Back to Normal
Everyone is looking forward to 2024, and as they say, "New Year, New Beginning." Let us all remember to look back at 2023 and be grateful for what it has brought us. For almost three years in hiatus, the COVID-19 pandemic severely impacted many aspects of our lives, such as our health, education, economy, employment, livelihood, and especially our Orthodontic Organization activities. Indeed, we are back to our normal routine, and most affiliate societies have held face-to-face meetings during the past year.
I want to thank each Affiliate Society for their unwavering support and the valuable lessons we have learned from one another. Last October 2022, the Korean Association of Orthodontists (KAO) hosted the 13th Asian Pacific Orthodontic Congress (APOC) in Seoul, Korea. It was still a pandemic then, and there were a lot of uncertainties in the air. Most affiliate societies were hesitant to attend because the KAO Local Organizing Committee decided to format the meeting into an "In-Person meeting " (Face-to-Face only, no virtual edition). Despite the border restrictions in several countries, the show continued, and the Congress was a huge success with over 3,200 participants.
The 13th APOC served as an inspiration for most of our affiliate societies, encouraging them to open up and return to normal. Since then, the majority of our 20 affiliate members have held face-to-face meetings, including the 2023 Annual General Meeting (AGM) of the Executive Committee Members of the Asian Pacific Orthodontic Society (APOS) hosted by the Orthodontic & Dentofacial Orthopedic Association of Nepal (ODOAN) on May 15, 2023. During this time, the APOS also joined the global celebration of World Orthodontic Health Day (WOHD) on May 15, 2023, under the theme "My Orthodontists and Me, Smiling Together." I commend the ODOAN President Dashrathe Kafle for being such a graceful host, and it is my profound pleasure to celebrate WOHD with our APOS colleagues in the Himalayas.
The APOS Office Bearers have actively supported our affiliate members by attending their meetings and providing unwavering support. As I attended these conferences, one thing that became evident was the desire for human interaction. I saw the persistent longing of each member to gravitate and have meaningful conversations with each other in a physical setting. Virtual meetings and digital platforms have offered some connectivity, but they underscore the limitations of in-person interactions. It was heartwarming to witness the joy and gratitude of members coming together for social events, many of which took place for the first time in three years. The return to face-to-face meetings is a testament to the resiliency and competitiveness of our organization, overcoming the despair and helplessness caused by the pandemic.
The active participation of the APOS as a Regional Organization in the World Federation of Orthodontists (WFO) Presidential Meeting held at McCormick Place in Chicago, Illinois, USA, last April 24, 2023, was also palpable. Eighty (80) leaders from different Orthodontic Societies/Associations worldwide attended the meeting. The WFO President Nikhilesh Vaid presiding, and the Executive Board members are presenting recent, ongoing, and future projects. The AAO President Norman Nagel and the Board of Trustees were also present during the business meeting. The AAO Global Reception, held in conjunction with the WFO meeting, allowed for networking and connections between organizations globally. Both the AAO Global Reception and World Federation of Orthodontists (WFO) Presidential Meeting were opportunities to invite World leaders in Orthodontics to the APOS Affiliate Society meetings. Recently, we saw more active participation of WFO and AAO leadership in the conferences around the Asian Pacific region.
The current Office Bearers (OBs) were also busy running the affairs of the APOS. Since assuming office, the OBs have held six and various committee meetings to ensure the APOS functions as a regional organization. I am proud of the work of the Committee Chairpersons and their members, and I extend my sincerest gratitude for their hard work and commitment to the following;
- APOS Journal Editor-in-Chief Dr. Eric Liou (TAO)
- APOS Website Editor-in-Chief Dr. Kelvin Chang (TAO)
- APFORE Chairperson, Dr. Somchai Satravaha (ThaAO)
- APOS Treasury and Finance Committee Chairperson Dr. Geraldine Lee and Assistant Chairperson Dr. Luisa Neo (AOS)
- Membership Development and Residents' Forum Chairperson Dr. Zakir Hossain (BOS)
- 14th APOC Chairperson Dr. Ellen Ko (TAO)
- APOS Constitution and Bylaws and the APOC Manual Review Chairperson Dr. Kieran O'Neil (NZAO)
As we set our sights on 2024, our attention turns to the highly anticipated 14th Asian Pacific Orthodontic Congress (APOC), which will be hosted by the Taiwan Association of Orthodontists (TAO) in Taipei in December. The APOS Residents' Forum is scheduled for December 2, 2024, followed by the congress from December 3-5, 2024. The APOS OBs have conducted a site-visit inspection for the 14th APOC. Together with the Chairperson of the joint 2024 APOC-TAO Congress, Dr. Ellen Ko, and the Scientific Chairman, Dr. Kelvin Chang led the TAO team to have us preview the upcoming event. The APOS OBs are thrilled and grateful for the 3-years preparation by the TAO and have given the two-thumbs-up approval. We are confident that this event, jointly organized by the APOC and TAO, will be a resounding success.
I invite all of you to show your support for the 14th APOC and mark your calendars for this exciting event. Let us come together and make this congress a celebration of our profession. Thank you for your continuous support, and I wish you all a joyous Christmas and the best for 2024. Happy New Year!
With gratitude and optimism,
Dr. Roberto Tan
APOS President 2022-24