On September 23, 1987, 75 physicians attended the first AADEP live Annual Scientific Session in Detroit. The embryonic, abridged session included eight hours of presentations by selected AADEP founding physicians. In 2008, everything changed. From inviting the experts in the field to streamlining course offerings in response to physician's expressed need for less time out of the office, to a new meeting pattern and a different time of the year. More than 250+ physicians still participated, but additional numbers of other professionals, insurance company medical directors, and AADEP associate members also participated as faculty and session moderators. Although the expressed needs of the AADEP Fellow for self-update, skill training and advanced topics has not changed in the past 20 years, the level of the physician practicing in disability evaluation is markedly advanced from initial offerings. It is the AADEP Annual Scientific Session which has the potential to mark significantly the evolution of the Academy.
The fact still remains that professional practice learning gaps produced by the lack of any disability evaluation education in the standard medical school curriculum or residency programs creates elementary needs. There are remedial needs for the physician who has experience with the injured worker and the systems in which he or she practices. The new facts are that AADEP experienced physicians are hungry for the science that will upgrade their practices and results as well as improving the injured person's outcomes.
Specific learning gaps will emerge, shift and be redefined as AADEP and its leaders and members mature and grow in experience, knowledge and skill. Legislative action can create new learning gaps and change the familiar terrain in a specific state. Federal law changes for the particular disabilities of coalminers, seamen, veterans, and the members of an aging workforce, changing the learning gaps to be addressed.