Mexico City Technical Session
The Asociation Mexicana Rehabilitation joined with members of the Orthopedic Appliance and Limb Manufacturers Association to sponsor a Seminar on Prostheses and Orthopedic Appliances. This was held October 23, and 21. in the New Institute of Rehabilitation at Tlalpan in the Federal District of Mexico. The International Cooperation Administration of the United States was also a sponsor of the session.
The party from the United States numbering some eighty in all left Dallas the afternoon of October 22, immediately after the National Assembly. They were led by the President-Fleet of AOPA. Paul E. Leimkuehler. The party was met at the Airport in Mexico City by Dr. Rodolfo Martinez Herrejon, orthopedic surgeon of Mexico City, who was Program Chairman.
In the next two days, members look part in joint sessions with the Mexican Rehabilitation Association at its new Rehabilitation Center. Through the courtesy of Mr. David Amalo of the Office of Technical Cooperation of the American Embassy, the telephonic system of translation made it possible for members to hear what was said in Spanish translated immediately into English. Likewise, the Mexican members in attendance heard the remarks of speakers from the United States translated into Spanish immediately.
The Honorable Miguel Bustamente, Undersecretary of the Mexican Ministry of Health and Welfare, opened the Technical Assembly. Joining in the greetings were the Honorable Edward G. Cale, Minister-Counselor of the Embassy of the United States, Mr. Amalo and AOPA President Paul E. Leimkuehler who read a message from Miss Mary Switzer. Director of the U.S. Office of Vocational Rehabilitation.
The Technical Session opened with a demonstration of Appliances for the upper extremity amputee presented by Jerry Leavy, Vice President of the A.J. Hosmer Corporation. This demonstration was filmed and shown later that evening on television stations in Mexico City.
Dr. Luis F. Vales Ancona, who served as a discussant for Mr. Leavy's presentation, also presented a series and number of upper extremity amputees who had been fitted and are being trained in the use of appliances at the new Center.
Lower extremity amputees who have been rehabilitated were presented by Dr. Rodolfo Martinez Herrejon.
Romulo O'Farrill, Sr., outlined the purpose of this seminar as "to acquaint all of the best and modern methods used in the manufacture and adaptation of prosthetic and orthopedic aids to benefit invalids suffering through losses of the muscular and bone systems." Mr. O'Farrill is a President of the Mexican Association of Rehabilitation and is one of Mexico's leading publishers and businessmen.
Dr. Bustamente told the group that practical application of prosthetic and orthopedic aids in the rehabilitation of invalids is a relatively new field in Mexico and that, therefore, this seminar has a special importance today.
Delegates to the seminar loured the new Rehabilitation Center in the prosthetic facility where they were greeted by Donald Strand, C.P. Mr. Strand is a prosthetic technician on loan from the Naval Prosthetic Laboratory at Oakland. California. The first day session concluded with a buffet luncheon at which delegates were guests of Senor O'Farrill.
The meeting on Saturday morning, October 24, featured a discussion on Functional Bracing and Cosmetic Appliances, presented In Charles A. Hennessy, Past President of the Orthopedic Appliance and Limb Manufacturers Association.
The importance of training in the use of the appliance as a fundamental fact in rehabilitation was stressed by Joseph Aveni, C.P., who is Director of Prosthetics at the Liberty Mutual Center in Boston. The history of the pioneer rehabilitation project sponsored by Liberty Mutual Insurance Co. was described by William H. Seymour, who is Senior Vice President.
The formal session concluded with a summary of the benefits of the joint session by Dr. Carlos Aguerrebere, who is Director of Rehabilitation in the Mexican Department of Health and Welfare.
After the formal close of the sessions there were a series of demonstrations of appliances. Mr. Hennessy demonstrated the functional bracing units (these were made available through the Center as a gift by the Hosmer-Dorrance Company) and the cosmetic appliances which had been sent to Mexico by Prosthetic Services of San Francisco.
In the formal sessions and in the discussions which followed, there was considerable interest shown in the certification of orthotists and prosthetists which had been developed in the United States. Four members of the Certification Board were present and were introduced: President Howard Thranhardt and Directors Herbert Hart, Alvin Muilenburg and Charles Hennessy.
AOPA officials in attendance besides Mr. Leimkuehler included Vice President Fred Quisenberry and Regional Directors Fred Eschen, Robert Gruman and Kurt Nelson.
The visitors from the United States were tremendously impressed by what they saw in the Republic of Mexico. The progressive spirit and the evidences of dynamic construction were everywhere to be seen. Not only the scenic beauties of the countryside, but the elegance and charm of Mexico City made a deep impression. This was perhaps best summed up by Board member Herbert J. Hart, who said, "I feel certain that when there is another Assembly in the Southwest, another trip to this great city will be a must!"