Rapid Recap: AWAKETOGETHER Summit
The American Sleep Apnea Association’s annual AWAKETOGETHER Summit for patients with sleep apnea took place in mid-September at the Presidio in San Francisco, California. I had the opportunity to attend this summit – also known as “Sleeptember” – to get a view of the patient-side of sleep apnea education.
The one-day conference was focused on empowering patients with knowledge about the disorder, different treatment options and networking, as well as patient advocacy. The day was packed with speakers from various specialties and emphasized a team approach to diagnosis and management.
There were patient panel discussions on aspects such as difficulties in getting the correct diagnosis, as well as living with un-diagnosed sleep apnea for years. I’m sure we have all heard these stories from our own patients.
Continuing to get the word out to educate people about sleep apnea at a younger age was another theme. One speaker presented information about suicide rates in those with sleep disorders. Timing of the suicide attempts was interesting, as that occurred after 2 a.m. Are you thinking insomnia like I am?
The conference also offered a “round robin”, in which specialists and vendors from different areas of focus in sleep apnea were available for small group presentations throughout the day. Specialists and vendors included an occupational therapist who discussed exercises to keep the tongue against the hard palate for better mouth closure for CPAP mask seal, a psychologist who focused on cognitive behavioral therapies and a vendor representing the new Phrenic Nerve Stimulator for central sleep apnea.
The day ended with a tribute to Christian Guilleminault, MD, his vision to diagnose sleep apnea in the pediatric population and his RUN (Right Under your Nose) campaign. To learn more about the summit, go to www.sleepapnea.org.
About Kimberly Trotter, MA, RPSGT, FAAST
Kimberly Trotter, MA, RPSGT, began her sleep career while completing her master’s degree in psychology with an emphasis in behavioral sleep research. She started as a clinical sleep technologist, conducting sleep disorders testing in a sleep disorders center, and has been in the field of sleep for over 30 years. Over the years, she has published and presented sleep research, created and taught insomnia classes, coordinated support groups for sleep apnea sufferers, presented educational talks on sleep and health to the public, written numerous articles on sleep, taught sleep disorders medicine to future technologists and physicians, and accredited two sleep disorders centers. She served on the AAST Board of Directors from 1996-1998, was the 1999 recipient of the Carskadon Research Award, and the 2006 recipient of the Allen DeVilbiss Literary Award. She is currently the administrative director of the University of California San Francisco Adult and Pediatric Sleep Disorders Center, AAST Ethics Committee member, founding member of the California Sleep Society, adjunct professor at Skyline College and has a very active support group for sleep apnea sufferers.