We’ll Meet Again

By André Thevenon

The regression of the COVID pandemic allowed a gradual resumption of PRM congresses worldwide.

Last Autumn, while the AAPM&R annual assembly was still virtual, the in-person congresses began in Europe.

The French Society of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation (SOFMER) 2021 congress took place in Lille (France) on October 14-16, 2021. It was our first live congress for 3 years. The 1300 attendees (about as many as in 2019) smiled under their mask throughout the event! The exhibition hall was full, even though some non-French companies had to cancel their attendance. International speakers were able to participate via a video link (either live-streamed or recorded): for example, Walter Frontera and Fabrisia Ambrosio spoke during the ISPRM/SOFMER session, and Fary Khan participated in the plenary session. As our African colleagues were not allowed to travel to France, we set up a specific, free channel that live-streamed all the sessions in the main conference room. This provided French-speaking developing countries with access to SOFMER 2021. In summary, the development of remote communication and digital tools during the COVID-19 pandemic helped us to improve our live congress. Indeed, many of these initiatives will be repeated at future SOFMER congresses.

Paolo Boldrini reports that the 49th  National Congress of the Italian Society of Physical and Rehablitation Medicine (SIMFER)  took place in Milan, from October 29th to 31th. The title of the Congress was “The roots of the Future”, with keywords such as “innovation”, “sustainability”, “education” and “research”.After the virtual edition of 2020, the Congress of Milan marked the return to the living events; the need to meet safely, after the limitations of the pandemic,  has  been confirmed by the huge number of participants and invited speakers (more than 1000 in total), and  by the contribution of more than 70 exhibitors. The 60 Scientific Sessions covered all the main topics of Physical and Rehabilitation Medicine, including the most innovative areas of research and clinical practice. The elections for the new Executive Committee of SIMFER for the years 2021-2024 were held during the Congress; the new President is Giovanna Beretta, head of the Department of Rehabilitation of the Ospedale Niguarda, Milano, and the new Secretary General is Carlo Damiani, Director of the Rehabilitation Unit of the Institute San Raffaele Pisana, Roma.

In 2022, many national societies will organize an in-person congress.

A recommendation guide for meeting organizers has been edited in Argentina, allowing the (Argentine Society of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation) SAMFYR to restart its national congress in March without any virtual communication. Carolina Schiappacasse expects 800 attendees. On the other side of the world, the Rehabilitation Medicine Society of Australia and New Zealand (RMSANZ) is working hard to schedule a scientific meeting in June and to bring the delegates an exciting program with the participation some international speakers.

The Association of Academic Physiatrists (AAP) also announced their Annual Meeting, Physiatry ’22, taking place in New Orleans, May 24-28, 2022. They will host abstracts presentation in-person during their ”Poster Galleries” which are a reception-style events that celebrate the authors and encourage interaction, feedback, and fun! 

And the main scientific PMR event will be of course the Lisbon congress.

We’ll meet again, we know where (in Lisbon), we know when (3-7 July), some sunny days.


Call for Abstracts OPEN until March 8, 2022!

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