Transition to Normalcy
March 2020 ushered in a new era of virtual scientific meetings as the World Health Organization (WHO) declared the existence of the Covid 19 pandemic. Over the past two years, orthodontic in-person activities became non-existent as the world became helpless against the unseen killer. Therefore, the joint meeting of the 13th Asian Pacific Orthodontic Congress (APOC) and the 55th Korean Association of Orthodontists (KAO) Annual Congress held last October 28-30, 2022, was the first sighting of a massive gathering of Orthodontic specialists in the Asia Pacific region since the pandemic started. With over 3,000 delegates from 32 countries participating, it was a huge success, with the Korean Association of Orthodontists (KAO) as the host society. The KAO leadership had shown what it takes to be a great host when no one else wanted to jump-start any International Congress in our region, so to speak, because of the unpredictability of the situation.
The current Covid situation did not stop the Asian Pacific Orthodontic Society (APOS) Executive Committee Members (ECM) from holding the Annual General Meeting in hybrid mode, with fifteen (15) ECM attending in person and eight (8) virtually considering border restrictions in other parts of Asia not fully normalized. Elected as Office Bearers during the meeting are the ff;
APOS Office Bearers for 2022-2024
- President: Roberto Tan (APO)
- Vice President: Zakir Hossain (BOS)
- Treasurer: Geraldine Lee (AOS)
- Secretary-General: Kieran O'Neill (NZAO)
- Immediate Past President: Eric Liou (TAO)
- Assistant Treasurer: Dr. Luisa Neo (AOS)
Elected also is the new APFORE Chairperson, Somchai Satravaha (ThaAO), and appointed is the new Website Editor: Kelvin Chang (TAO).
The New Office Bearers (OBs) wasted no time and met virtually last November 29, 2022, to discuss their tasks and responsibilities. The OBs assessed the previous five years of the APOS as a Regional Orthodontic Organization (comprised of 20 Affiliate Members) and posted these questions; "Is APOS Still Relevant?", "What makes APOS Relevant?" and "What's keeping APOS from going?"
To answer these questions, we checked on how far the APOS has gone in achieving its Aims, Purpose, and Objectives for which it was created. Looking at the APOS's past and ongoing activities gave us a
clear-cut answer as to whether we are achieving our objectives. Listed down below are the following significant activities of the APOS;
- Asian Pacific Orthodontic Congress (APOC)
- Residents' Forum
- APOS Journal - "APOS Trends in Orthodontics."
- APOS Website
- APOS Foundation - Asian Pacific for Orthodontic Research and Education (APFORE)
- Membership Development
- APOS Treasury and Finance
The Asian Pacific Orthodontic Congress (APOC) is the official conference of the APOS held every two years. Every APOC is different, allowing every host society to show its organizational strength and Cultural uniqueness as a Local Organizing Committee. The 2020 and 2022 APOC showed the strength and maturity of the APOS as a Regional organization as the Japanese Orthodontic Society (JOS) and the Korean Association of Orthodontists (KAO) proved to be the suitable hosts for the respective APOC. Both the JOS and KAO weathered the unprecedented Pandemic condition. For almost four years, the JOS's preparation for the 12th APOC joint with the 9th International Orthodontic Congress (IOC) face-to-face meeting was in full swing when the Corona-Virus pandemic outbreak suddenly immobilized the world. It took a very abled organization a short time to change to a Virtual meeting, with over 6,000 registrants participating online. Still hounded by the uncertainties of the pandemic, the Korean
Association of Orthodontists (KAO) hosted the 13th APOC and the 4th Resident's Forum successfully, keeping the safety of everyone as their primary concern.
The APOS is the only Regional Organization accredited by the WFO that provides a platform for Orthodontic graduate students the opportunity to promote social awareness and the disciplines in
orthodontic training. Through the APOS Residents' Forum, they were allowed to share scientific research and clinical cases among the orthodontic residents and instructors/supervisors/program directors/chairmen from all of the Orthodontic Graduate Programs in the Asia Pacific Region and beyond. The relevance of the Residents Forum was palpable during the 4th Residents' Forum with the participation of the Non-APOS graduate program from the University of Southern California (USC) and the Vietnam Association of Orthodontists (VAO). The Residents' Forum was held the day before the Congress, and there were 51 presentations, including 26 clinical case reports and 25 academic research by orthodontic residents of 20 institutions from 9 countries.
The APOS Trends in Orthodontics, the Official Journal of the APOS, continues to publish articles and literature relating to the practice of Orthodontics. With the increase in article submissions and citations, Dr. Eric Liou, the Editor-in-Chief, is inspired to increase the number of issues per year from 4 to 6. The APOS ECMs fully supported the project with the approval of the new budget for the Journal.
The APOS Website proves to be very effective as an informative platform on the various activities and projects of the APOS and its Affiliate members, especially during the pandemic. The APOS ECM is grateful to have Dr. Kelvin Chang as the new Editor-in-Chief of the APOS Website.
At the helm of the APOS Foundation, the "charitable" arm of the APOS, is Dr. Somhai Satravaha, elected recently to be the Chairperson of the Asian Pacific for Orthodontic Research and Education (APFORE). Together with the subcommittee members, they are strategically planning and working hard to make the funding of educational and research activities a reality. While the APOS continue to provide essential services and contribution to the orthodontics profession, the APOS Family continue to grow with the inclusion of the Vietnam Association of Orthodontists (VAO) as the new Affiliate member of the APOS Family. APOS Vice President Prof. Zakir Hossain, who is in charge of Membership Development, continues to look at all possibilities of welcoming other Associations within the boundaries of the Asian Pacific region to the APOS.
The APOS needs healthy financial resources to get all projects and activities going. The APOS Treasury and Finance has been entrusted to Dr. Geraldine Lee, APOS Treasurer, and Dr. Luisa Neo, APOS Assistant Treasurer. We are assured that all projects get funded and that the financial status is in order. On top of managing APOS's daily affairs is Secretary-General Dr. Kieran O'Neill. As the Chief Functionary of the Society, he was also tasked to Chair the Committee to review the APOS Constitution and Bylaws and the APOC Manual to keep attuned with the current affairs of the association.
The APOS is relevant with its present activities even during these challenging times. COVID-19 may keep us from conducting our usual business, but the APOS leadership is determined to get back on track again. While the current situation is in transit to normalcy, the OBs and ECMs will continue to find ways to deliver better services. With so much optimism as the situation is improving, let's go out and meet at the 2023 AGM face-to-face meeting hosted by the ODOAN in Kathmandu, Nepal, to plan and strategize what is best for the APOS. Everyone is looking forward to the 14th APOC with TAO as the host scheduled on December 3-5, 2024.
The success and dynamism of an organization are only as good as the active participation of all its members. I remember the famous baseball player Jackie Robinson said, "Life is not a spectator sport…If you're going to spend your whole Life in the grandstand just watching, you're wasting your Life."
Life in APOS is a non-stop learning adventure. I urge everyone, "Let's all go out, participate in the game, do not just be a spectator, enjoy the scenery as we travel and meet new friends, and have great learning and fun as we echo our theme, "One APOS, One Voice, We Belong."
I look forward to working closely with each of our member societies and moving the APOS forward to even greater heights!
With gratitude and optimism,
Dr. Roberto Tan
APOS President 2022-24
22 December 2022