10th Australasian Lymphology Association Conference

10th Australasian Lymphology Association Conference
3-5 April 2014, Auckland

Deb Hurt writes about the Conference, the first time it has been held outside of Australia.
(Posted 1 May 2014) 

ALA 2014 final logo with www - CopyThe 10th Australasian Lymphology Conference held in Auckland from 3-5 April was a very successful, well attended event, and the first time the conference has been held outside Australia. There were 264 delegates mostly from Australia and New Zealand, with 50 of them being from New Zealand. This was the most delegates ever and a great opportunity for New Zealand therapists to gain knowledge and meet each other.

The conference opened with a powhiri from the local iwi and the New Zealand organisers in good voice for the waiata. This impressed visiting delegates and set the stage for an exciting three days of learning and sharing knowledge.

The keynote speakers were Dr Hiroo Suami and Dr Margie McNeely. Dr Suami is from the MD Anderson Cancer Centre in Texas and specialises in microsurgery and is doing research into lymphatic anatomy. He presented on the lymphosome concept and also a current overview of surgical treatment of lymphoedema. Dr Margie McNeely is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Physical Therapy at the University of Alberta whose research interests are in the area of cancer rehabilitation and exercise. Dr McNeely presented on implementing a supported community and home based exercise program for women with breast cancer related lymphoedema and findings on a study of the feasibility of night-time compression. We were also fortunate to have invited speakers from the UK and Australia, all experts in their field speaking on a variety of topics.

The first day ended with opening drinks in the exhibition area which was well attended and an opportunity for exhibitors and delegates to meet in a social setting.

The trade displays were impressive in the exhibition area, which was spacious and allowed delegates to see new products and also network over the breaks in session time. The breakfast sessions offered by Haddenham and Smith & Nephew were well attended, and had a waiting list so this is encouraging for companies wanting to promote the latest products.

This year there were 32 poster presentations on varied and interesting topics, so input from therapists is growing and we are all able to share knowledge. Each day there were workshops which offered practical skills in a variety of areas from medical taping and aquatic exercise to how to do a research project.

Friday night was the conference dinner which has always been the social highlight of the conference. I am pleased to say that we had an outstanding evening. The dinner was at the Auckland Museum and began with drinks in the original entry foyer, then a walk through the early New Zealand history exhibit to the other end of the building and up to the function area. This area has outstanding views across the city and luckily we had fabulous weather for guests to appreciate our wonderful city. Guests were then treated to some cultural entertainment from the museum Maori performance group who finished with a stirring haka. We enjoyed fabulous food, ALA Awards and dancing into the night.

Saturday was a busy day with the Consumer/Public sessions running alongside the main programme. This was an opportunity for the 86 consumer delegates to listen to presentations from keynote and invited speakers, have some of their questions answered by a panel of experts and gain knowledge.

There was a chance for delegates to see all of the products available and speak to trade staff in the exhibition area during the lunch break. This was also supported by display tables by The Breast Cancer Foundation, Sweet Louise and The Lymphoedema Support Network who had information available for the public.

The conference ended with a Cook Island dance and drumming performance reflecting our local pacific island culture and delegates reflecting on an enjoyable and informative event.

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