How do you put a life-changing experience into words? The 17th National Conference on Hydrocephalus, HA CONNECT, is now in the rearview mirror for everyone in attendance from across the country and internationally, but the memories and the connections will leave a lasting impact.
HA CONNECT was our first in-person conference in four years and the response was exceptional with 537 people in attendance. This year, we had 43 new speakers and over 75 in total. Our conference offered 80 sessions, including 30 that were new. To meet the needs of our community, we categorized our sessions into 8 different tracks.
We had a variety of topics discussed, ranging from new research studies, treatment innovations, and improving clinical care to living and thriving with hydrocephalus and related conditions.
Two keynote presentations were the center point of Friday and Saturday’s schedule.
- On Friday, Dr. John (Jay) Wellons, III, Chief of Pediatric Neurosurgery at Monroe Carell Jr. Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt, gave an engaging and inspiring presentation sharing the lessons he has learned from patients and their families over his career. As well as reading a passage from his new book, All that Moves Us: Life Lessons from a Pediatric Neurosurgeon, followed by a book signing.
- On Saturday, Dr. Michael R. Barratt, a NASA astronaut and research scientist, delivered an informative and moving keynote about how NASA’s space medicine programs, Translational Research Institute for Space Health (TRISH), are contributing to hydrocephalus research and expanding our understanding of the condition.
On top of our robust program, all attendees, which includes, individuals living with hydrocephalus, parents, siblings, caregivers, and other loved ones were able to connect with each other, as well as network with researchers, sponsors, and leading experts in the field. So much was also gained by the scientists and healthcare professionals in attendance. The ability to work with and interact with patients was invaluable.