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Pediatric Neurosurgery Team - UNC Neurosurgery
UNC Pediatric Neurosurgery team at the UNC Spina Bifida Family Conference last year.


The UNC Virtual Spina Bifida Family Conference is a month away, and the UNC Pediatric Neurosurgery is looking forward to safely connecting with spina bifida patients and family members during this virtual event. Event registration is FREE and our conference is open to individuals of all ages with spina bifida, as well as family members and caregivers.

The virtual conference is scheduled to run from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturday, October 24, 2020 with a detailed agenda of speakers and topics listed on the event website. Participants who are unable to view the entire conference, or wish to re-view their favorite sessions can do so up to 30 days after the conference so long as they are registered. In addition to the breakout sessions, there will be multiple Q & A sessions, virtual booths, prizes, and more.

UNC Pediatric Neurosurgery nurse practitioner, Kristi Hildebrand has organized both events and agreed to answer a few questions about the upcoming virtual event:


What made you decide to start an annual UNC Family Spina Bifida Conference last year?

We decided to start a UNC Spina Bifida Family Conference to bring together our pediatric patients and their families for a reunion.  Many of our families would see each other in the waiting room or via social media, but this was an opportunity to help them connect with each other in-person. The conference was also a great way to provide more focused education about spina bifida and share additional resources.


What do you hope for parents and patients to get out of this conference?

We hope our patients and families will gain a sense of community during this unprecedented time of isolation and stress. Connections with others are more important than ever today. We hope the conference serves as a platform for our patients and families to feel encouraged and supported, while learning about new topics, resources and coping tools. We think everyone will be able to gain something meaningful from the conference.


What are some of the benefits of hosting a virtual event that you did not experience last year? 

The biggest benefit of having our conference virtually is accessibility. Many of our families will be able to attend this year because they do not have to worry about transportation. We can reach more people across North Carolina and have a greater impact on the spina bifida community. Another benefit of our virtual conference is that the presentations will be available to view for up to 30 days after the conference. This allows our parents and patients more flexibility because they may only be able to watch one or two sessions on the day of the conference, but they can still view the other sessions later.


How did you go about selecting topics and speakers for the conference this year?

We used the feedback surveys from last year‘s conference to guide our selection of topics and speakers for this year. We also tried to incorporate current topics of interest including an exciting panel discussion about Covid-19 and spina bifida. Additionally, we will have parent and teen sessions on self-compassion to help give our patients and their families additional tools to cope with the pandemic and everyday stress.


If you would like to register for our free UNC Virtual Spina Bifida Family Conference, please click to visit the event website.


Click to download one of our valuable resources that will be available at the conference: Helpful Nutrition Handouts and Resources.Spinabifida_sw