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Cerebral Palsy

Gillette Celebrates the 75th Annual Meeting of the AACPDM

Tom Novacheck. MD

The 75th Annual Meeting of the American Academy for Cerebral Palsy and Developmental Medicine (AACPDM) will begin on October 6. 

Throughout the course of the week, more than 25 Gillette experts will present and share their expertise with medical providers from all over the country. Among these experts will be Tom Novacheck, MD, an orthopedic surgeon, one of the leaders of Gillette’s CP team and the incoming President of the AACPDM in 2022.   

The AACPDM is an organization made up of medical professionals devoted to the interdisciplinary education of clinicians interested in improving care for children who have Cerebral Palsy (CP).   

The date of the launch of the meeting is entirely fitting, as it coincides with World CP Day.  

Gillette Children’s is a world leader in the diagnosis and treatment of children who have CP, and in the decades that have passed since the first annual meeting of the AACPDM in 1948, numerous Gillette experts have served in key leadership roles within the organization.  

We recently sat down with Novacheck to discuss his history with the AACPDM and what he hopes to accomplish during his time as President of the organization. 

What does being the incoming President of AACPDM mean to you personally? 

I’ve been a member of AACPDM since 1991, and it is the most important organization I belong to professionally.  

It is the only organization that provides a venue for having multidisciplinary, intellectual conversations between CP specialists from all around the United States about new techniques and treatments, difficult patient cases and ongoing research. Being a member of AACPDM has been extremely important for those reasons, as it’s been an invaluable influence that has allowed me to grow in my practice and develop those relationships with other providers and researchers across the country. 

As the incoming President of AACPDM, how long will your term be and what are the goals you hope to accomplish during this time? 

The presidential line cycle is five years, so I’ve served as 2nd Vice President and 1st Vice President over the past two years. My term as the President of AACPDM will last one year. 

This is an important year for the academy. We’ll be spending time working on and updating our strategic plan for the years to come.  Like the conference, one area of focus will be to help AACPDM evolve regarding diversity, equity and inclusion and addressing race-based health care disparity.  

What makes the CP care provided at Gillette special, and what role does our expertise play in the collaborative nature of the AACPDM? 

I think what makes CP care at Gillette special is that we have all of the specialties and resources that individuals with cerebral palsy need under one roof. This allows us to work in concert as a multidisciplinary team that is able to comprehensively communicate with one another and provide the very best patient care possible.   
When I first came to Gillette, I wouldn't have imagined that 30 years later I'd be at the same place. I guess the shoe fit and I was able to wear it. I’ve had great colleagues, mentors, senior partners and in Gillette, found the place that, you know you walk in the door and you can feel that people truly care about the work they’re doing and the patients they’re treating. I think when you find that, you don’t really go anywhere else.  

In terms of what we bring to the AACPDM, I really see the care at Gillette as being in lock-step with the collaborative nature of the AACPDM. If there is an organization that fits Gillette and CP care, it is the AACPDM.  

What are you most excited about regarding the upcoming meeting? 

Admittedly, it's a little hard to be completely excited about having yet another virtual meeting, but in my role as 1st Vice President, we've worked hard to create a meeting that can be as high quality and interactive as possible, as collaborative and about relationships as it can be.  

The last year and a half has been extremely hard across the globe. That is for many reasons, the pandemic obviously, but also the social issues that we're faced with as well. So again, one of the focuses of the AACPDM Annual Meeting this year will revolve around diversity, equity, and inclusion, and trying to address health care disparities for the disadvantaged. My presidential guest speaker is Dr. Damon Tweedy, author of "Black Man in a White Coat”. 

The theme of last year’s meeting was “Unmasking Potential.” What is the theme for this year? 

On y Va! Or “Let’s go!” in French, as the meeting was planned to be held in Quebec City, Canada.  
That said, it’s a perfect theme for this year’s meeting, as we strive to emerge from the challenges of the past 1 ½ years together. 

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