Did you know that the Ontario Physiotherapy Association Education Committee consists of three volunteers and one OPA staff person who provides support to the Committee’s work? This group is responsible for selecting the top presenters for the annual OPA conference, InterACTION It is a tall order for this small group whose main role is to vet all submitted abstracts for poster presentations and education sessions.

The Education Committee receives at least 60 abstracts from a varied group of presenters, including students, academics, and clinicians.The response from the profession to the call for abstracts, and interest to share best practices and knowledge with colleagues is always exciting to see.

Committee members volunteer hours of their time, critically appraising each abstract for its quality and content using a standardized process. In reality, the committee members love it! Not only does it allow them to continue to improve their skills as critical reviewers, it also provides insight into how other physiotherapists see the profession and how they approach physiotherapy practice.

But that is not the end of the Committee’s work. A scheduled conference call between OPA staff, the conference planning team and the volunteers follows where the results of the blinded abstract review are discussed. The ultimate goal is to achieve agreement by consensus on which abstracts should be selected for the conference program. Have you ever been on a conference call with several parties trying to come to an agreement on one topic, let alone 60 unique and high quality abstract submissions? Of course, there’s a process in place to ensure this conference call is efficient and the end goal of selecting the best abstracts is achieved. Following this conference call, resubmissions may be requested and additional conference calls with the Committee may be required before the final selection for the conference programming is made.

This year when you are attending the InterACTION in Toronto and thinking to yourself ‘wow, these presentations are awesome’, appreciate the talent of the presenters foremost, but don’t forget about the Education Committee who spent the time behind the scenes ensuring those presentations would bring you the best value for your conference experience.

P.S. The mandate of the Education  has recently expanded and we need more volunteers to join our Committee!  If you are looking for an opportunity to learn about recent research and hot topics from leaders across our profession and contribute to setting the direction for OPA’s professional development mandate, then we want to hear from you!

By Mike Major, PT, BSc, MSc (PT)

Learn more about the Education Committee’s mandate. If you are interested in volunteering for the OPA Education Committee, please submit your resume and a 500 word (max) letter of interest to Amanda.Smart@opa.on.ca.