HoldinoutforaHero | Original Post
When I boarded the plane on Sunday for my destination, Las Vegas, I expected to do what I love doing best: network, network, network. I can say with all honesty that today, that is what I live for.
Here at the Second World Congress on Spina Bifida (guess where the first one was held?), there are networking opportunities left and right. Unless you are chilling in your hotel room, if you are on the third floor of the Cosmopolitan Hotel, chances are, you are talking to someone fascinating!
After the Opening Reception took place on Sunday evening, yesterday (Monday) was the first full day of the conference. I attended a session on genetics and spina bifida, but left about 20 minutes after my head began spinning! (Sorry, fellow colleagues at SB Genetics. I’ll try to read a few research papers and learn the language so I can understand it better!)
Later, I listened to several researchers discuss psychosocial issues in people with spina bifida. I was particularly interested in attending this talk, since in the last few years, I’ve become both intrigued and concerned with the high incidence of clinical depression in young adults with spina bifida.
At the end of the seminar, they opened the floor for questions, and I asked Dr. Mark E. Swanson, Senior Medical Advisor to the CDC’s National Center on Birth Defects and Developmental Disabilities (NCBDDD) if he thought there might be a possibility in the future that mental health would be included in the team of specialists that typically treat people with spina bifida. I compared it to early intervention strategies for children with autism. Although he wasn’t exactly sure how to answer that question, he definitely emphasized the critical need for it now.
This is an issue that I only began considering as a critical component to the interdisciplinary approach to treating patients with spina bifida in recent years, but as I’ve written extensively here on Holdin’ Out, it’s been a big part of my life for many years.
Since I’m still in Las Vegas, and “as we speak,” I’m leaving in a few minutes to catch a show with Papi, who has been an awesome companion this week, I will leave you all for now with a candid interview I did yesterday with the SB Genetics team shortly before they all left me! :’(
I’m confident, however, that I will be seeing them all again soon, whether in their headquarters in California, or at another conference.
And there you have it– my newfound co-workers in their own words! Isn’t their work amazing? I hope to inform you all a lot more as I learn more about the study myself. And maybe someday, you might get a behind-the scenes look at what they do! Stay tuned– and be on the lookout for a full recap when I return to Orlando!