The boards of IOPTWH and IPTOP meet in Boston

Innovative conference examines way ahead on women's health and ageing

Physical therapists interested in women’s health and ageing from 16 countries gathered in Boston, USA, in April for a landmark collaborative conference. The event, which attracted 85 participants, was the first event jointly organised by two of WCPT’s subgroups – the International Association of Physical Therapists working with Older People and the International Organization of Physical Therapists in Women’s Health.

The conference highlighted the intersecting areas of interest for the two subgroups, covering the demographic imperative of focusing on prevention and intervention as the global population ages, nutrition and exercise to prevent disability with age, and conditions such as osteoporosis, urinary incontinence and breast cancer.

Speakers included WCPT President Marilyn Moffat, who opened the event with a keynote examining how the profession could promote healthy lifestyles, and ended by asking delegates “Are you pushing your patients hard enough”, asking them to complete fitness challenge tests which they could use in their clinics with patients.

“She challenged each of us to push our patients harder so that they are physically and functionally prepared to meet any obstacle life and the environment might throw in their paths,” said Jennifer Bottomley, President of the International Association of Physical Therapists working with Older People (IPTOP). “Alan M Jette also gave an inspiring keynote address on ‘Facing The Storm’, providing a new approach to physical therapy in health care.”

“After many months of preparation by the two organisations, all the pieces came together with ease. The entire conference was a great success.”

On the women’s health side, urogynecologist Neeraj Kohli talked about latest developments in urogynecologic surgeries and Sharon Bober lectured on sexual changes in women and men as they age. Delegates had the opportunity to discuss osteoporosis with Meena Sran and nutrition and exercise in aging with Bhanu Ramaswamy. Gill Brook and Rebecca Stephenson presented women's health case studies from their respective countries.

Rebecca Stephenson, Chair of the International Organization of Physical Therapists in Women’s Health (IOPTWH) said: “There was also time for networking. These conferences are so important in promoting the continuing conversation between subgroups and among physical therapists in different countries.”