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With APTA's 2018 NEXT Conference and Exposition now less than a month away, it's time to start making the tough decisions about your trip to Orlando. No, we're not talking about nailing down how many pairs of flip flops to pack and trying to figure out whether sunscreen can actually expire (it can, btw, so please be careful). We're talking about which sessions and events to attend once you arrive for the June 27-30 event.

With hundreds of options to choose from, it won't be easy. But there are 4 events—2 lectures, 1 panel discussion, and 1, well…something else—that should be on your "can't miss" list.

Luckily, PT in Motion News breaks it down.

What: The 49th Mary McMillan Lecture—Wisdom and Courage: Doing the Right Thing
When: Thursday, June 28, 10:00 am–11:00 am
Why it's a can't-miss: One-of-a-kind inspiration and education from a physical therapy thought leader

First and foremost, being named a McMillan lecturer is one of the most distinguished honors that APTA confers, so you know that you'll be hearing from an individual who has made a mark on the profession. This year's lecturer is no exception: Laurita M. Hack, PT, DPT, PhD, MBA, FAPTA, is a leader and former APTA Board of Directors secretary who has focused on some of the most foundational elements of the physical therapy profession, including the development of clinical expertise and physical therapy education. Hack will explore the complexities of decision-making in a profession that aims to transform society, from the elements of cognitive psychology that help explain how decisions are formulated to the challenges involved in actually carrying out the decisions we make. Decide to attend.

What: 2018 Rothstein Roundtable—Physical Therapy Decreases Opioid Use: What Will It Take to Change Policy?
When: Friday, June 29, 8:00 am–9:30 am
Why it's a can't miss: Smart and lively exchange on challenges and opportunities facing the profession from people who know a thing or two

The event's namesake, Jules Rothstein, was known for his love of thoroughly exploring (some might say arguing) all sides of an idea. The Rothstein Roundtable lives up to that reputation by bringing together a diverse panel of experts—some physical therapists, some from other professions—for a conversation on some of the big issues in the profession. Not everyone agrees with each other, but that's part of what makes for great discussions. Moderator Anthony Delitto, PT, PhD, FAPTA, keeps the panelists on their toes by asking provocative questions at just the right time, and then stepping back and letting them have at it. This year's topic: How can the profession use data supporting physical therapy's role in decreasing opioid use to actually change health care policy?

What: The 23rd John H.P. Maley Lecture—Lifecourse Health Development of Individuals With Chronic Health Conditions: Visualizing a Preferred Future
When: Friday, June 29, 10:00 am–11:00 am
Why it's a can't-miss: Insights on emerging trends and perspectives in physical therapy that you won't hear anywhere else

The Maley lectures are delivered by speakers who have made significant contributions to clinical practice in the physical therapy profession, and they have covered everything from pain management to wearable technologies. This year the topic is an expansive one: "lifecourse health development," an emerging model that embraces nonlinear, person-in-environment concepts related to working with individuals with chronic health conditions. The lecturer, Robert Palisano, PT, ScD, FAPTA, senior editor of Physical Therapy for Children, has been instrumental in developing and applying this model in physical therapy through research, teaching, and writing. He will describe the model in the context of physical therapy and discuss innovative roles for physical therapists and physical therapist assistants in the future.

What: The Oxford Debate—Is Good Nutrition the New Tradition?
When: Friday, June 29, 5:00 pm–6:00 pm
What it's a can't miss: Just…trust us. You've got to see this.

Imagine bringing together 2 opposing teams of renowned physical therapists and physical therapist assistants to engage in a thoughtful, respectful debate about a challenging issue in the physical therapy profession. Now imagine the complete opposite of that, and you're getting close to the NEXT Oxford Debate experience.

Sure, the renowned debaters are onstage, and, yes, there's a topic and opposing teams, but that's where the similarities end. Watch otherwise highly regarded professionals compete for your support by engaging in all manner of behavior that can include song, dance, skits, costume-wearing, and other, more…let's just say undefinable forms of performance, interspersed with an occasional point about the topic at hand. Your job as audience member is to support a team though noise-making and by physically moving from one side of the room to the other—and you're encouraged to change allegiances as often as you feel necessary to maintain the atmosphere of near-anarchy. Charles Ciccone, PT, PhD, FAPTA, serves as moderator and judge of the event while delivering jokes that you won't soon forget, regardless of whether you want to or not. The topic of this year's debate is whether the practice of physical therapy should incorporate nutrition as an essential part of patient and client management. The audience is bound to eat it up.

Missed advance registration for NEXT? No worries: onsite registration will be available.

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