As I boarded the Megabus in downtown Indianapolis and headed to Chicago to attend the 2012 Combined Sections Meeting (CSM), I reminisced that this time last year, the Blizzard of 2011 hit Chicago and left many people and cars abandoned and stranded on Lake Shore Drive. I was sure hoping the weather would be mild during CSM between the dates of Wednesday, Feb. 8 - Saturday, Feb. 11, 2012. The ride was thoroughly delightful, napping a bit, browsing the internet, and taking in the sites of the wind farms in northern Indiana. Upon arriving at Union Station, downtown Chicago, it was quite a walk in the brisk Chicago wind, to the Hard Rock Hotel. The check-in was interesting, as it was a challenge to hear what the receptionist was saying over the loud rock and roll music playing in the lobby. It was then time to take the hike down Michigan Ave to the Hilton where on-site registration was taking place. The hotel lobby was all-a-buzz with many familiar faces and old friends to catch up with. The shuttles were running full-force from the hotels on Michigan Ave to the McCormick Place Convention Center, several miles away. The convention center was enormous, and the Chicago Automobile Show was going on at the same location as the APTA conference.
There were more physical therapy professionals than I had ever seen at the numerous CSM meetings I have attended in the past. I later found out that this was the largest Combined Sections Meeting in the history of the conference. There were over 10,000 physical therapist professionals in attendance. Wow! There was, as there always is, a variety of programming including: educational sessions, poster presentations, platform presentations, and special lectureships. The Exhibit Hall is always a fun place to visit, as well. If you are lucky enough to be there at the right time, they serve snacks and drinks. Krannert School of Physical Therapy always has a booth in the exhibit hall, and it not only serves to market our postprofessional program, but serves as a great meeting place to see current students, as well as alumni.
I have always been inquisitive about how and why the APTA sponsors 2 large meetings per year. It is my understanding that CSM is a meeting in which the programming is dedicated to the 18 special interest sections of the American Physical Therapy Association: Acute Care, Aquatics, Cardio/Pulmonary, Clinical Electrotherapy and Wounds Management, Education, Federal, Geriatrics, Hand Rehabilitation, Health Policy and Administration, Home Health, Neurology, Oncology, Orthopaedics, Pediatrics, Private Practice, Research, Sports, and Women’s Health. The PT 2012 Annual Conference and Expo meeting will be held June 6 - 9, 2012, in Tampa. The House of Delegates meets during this meeting and programming will consist of the following 14 tracks: Active Against Cancer Critical and Inpatient Care, Effective Teaching Strategies, Lower Quarter Biomechanics, Moving Forward in Wellness, NUSTEP, IIISTEP, and Beyond, Patients with Complex Medical Needs, Perspectives in Neurology and Pain, Preventing Falls, Professional Issues, Research Design and Implementation, Technically Speaking, Updates in Sports and Orthopedics and What’s New with Health Care Reform.
I made it home safe and sound from CSM 2012 with lots of new-found knowledge, ideas and enthusiasm for the profession. I was looking forward to boarding the Megabus next February to attend CSM 2013 in Nashville, TN; however, due to the extensive number of physical therapists attending CSM, the destination has recently been changed to San Diego. Sunshine and warmth in February 2013? Hope to see you there!
-Julie Gahimer, PT, HSD
Krannert School of Physical Therapy
University of Indianapolis