The 34th Annual Scientific meeting was held in Hobart from 13-16th April and was a fabulous success, both scientifically and socially. International speakers, Dr Jane Ballantyne, Dr Andrew Moore and Professor Jeffrey Mogil, gave thought-provoking presentations on a wide range of topics relevant to the theme – Personalised Pain Management – including the problem of opioids, understanding the evidence, and the role of genetics. The program also included excellent plenary sessions by some of Australia’s best pain researchers, 18 different topical sessions, sponsored breakfast sessions, free papers, posters and – a favourite with the audience – the 90 second rapid communication sessions. New this year was a successful Question and Answer session where Dr Jane Ballantyne, Dr Greg Neely and A/Prof Alex Holmes were subject to texts fired in from the audience and relayed and moderated by Tim Semple.
Hobart provided the perfect venue for networking and socialising. Highlights of the social program included a reception at Government House for invited guests including members of the APS for ten years or more. Pianist Ms Jennifer Marten-Smith’s performance of Johann Sebastian Bach’s Chromatic Fantasy and Fuge in Dminor and the beautiful surrounds impressed all who attended. See the photos here.
The biggest social event was the Gala Dinner at MONA with a record 320 guests. The lunar eclipse put on a special show just as guests entered the museum. Cocktails were served in the Void, with a private viewing of the museum. After a three course dinner which included Tasmanian salmon, it was time to hit the dance floor. Even the shy and retiring types got up and danced the night away to hits from the 80s and the never old “Nutbush”.
Another first for the 2014 conference, were the inaugural Discipline Sub Group Meetings held on Sunday afternoon prior to the Welcome Reception. These sessions aimed to facilitate discussion between members and the APS executive to promote understanding of issues relevant to specific disciplines and to identify topics that the APS may be able to act upon. Meetings were held in the discipline areas of: Clinical and Health Psychology; Physiotherapy; Nursing; Medical; Occupational Therapy; Researchers: Clinical & Basic Sciences. They were highly productive sessions that have provided great ideas and information that we look forward to exploring further.
The parallel free paper sessions, rapid communications and posters were as always of a high standard. There was also an air of anticipation as the sessions were judged for the coveted annual conference awards. Congratulations to the following speakers on their wonderful presentations. The winner of the Best Oral Presentation was Yasmin Ahamed on “Physiotherapist-delivered exercise and pain coping skills training is more effective than either intervention alone in knee osteoarthritis”. The winner of the Best Rapid Communication was Carolyn Berryman, Topic: “Evidence for executive function deficits in chronic pain: A systematic review and meta-analysis” and the Best Poster Presentation was Michelle Rostas, Topic: “Keep it simple. Readability of persistent pain handouts: A pilot project”. Thanks also to the judges of the sessions – you know who you are. Your efforts are well appreciated.
Last but certainly not least is the recognition of the APS members who have made a major contribution towards the Society and significant and enduring contributions to the world of pain, whether in a clinical, educational or research role via the Distinguished Members Awards. This year Dr Frank New; Dr James O’Callaghan; Dr Daryl Salmon and Prof Jenny Strong were recognised for their outstanding contributions. Congratulations and thank-you for your contributions to the field.
So from a great conference and city in 2014, we will head north to Brisbane in 2015. The 35th Annual Scientific Meeting will be held at the Brisbane Convention Centre March 15-18. With international plenary speakers Professor Herta Flor, Frank Porreca and Mary Lynch already confirmed, it promises to be another exciting and thought provoking conference.
This report was prepared by Prof Michele Sterling (SPC Chair) and Dr Michele Callisaya (Hobart Conference Convenor)