WillowWood is fortunate to have a global network of distribution companies to provide sales and support for our products around the world. We love hearing about the great work that they’re doing, and we enjoy sharing it with you. In this month’s blog, we are highlighting some recent activities in Ecuador.
Uniting Frontiers Forum
The Uniting Frontiers Forum is an international conference for professionals in the fields of prosthetics, orthotics, orthopedics, and physical rehabilitation. Two years ago, during the 5th Uniting Frontiers Forum in Mexico, it was proposed that the 6th Forum in 2014 should be held in Ecuador. This was very exciting news for PROTELITE, a provider of O&P services in Ecuador that has also served as our distribution partner there for many years.
Diego Muñoz, Manager of PROTELITE, was named President of the organizing committee. He worked hard for two years to prepare for the meeting, which was held October 19-22 in Quito. Rosie Jované of the International Society for Prosthetics and Orthotics (ISPO) Executive Board provided significant assistance, along with members of the U.S. and Ecuador chapters of ISPO. PROTELITE and its team of volunteers were able to manage the huge amount of work necessary to create a successful event for attendees from 22 different countries.
PROTELITE’s President, Santiago Muñoz, was also quite busy during the forum. In addition to serving as the International Representative for Ecuador’s ISPO chapter, he also taught a well-attended seminar on the LimbLogic® System with his colleague Luis Estevez. The seminar ended with a special demonstration of LimbLogic’s capabilities — click the link to watch! http://youtu.be/kP26Pz0MbuU
Study Abroad Program
Experienced professionals weren’t the only ones at the Uniting Frontiers Forum; there was also a group of students from the United States in attendance. Santiago, an instructor at the University of Pittsburgh’s Master of Sciences in O&P Program, created a Study Abroad opportunity for the students to attend the conference and also provide O&P services to people in Ecuador. Santiago shared the stories of Briana and Angel, two of the patients who were treated by the students with support from WillowWood and Becker Orthopedic.
Briana was born without legs below her knees. Her parents couldn’t find any support or help for her until they until they arrived at PROTELITE. The students were able to fit her with her very first “stubbies” to develop her gait. In few more weeks she will be introduced to prosthetic feet and knees. The students did a terrific job during her evaluation and treatment.
The students also evaluated and casted Angel Pulla, a veteran athlete who has participated in hundreds of athletic tournaments in Ecuador and overseas during the past 16 years. Angel was one of the very first users of Alpha® Liners in Ecuador in 1996, and has been using the liners ever since. Because of Angel’s high level of activity, the students suggested switching from his Alpha Locking Classic 9mm Tapered Liner to an Alpha SmartTemp™ Liner and a LimbLogic® System. Angel was a little bit skeptical, but after they fabricated his new socket, he was impressed with the perfect fit and precise suspension.
A few days later, on October 26th, Angel ran the 5-mile Poland Spring Marathon Kick Off with 2,000 other runners in New York’s Central Park. Angel finished first among the several amputees who participated! He said it was the first race that he finished without a blister on the end of his limb. He improved his time by almost 15 minutes and he had no perspiration during the race, other than a little bit of moisture along the top edge of the liner. He didn’t have to stop several times like he used to have to do to accommodate the internal rotation of the socket due to poor suspension.
A New Venture
Santiago and Diego recently announced the introduction of a new company called ORTHOPROTESICA, created specifically to focus on the distribution aspect of their business. We congratulate them on the launch of this new brand, and are excited to see the opportunities that it presents!