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Spotlighting Women in O&P: Alicia Davis, MPA, CPO, FAAOP
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Alicia Davis, MPA, CPO, FAAOP

Alicia Davis, MPA, CPO, FAAOP
Alicia after biking 70 miles to the top of Cottonwood Pass, Colorado (elevation 12,126 feet), before a 20 mile descent to Buena Vista, Colorado.

Why did you choose this profession?

O&P was the logical choice for me once I found out about it. I had taken a few engineering classes and volunteered at two different hospitals and wanted to be a physical therapist. When I took the first class in the PT program at UM-Flint, part of the requirement was to visit an O&P facility. I was lucky enough to visit a large facility in Michigan and they allowed me to ask them a million questions when I visited. That was enough to convince me that I needed to change my direction and concentrate on becoming an ABC-certified orthotist and prosthetist. I loved how it allows practitioners to use creativity and biomechanical principles to assist people.

What has been most satisfying about your decision to go into the field?

In 25 years, I have never, not once, been bored in this profession. I have awakened every single morning excited about what I was going to do that day. Sure, I've been tired or sometimes a little overwhelmed by what I needed to accomplish, but my patients are a continual source of joy and inspiration.

What has changed the most about the field since you became a practitioner?

Many things -- when I first started, there were a few practitioners still making wood sockets! There was no such thing as a computer-controlled knee, much less foot, on the market and a myoelectric terminal device with multi-articulating fingers was merely a dream. While clinicians these days have many more options to offer their patients, I hope we are not losing the skills that made this field great: hand-skills to modify an existing device to make sure a patient is comfortable and stable.

What has been the most frustrating about this field?

I am concerned about the changes in the insurance industry. More and more pressure is placed on practitioners and businesses to make choices influenced by factors other than the patient's best interest.

Of what professional accomplishment(s) are you most proud?

I have been honored and proud to have served the profession as an NCOPE board member, an Academy board member, a residency director, and as an instructor. But over the last 17 years, I've found the most gratifying role to be my work as a mentor to the University of Michigan residents. I have cherished the opportunity to assist these bright and dedicated individuals as they develop into professional colleagues. It is challenging, occasionally humbling, and always incredibly rewarding.

If you were speaking to high school or college students, what would you say to encourage them to choose this field?

This is a fantastic profession for someone with aptitude in biomechanics and a desire to work with dedicated colleagues to enhance people's quality of life through creative problem solving.

How has your Academy membership been of value to you?

The Academy is vital to our ongoing development as a profession. I count on the Academy for continuing education, for fostering research opportunities that move the field forward, to connect with and learn from my colleagues, and for nurturing an environment of intellectual curiosity.

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Contact

The American Academy of Orthotists & Prosthetists
7910 Woodmont Avenue, Suite 760
Bethesda, MD 20814
(202) 380-3663
info@oandp.org