From Stillwater-Ponca City (OK) Ostomy Outlook Sept 2003:

Report on 41st UOA National Conference
Las Vegas, NV  --  August 10-13, 2003

by Bob Baumel, Stillwater-Ponca City (OK) UOA Chapter

Note: This article summarizes some of the highlights of this year's UOA Conference. I'll present more details at our September 15 chapter meeting.

UOA Conferences are great places for meeting old friends from previous Conferences and learning the latest in ostomy care and related medical advances. In my case, this year's Conference certainly accomplished the first goal; however, due to my role as UOA website technical manager and need to attend various "administration" type sessions, I didn't get much chance to attend general interest/medical sessions.

I attended the Network Leaders Orientation session on Saturday (the day before formal start of Conference), sat in on the Board of Directors meeting Sunday, and attended the Annual Meeting (previously called "Chapter and Member Meeting") Monday morning. I ran the Internet booth in the Exhibit Hall Monday afternoon and Tuesday morning and then, along with Ian Settlemire and LaVerna Reid, presented the Internet Resources session Tuesday afternoon. I also attended a Teen Network planning session Wednesday.

According to UOA President Ron Titlebaum, the organization is, in most respects (financially, etc.), in great shape. The one big problem is continued loss of chapters and chapter members. Official membership at the time of this Conference was stated as 22,611. Ron announced a goal of bringing it back to 25,000 and stabilizing it at that level.

A major component of the drive to restore membership is UOA's new Network strategy. We now have six networks: the Parents Network (formed by merging former Parents of Ostomy Children and Pull-through networks), Teen Network (for 11-17 year olds), Young Adult Network (mainly for 18-25 year olds), 30 Plus Network (for the "older" young adults), Continent Diversion Network, and Gay and Lesbian Ostomates Network (UOA's longest-running network).

A new multiple membership model will allow belonging to more than one network, or chapter and networks, at no extra cost. For example, as many of our younger members have continent diversions, they may wish to join the Continent Diversion Network in addition to one of the age-based networks.

A welcome new collaboration: Some of the operators of the highly regarded J-Pouch site ( attended this Conference and worked closely with our Continent Diversion members.

Good news for those of us who've missed our Canadian counterparts ever since UOA Canada separated from UOA in 1997. Plans are under way for UOA and UOA Canada to hold their conferences jointly three years from now (in 2006), with the meeting location tentatively set for Toronto.

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Content last revised 2003-09-13