Last week, the WebPT team paraded through NOLA (literally) to celebrate our 10th anniversary at the APTA’s largest conference, the Combined Sections Meeting (CSM). And by gumbo, was it a treat. We got to gather in the great—and super humid—state of Louisiana with 17,000 other physical therapy professionals to learn, network, connect, and all that jazz. (Seriously, there was a lot of jazz.) And speaking of jazz, nothing gets me more jazzed than experiencing the buzz on social media surrounding a great conference. And this event was no exception. So, what were some of my favorite social moments? Well, besides sharing beignets with my best buds, I really enjoyed these memorable sound bites that came out of the bayou at CSM:

“It’s pure insanity that PTs are afraid of talking about nutrition. We all know it affects health.” -Mike Eisenhart, PT

In this session, self-proclaimed mad scientist, Mike Eisenhart, PT, joined Todd Davenport, PT, DPT, MPH, OCS, and Dawn Magnusson, PT, PhD, to help therapists better understand how they can affect population health. Over the course of two hours, they discussed the “ebb and flow” of health, how data can help therapists better predict risk factors, and how a patient’s movement and nutrition can be powerful predictors of future health. But, it was the above quote from Eisenhart, in particular, that spurred a lot of conversation around inflammation, injury, and healing. If the impact of nutrition interests you, be sure to follow along with Mike, Dawn, and Todd on Twitter. You won’t be disappointed.

“Want better employee engagement? Put your employees first and your patients second.” -Brian Hartz, MPT, DPT, OCS, CSCS

I was especially excited to see our own WebPT Member, Brian Hartz, present on the topic of employee engagement. One of my favorite moments from his session was when he asked attendees to fill in the blank: “Patients always come___.” And boy howdy, were there a lot of unique responses. I even heard one clinic director shout out that patients always come late—which definitely elicited some chuckles from the crowd.

So, what was Hartz getting at with the above-posed question? As you would expect, the majority of attendees responded that patients always come first. But Hartz challenged that statement and responded that patients should always come second. Why? Because your employees are the heart (or, Hartz, get it?) of your business. He stressed the point that if you strive to retain—and attract—engaged employees, and you want to create a stellar company culture, then you must put your own employees first. This is something we agree with here at WebPT, and I was happy to see our one of our Member’s core values aligning so well with our own.

“Every physical therapist should be tracking vital signs. And exercise must be one of those vital signs.” -Greg Hartley, PT, DPT

During this packed session, Greg Hartley, PT, DPT, joined eight other therapists of all specialties to discuss best practices for physical therapists’ approach to treating the aging population. More specifically, the speakers touched on accounting for age as a risk factor for chronic disease, taking ageism out of treatment, and leveraging therapists’ expertise to help change the health trajectory of our aging population—thus reducing the related healthcare costs. According to Hartley, one way therapists can achieve all that is to treat exercise as a vital sign. He urged therapists to find out how much their patients are exercising—and to not be afraid of prescribing more.

Now, this wasn’t the only session that addressed the treatment of aging adults. Several others caused some buzz on the #OldNotWeak hashtag—which is a great one to follow if you’re interested in conversations around how therapists can better serve older members of our communities.

“It’s not just our role to promote physical literacy. It’s our duty.” -Teresa Schuemann, DPT

To take things to the other end of the age spectrum, in this session, four therapists discussed the therapist’s role in physical literacy in children. They shared heartbreaking stats about the steep decline in youth sports participation and the rise of sedentary childhood lifestyles. But, the session wasn’t all doom and gloom. Each speaker highlighted how therapists can change the current trajectory. The above quote from Schuemann encourages therapists to view the promotion of physical literacy as their duty—not just their role. For more information on how you can get involved in this movement, follow the SPTS Youth Athlete handle on Twitter.

#Cheersto10Years #HBDWebPT

Finally, like I mentioned at the beginning of this article, our team observed a huge milestone at this year’s CSM: WebPT’s 10th anniversary. To celebrate, we planned festive activities at our booth throughout the entire event. We even had special lanyards made for all conference attendees. Talk about a party! One of the many highlights was a special champagne toast delivered with some heartfelt wishes from our very own co-founder and president, Dr. Heidi Jannenga, PT, DPT, ATC/L. It was a moment we’ll never forget.

Plus, we absolutely loved seeing thousands of attendees stop by our booth to snap a quick pic, enjoy a cupcake (or two), or share a pipin’ hot beignet with their buds—all while sporting our new I <3 PT buttons. It was truly an amazing event, and we wouldn’t have been able to experience it all without our Members, partners, WebPTers, and friends. So, thank you.

Wondering what’s in store for the next ten years? Well, we plan on adopting a phrase from our NOLA experience as our new motto: Laissez les bons temps rouler, which translates to let the good times roll. Cheers!

#Cheersto10Years #HBDWebPT

What was your favorite moment of CSM? Leave us a comment below—and don’t forget to tag your favorite Twitter handles.