csm logoBrrrr! As a cold front descended on New Orleans, Louisiana (or Nawlins as the locals say), so did just over 9100 PTs, PTAs, and PT students for 2011 CSM. Per the APTA, this was one of the best attended Combined Sections Meetings to date. The city has a lot of draw with Bourbon Street, riverboat gambling, hurricanes (the drink of course), ghost and swamp tours, and Cajun food. There was also the Rock-n-Roll Marathon & ½ Marathon on Sunday following the show which I know was a perk for quite of few of the PTs and students we spoke to.

The Exhibit Hall was huge this year with over 400 vendors displaying a wide variety of physical therapy specific products and services. With this being our 4th showing at CSM, I can say that there was definitely a buzz in the hall with PT professionals engaged and interested in what the vendors had to offer. WebPT had a larger booth space this year giving more PTs exposure to our Electronic Medical Record as well as doing a promotional iPad give away. Thank you to all that stopped by our booth and congratulations to Joseph Nazzari, PT of SportsCare of America, PC  our iPad winner!

Some highlights from the conference:

Poster presentations: Awesome to see all the research that is going on in the profession! Without ongoing validation of what we do and tools/tests we use, reimbursement will continue to decline. We must show how valuable our skills are with evidence to back it up.

Section Sessions: All sections of the APTA are represented at this conference from Acute Care to Women's Health. Whether you are a student, new grad, or seasoned PT veteran, there are course sessions for you. With the increased attendance, there were some courses that filled up and doors shut/locked before some could arrive. Larger venues may be needed in the future for the more popular courses.

Technopalooza: APTA had a designated area specifically for "technology' based products. Mechanized orthoses, digital postural analysis, and of course the Wii and other virtual interactive concepts were represented.

Food: You can't visit New Orleans without getting a taste of some traditional Cajun cookin'. The WebPT team, which never passes up the opportunity for a good meal, jumped right in for some local favorites including: red beans/rice, jambalaya, turtle soup, alligator sausage, and crawfish etoufee'. Not to mention the desserts – New Orleans' own Brennan's restaurant in the French Quarter is the birthplace of Bananas Foster – yum!!

If you haven't participated in any of the national APTA meetings, I encourage you to attend at least 1 per year. It's a great way to catch up with colleagues and classmates (I was able to see a PT classmate of mine I hadn't seen in 15 years- so good to see you Elaine Mele!) and network with other professionals, who are probably experiencing some of the same issues you may be going through. Come visit WebPT at the APTA Annual National Meeting in June in Maryland OR the Private Practice Section Meeting in November in Seattle.

CSM 2012 is in Chicago – I'm sure the cold front will be present there as well. 

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