The Australasian Academy of Cerebral Palsy and Developmental Medicine (AusACPDM) hosts a multi-disciplinary conference every two years, and in March earlier this year Perth played host to the 10th meeting of the Academy. The theme was ‘2020 Visionaries’ and more than 500 researchers, clinicians and people with a disability attended the meeting from the 11-14th March, just before the current COVID-19 restrictions came into force.
The Conference is one of the premier disability meetings for all aspects of cerebral palsy and developmental medicine, and was opened by Jordan Steele-John, a young and dynamic West Australian Senator who also lives with cerebral palsy. The meeting included pre-conference workshops on topics such as paediatric robotic interventions and meaningful co-design and co-involvement, with conference streams covering areas such as orthopaedics, brain imaging advances and epidemiology. The Conference featured multiple international keynote speakers (some who had to ‘Zoom’ in as their European countries were in lockdown) as well as local experts from around Australia and New Zealand.
Each Conference the Board of the Academy awards 2 members who recently completed their PhDs in the field with the biennial ‘PhD Platform Award’. This Award is a prestigious and competitive honour and involves the awardee attending the Conference to present their PhD research as a keynote address.
The MDRI’s Dr David Hobbs was one of the recipients of the Award this year, and delivered his keynote entitled “Can a Novel ‘Serious Gaming’ Technology Improve Upper Limb Sensation and Function in Children with Cerebral Palsy? A Population-based Cohort Study and Pilot Randomised Controlled Trial”. David was awarded his PhD in December 2018 and was supervised by Prof Karen Reynolds, Prof Susan Hillier (UniSA) and A/Prof Ray Russo (a former Academy ‘PhD Platform Award’ himself in 2012!).
Each keynote speaker was asked for their ‘vision’ for the future, and David’s vision was “for a global collaborative, connected and equitable sector that harnesses the power of inter-disciplinary expertise to deliver meaningful and affordable devices to improve the lives of people living with impairment”.
Among the highlights of the meeting was the much-anticipated Conference Gala Dinner, which was masquerade themed this year. Everyone dressed up and got into the spirit of the evening, enthusiastically enjoying one of the key social events of the conference.
Congratulations on this important Award and the recognition of your work David!