Written by Dr. Jirawat Kiertiburanakul
Executive Committee Member of the Thai Association of Orthodontists
2020… What a year it has been! The emergence of the COVID-19 pandemic has taken a huge toll all over the world. People from all walks of lives have been affected, while everyone has had to follow the “social distancing” measures. Flights have been grounded and international travels have been strictly prohibited to keep the infection rates to a minimum.
In Thailand, there is no exception, and unfortunately it was decided that our usual two-day Thai Association of Orthodontists’ (ThaAO) scientific conference had to be changed from a physical event to a virtual meeting. Fortunately, modern-day communication technology has enabled us to carry on and host online webinars and web-based conferences. Therefore, on Thursday 23rd July 2020, the ThaAO’s first online conference was held through Zoom webinar.
The theme of the conference was “Orthognathic Surgery: A Tailored Approach to Successful Orthodontic Treatment,” and Associate Professor Eric Liou was invited as a keynote speaker of the day to give an informative talk about the surgery-first approach in patients with skeletal Class III, facial asymmetry and mandibular retrognathism. His presentation was broadcasted live from Taiwan. At the end of his lecture, Associate Professor Liou was presented with the ThaAO’s 25th Honorary Membership Award.
In the afternoon, two webinars were given by two teams of prominent Thai lecturers. One was about the multidisciplinary team approaches in surgery-first cases, while another talk was about management of orthodontic practices in the COVID-19 era.
All in all, the ThaAO’s first ever virtual conference drew a huge crowd of more than 550 participants, each of which joined the webinar from the comforts of their own homes or offices. We are glad that the first virtual conference had such positive feedback from the audience and we are glad that even through an pandemic, we, orthodontists will never stop learning!