The 1997 Congress at the Cathedral Hill Hotel in San Francisco was a happy and deeply rewarding experience! People keep telling us how much it meant to them. Some conference-goers said it was the best conference they had ever attended.(See Impressions).
Our focus on Birth, Love, and Relationships was designed as a natural balance to our 1995 Congress on Birth and Violence: The Societal Impact. This congress might have been titled Birth and Love: The Societal Impact because just as violence has its roots in negative prenatal and perinatal experiences, love has its roots in positive prenatal and perinatal experiences. Considering the violence we are facing today, we thought it important to seek the healing antidote found in the power of good relationships.
Since our first international congress in Toronto, Canada in 1983, we have observed many positive changes in birth procedures. We also have observed ongoing problems. In April 1997, President and Mrs. Clinton convened a White House conference on infants. No one spoke about the importance of mother love and stimulation in the pre- and perinatal era. We know that crucial learning occurs in the womb, at birth, and during infancy"a time when the presence or absence of maternal love has a lasting effect in a child,s life. Apppah's mission is to raise this understanding to national and international awareness and facilitate its integration into homes, schools, medical institutions, and governmental agencies.
The congress was designed around four interactive forums when our invited speakers addressed all registrants. Question and Answer periods were part of each forum. In addition to this "core curriculum" numerous special events, award ceremonies, and interest groups provided opportunities for further expression and interaction. Among the evening activities were the official opening of the congress, Presidential Address and Reception, the Cheek Memorial Lecture, The Thomas R. Verny Award for Outstanding Contributions to Pre- and Perinatal Psychology and Health, and a bonanza of Saturday night activities.
Over three hundred persons rallied in San Francisco for congress and pre-congress educational events"some people coming from as far away as Australia, Thailand, Yemen, Buenos Aires, Japan, Ireland, and London, thirty-six people from sixteen countries. U.S. participants came from twenty-six states. This congress broke all records for Continuing Education Credits with seventy people receiving CEU,s. Half the people attending identified themselves as professionals: 40 Ph.D.'s, 25 marriage counselors, 20 physicians, 20 nurses, 17 midwives, 9 childbirth educators, 6 social workers, and 5 occupational therapists.
All participants enjoyed exhibits, art displays, musical interludes, film viewings, a "Time Out Room," and a magnificent bookstore holding books, videos, and audiotapes all in one convenient location.
Here online, we invite you to visit the various conference scenes below for a "taste of the Congress." Please plan to be with us at the Millennial Congress in San Francisco, December 2-7, 1999. Keep tuned to Bits & Bytes for the earliest news and a chance to register at early bird-rates for this auspicious occasion on the theme "Birth and Consciousness in the New Millennium."

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