the national conference, the APWCA holds multiple regional meetings that are either run solely by association, or conjointly with other organizations. These regional meetings are both domestic and international. One such seminar was jointly organized in Munich, Germany, in October 2009 and another is planned for London, England, in October 2010.


The APWCA Web site provides an archive of past conference abstracts, with summaries of each abstract that has been accepted for presentation. This program was initiated in 2007. The APWCA also offers a white paper on establishing and maintaining a viable wound care practice or center. This short outline format is available to all healthcare providers on the Web site.


The APWCA's gap analysis identified a lack of a specific certification for physicians providing wound care, similar to nurses and the wound, ostomy, and continence nurse certification. Physicians could be certified by only multidisciplinary organizations. It was determined that a viable and time-honored method to develop a physician-specific certification examination in conjunction with physician-specific activities in continuing medical education would fulfill a need. The American College of Hyperbaric Medicine shared this concern and the 2 groups formed a joint committee to develop the new suborganization, The Council for Medical Education and Testing (CMET). The CMET administers a physician-specific examination for ensuring the base competency, cognitive, professional, and lifelong learning of a physician as wound care provider. The council began certifying physicians in January 2009, and the examination is open to all prescribing physicians (MD, DO, DPM). Practitioners who successfully complete the process are granted certificates are able to reference themselves as "Physician Certified in Wound Care-CMET." The ultimate goal of the CMET is to help initiate specialty recognition and uniform practice competency and maintenance of certification in wound care for practicing physicians.


Since its inception, the APWCA has become one of the largest, most recognized, and respected organizations in wound care. In the past year, it has developed increased international interest and it is expected that this aspect will grow and develop further. One example of these efforts is the organization's sponsoring of 70 volunteers to provide medical services for Haiti, following that country's recent devastation. Haiti Relief Efforts are detailed on the APWCA's Web site.


With a growing active membership base, Dr Kravitz believes the APWCA is still at its beginning stages and looks to the future day that the association's membership will reach 10,000. A larger membership base provides enhanced financial security, increased opportunities for educational programming, and much more.


Richard "Sal" Salcido, MD

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