ALOHA! The AAO 112th Annual Session in Honolulu, Hawaii

By Dr. Jose Manuel R. Rivera

May 5-8, 2012

The American Association of Orthodontists (AAO) held their 112th Annual Session in the picturesque city of Honolulu, Hawaii last May 5-8, 2012. The Honolulu convention center was the venue for this prestigious event which was attended by 14,500 orthodontists and staff, 850 of which were foreign delegates (450 coming from the Asia Pacific Region).

This four day event featured numerous simultaneous scientific lectures and “poster presentations” with a vast array of topics covering every spectrum of orthodontics not only for the orthodontist but also for their staff. The lectures would start as early as 7:30 in the morning and would promptly end at 2:30 in the afternoon, giving the delegates enough time during the day to enjoy the beautiful city of Honolulu. . The American Board of Orthodontics (ABO) was also there to present their guidelines for board certification showing sample cases from successful examinees. The AAO also hosted an extensive trade exhibit to cater to one’s every orthodontic need.  Four post-conference limited attendance lectures were also available for those who wanted to delve deeper into some specific orthodontic topics. 

hawaii--01The international delegates of the AAO were given a lounge where they could gather and meet to socialize, exchange ideas and to post their invitations for any upcoming orthodontic meetings in their respective countries. The APO used this opportunity to disseminate information by having a poster and brochures to promote its 8th Biennial National Orthodontic Congress scheduled for August 6 and 7, 2012.

As the Association of Philippine Orthodontists (APO) official representative, I together with the Philippine Board of Orthodontics (PBO) Chairman, Dr. Robert I. Eustaquio, were tasked to attend two social events hosted by the Japanese Orthodontic Society (JOS) and the Taiwan Association of Orthodontists (TAO) plus the AAO hosted breakfast meeting for the WFO Affiliate Organization.

The Japanese Orthodontic Society (JOS) Friendship Party: This was held on May 4, 2012 at the Mauna Kea Ballroom at the Hawaii Prince Hotel Waikiki where the guests were treated to cocktails and a sumptuous buffet from 4:30-6:30pm. There we got to socialize with the JOS officers headed by their president Prof. Shigenri Goto and also with the dignitaries from the other foreign orthodontic associations and the AAO. 

The Taiwan Association of Orthodontists (TAO) Dinner Banquet – “Happy Together”: This was held on May 4, 2012 at the Jade Dynasty Restaurant at the Ala Moana Shopping Center from 8:00-10:00pm. It was a casual event where representatives from all the foreign associations including the AAO gathered together as friends upon the invitation of the TAO’s president Dr. Wei-Yung Hsu.

The AAO Hosted Breakfast Meeting for the WFO Affiliate Organization: The APO, as a charter member of the World Federation of Orthodontists (WFO), was also invited to this important event which was held at the Hawaiian Hilton Village Hotel on May 6, 2012 from 7:30-10:30am. In attendance were the presidents or representatives of the WFO member societies or associations together with the officers of the WFO. After a short introduction and welcome address by the AAO President, Dr. Michael B. Rogers, and the WFO President, Dr. Roberto D. Justos, there was a roll call where each representative country was asked to stand up to be recognized. Special mention was given to the APO President Dr. Roberto B. Tan and the PBO for its accomplishment in having a duly recognized certifying board for orthodontics by the Philippine Board of Dentistry (BOD).  The Asian Pacific Orthodontic Society (APOS) was also duly represented by its current president Dr. Loh Kai Woh. 

The executive committee of the WFO then took turns giving us updates on their current projects. To date there are around 36,000 WFO members worldwide and each member country’s association is tasked to screen any potential new member with its strict set of criteria.Questionnaires have been sent by the WFO to its members for an update on its membership profile. 

hawaii--02The WFO website will be undertaking some improvements to expand its on-line presence where an interactive link will be made available for the member countries where one can check on one’s membership status and make on-line payments for the membership dues. The WFO Gazette, which is the WFO’s official newsletter, will also be available on-line but nevertheless a hard copy will still be mailed to its members. First articles of the Journal of the WFO are now available on-line at Advertisements will now also be accepted for the website at a nominal fee.

The British Orthodontic Society (BOS) in association with the WFO also gave us updates on the 8th International Orthodontic Congress taking place in London from September 27-30, 2015. Held only every five years, the WFO Congress provides the ideal forum for orthodontists from around the world to improve their knowledge and clinical skills and to enhance the science and art of orthodontics. It was also at this time when the winning bid for the next WFO Congress for 2020 was announced. The Japanese Orthodontic Society won the bid as the first Asian country to host this prestigious event since its inception in 1995 (1995 San Francisco, USA, ; 2000 Chicago, USA ; 2005 Paris, France ; 2010 Sydney, Australia ; 2015 London, England).After the 2 hour breakfast meeting, all the participants were asked to gather around by the poolside veranda for a group photo.

It was truly an honor to represent the APO in this years AAO meeting. It not only satisfied my thirst for orthodontic knowledge but also let me unwind and rejuvenate amidst the relaxing environment of Honolulu and to absorb its positive culture. “Mahalo” (thank you) Hawaii… until we meet again, “Aloha” (Hello, Goodbye, I love you)!