Participating in a national POP conference is a big deal to those of us engaged in the slowly evolving and considerably valuable field of pelvic organ prolapse. Participating in a national/international POP venue is like a POP convention on steroids for me. I want to hear what the international POP community is doing, saying, thinking, using, modifying, and evolving when it comes to pelvic organ prolapse treatment. APOPS has always addressed POP awareness, support, and guidance from the all women matter stance. To say I’ve been pumped for the past month is a huge understatement. The AUGS/IUGA conference did not disappoint me.
Practitioners representing countries outside of the US including Canada, Japan, UK, Russia, Israel, Netherlands, Chile, Brazil, Nepal, and India came to APOPS booth. I was surprised and thrilled at the feedback we received and how many of them were aware of our initiatives and campaigns. I was equally thrilled at those who were not familiar with APOPS but wanted more information about what we do, what tools we could share with them to give to their patients, and when we would be translating our materials into additional languages to enable them to serve their patients more fully.
While I typically hear from and connect with POP practitioner, industry, and research constituents who’ve been supportive of our cause from the get-go, many I had never met stopped by our booth to ask what they could do to help and to capture contact information for follow-up. Many asked about our funding needs, many asked about our projects in the pipeline, many asked what they could do to help the cause, many asked what tools we are using to reach women, many asked how we are generating awareness, and many asked where to refer their patients in need of support. To say the energy was positive is an understatement.
We were asked about our WHEN campaign by several urogynecologists from developing countries including a query related the potential for APOPS to bring WHEN to India.
Two of the biggest highlights from the conference were visits at our booth from leading PT researchers in POP who stopped by to share a hug and thank us for change we are generating. Kari Bo and Marijke Sleikerten-Hove are each like super-stars in my book for the incredible research they’ve done in this field; I felt like I was hanging out with celebrity gold. Dinner at the black tie event added to my excitement when Kari Bo asked if she and Ingrid Nygaard (one of the top urogyn researchers in the US) could join me at the table. (And yes, I did resist the temptation to ask their opinions of POP concerns that plague my brain on any given day….) I’ve had communications with each of these amazing ladies over the past several years but never dreamed they would be so down to earth, completely void of ego despite their amazing bodies of work.
While there are still practitioners and health orgs who clearly do not recognize the avalanche of women who will soon be demanding diagnosis and treatment as awareness goes large, the energy I felt at AUGS/IUGA was that many practitioners worldwide are hearing our voices and recognizing they are getting stronger and louder every day. Internationally urogynecologists are listening to your voices. Urologists are listening to your voices. PTs are listening to your voices. Industry is listening to your voices. Research is listening to your voices.
We move forward daily. Change is upon us!