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ADVANCE Perspective: Physical Therapy & Rehab Medicine

Utah State of Mind

Published June 27, 2013 5:53 PM by Brian Ferrie

SALT LAKE CITY -- For the first time ever, the APTA has brought its Annual Conference and Exposition to Utah, and ADVANCE is here to cover all the action. Coincidentally, this is also my first trip to Utah, and specifically Salt Lake City. For those wondering what the place is like, here's a quick rundown. The scenery is beautiful -- Salt Lake City sits in a valley surrounded by towering mountains. It's also hot. Real hot. The temperature is expected to reach triple digits all four days of the conference. But as they say, it's a dry heat -- and noticeably different from the muggy mid-Atlantic summers I'm used to. Finally, there's a very laid-back vibe to the whole town -- with friendly residents and quiet streets.

Last night's opening ceremonies though were certainly not laid-back. The APTA made a concerted effort to deviate from its traditional format of a succession of podium speakers comprising a lengthy lead-in to the keynote speaker. This year's ceremonies, modeled after the increasingly popular TED (Technology, Entertainment, Design) Talks, featured APTA board members and Utah chapter representatives addressing the audience in quick bursts from the front of the stage. This presentation combined with short pre-taped segments to put an emphasis on fun and entertainment. Keynote speaker Dave Barry then took the stage and drew many laughs throughout his irreverent 45-minute presentation. A well-known humor columnist and author, his work has been syndicated in more than 500 newspapers in the United States and abroad. Barry began by joking how little he actually knew about physical therapy.

"In fact," he said, "you might even get a couple CE credits deducted because you attended this speech."

The Miami-based humorist related tales about the hazards posed by hurricane season in Florida (which "lasts from June until about the following June") as well as the dangers presented by having so many retirees living in the area. He also touched on his own status as an aging Baby Boomer and later brought the house down with his thoughts on the difficulties men and women face in relating to each other. Tongue planted firmly in check, he concluded, "So those are my thoughts on the challenges facing physical therapists in the 21st century," and left the stage to a rousing ovation.

It was a great start to what all attendees hope will be a fun and informative conference. Are you in town for PT 2013 too? Feel free to leave some comments below about your thoughts on the conference so far.

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