Now in its fourth year, the World Congress and Exposition on Disability (WCD,) in association with EP Magazine, brings together people with disabilities, their families and the professionals who work with them all seeking information, products and services. The WCD is designed for those involved in the care, treatment and development of people with disabilities and special healthcare needs. Attendees include people with disabilities; parents, family members or direct support professionals; healthcare professionals such as physicians; nurses; occupational, physical, rehabilitation and recreational therapists; speech-language pathologists; social workers; psychologists; educators; adapted physical educators; home medical equipment suppliers; job seekers; association and society members; government employees; the military and students. There is no other event anywhere else in the world that has accomplished this incredible feat.
H.A. Bruno, LLC, producer of the WCD, has decided to better serve the needs of their attendees by providing conference tracks for their next event, taking place September 18-20, 2003. Even though all of the more than 120 seminars are designed to elicit interaction between the myriad of disciplines in attendance, it was necessary to let people know the focus of the sessions and to present them in a clear, concise manner. Therefore, seven tracks have been created: Adapted Physical Activity, Assistive Technology Family, Education, Employment, and Healthcare, as well as Rehabilitation and Therapies.
“The conference program addresses the needs of all attendees, with an emphasis on opening the lines of communication between the various groups," said Steve Gross, Vice President of H.A. Bruno. "Together with EP, we have put together an Educational Advisory Committee to conceptualize and develop the conference program. With so many groups meeting at the WCD, it was felt that we needed a representative from as many disciplines as possible to assist us.”
The Chairpeople for the Healthcare Track include Philip May, Jr, MD, Clinical Associate Professor and Director, Developmental Medicine Program, Department of Medicine, UMDNJ / Robert Wood Johnson Medical School; Henry Hood, DMD, Director, Developmental Disabilities Dentistry Program, University of Louisville School of Dentistry / Hazelwood Center ICF/MR; and Matthew G. Holder, MD, CEO, Cyrus Health Systems Corporation. The Family Track is being developed by Robin Atwood, Executive Director, Tennessee Network of Community Organizations with assistance from Exceptional Parent Magazine.
The Assistive Technology Track is being planned by Cathy Bodine, Ph.D., CCC-SLP, Director of Assistive Technology Partners; Associate Professor, Department of Rehabilitation Medicine, University of Colorado Health Sciences Center. A series of new sessions is being added for the Therapy and Rehabilitation Track which is being designed by Ginny Paleg, PT. Ron Davis, Ball State University and Jerry McCole, Executive Director, National Disability Sports Alliance are overseeing the Adapted Physical Activity Track while the Employment and Education Tracks are being designed by Loretta Costin, Director, Division of Vocational Rehabilitation Services, Department of Education and Victor Erickson, Marketing Plus Program Manager, Council for Exceptional Children, respectively.
Joe Valenzano, CEO, President and Publisher of EP Magazine, is the WCD Conference Chairperson. He exclaimed, “We expect this conference to be the best multi-disciplinary disability education program available today. Why should we expect anything less considering the Advisory Committee that has come together to assist us?”
The Committee is rounded out by a cross section of those who attend the conference program. They include Mark Pinney, Acorda Therapeutics, who is disabled; physicians Michael Painter, Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh and Rick Rader, Morton J. Kent Habilitation Center, Orange Grove Center; nurses Patty Crane and Becky Zukowski, University of Pittsburgh; Sandy Wainman, occupational therapist, LifeSkills; Debra Beckman, speech-language pathologist, Beckman & Associates, Inc.; association directors Ann & Rud Turnbull, Beach Center; adapted physical education specialist Jim Santos, Navy Run, Jump 'n Throw; and parents Julie Yannes and Sarah Lopez, who is also the executive director of the WCD Foundation for Education.
The exhibit floor will once again be a highlight of the event with products and services being offered by more than 230 exhibitors. A wide variety of industries will be represented including the automotive, mobility, assistive technology, personal care, associations, books, and durable medical equipment sectors. In addition, more than 30 national and regional organizations, non-profit and professional societies will be on hand.
Special features of the show, located right on the exhibit floor, include the Employment Pavilion, where numerous companies' human resource managers will be discussing career opportunities. The Assistive Technology Learning Center will allow attendees to participate in hands-on applications, and ask questions about the latest in assistive technology. The Sports & Recreation Activity Center will feature individual and team competitions, demonstrations and training by elite athletes, as well as recreational activities.
The WCD is produced by H.A. Bruno, LLC in association with EP (Exceptional Parent) Magazine. The conference program is jointly sponsored by both the EP Foundation for Education, Inc. and the WCD Foundation for Education, Inc., 501 (C)3 not-for-profit organizations, with the assistance of EP Magazine and the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine Center for Continuing Education in the Health Sciences and supported by the American Academy of Pediatrics, the Association of University Centers on Disabilities (AUCD), the Child Neurology Society, the National Institutes of Health, and other professional societies and organizations.