Building the Academy Presence
In 1996, the Academy internally restructured the organization of the councils and committees. The Professional Issues Council (PIC) was established, as were the Chapter Presidents Council (CPC), the Scientific Societies Council (SSC), and the Consumer Advocacy and Relations Council (CA&RC). They joined the existing Education Development Council (EDC). The EDC was expanded to include the Online Education & Communications Committee.
The PIC developed key position statements related to the ethical conduct and contended that ABC-credentialed practitioners were the most qualified providers of comprehensive O&P health care.
The Academy worked with AOPA to develop and disseminate educational materials related to the new ABC Facility Accreditation Program and Standards. The co-management of this program with AOPA was recognized with an award from the American Society of Association Executives (ASAE) Associations Advance America program.
A highlight of 1996 was the unveiling of the Academy website at www.oandp.org.It was launched and promoted as the start of the Academy's efforts to reach more practitioners and to eventually provide online education.
In 1996, the Academy developed and managed the scientific programs for the six AOPA regional meetings and for the AOPA Assembly. The Academy was awarded a trophy for excellence in technology-based education at the ASAE Management Conference in Chicago for the Patient Management Video and Monograph.
The Academy continued to publish quarterly issues of the membership newsletter, The Academician. The Academy also co-published the monthly O&P Almanac with ABC and AOPA through the O&P National Office. The Academy published the second Program of Work & Membership Kit, an Association Trends award winner that included a copy of the 1996 Strategic Plan and important information regarding the benefits associated with Academy membership.
The Academy's membership stood at 1,700 Active members in 1997. Thomas A. Gorski was hired as the Academy's executive director in August 1997. Thomas M. Gavin, CO, was appointed editor-in-chief of the JPO.
The Academy offered the first One-Day Seminar in Dallas, Texas, in 1998 to more than 100 attendees. Program participants were able to complete an entire Certificate Program for Professional Development in one day, allowing them to more quickly achieve the Fellow of the Academy designation.
The Academy was thrilled to induct the first class of Academy Fellows at the 1998 Academy Annual Meeting & Scientific Symposium in Miami. Twenty-five Academy members were inducted as Academy Fellows, setting the standard for other practitioners.
The Academy continued to build its publications library with the addition of the Compendium Update-Orthotics and Prosthetics Historical, Educational and Credentialing Compendium; Below-Knee Patient Care Booklet (available in English and Spanish); Above-Knee Patient Care Booklet; Pathways to Competency; and Orthology.
The Academy Annual Meeting & Scientific Symposium evolved to meet the needs of practitioners in the ever-changing profession. Based on feedback from a Blue Ribbon Task Force comprised of leaders in the profession and member focus groups, the Annual Meeting format was redesigned to include instructional courses, technical workshops, professional development sessions, and abstract-driven free papers.
In an effort to continue to meet the practitioner education needs, the Academy launched its distance learning programs with the Audio Conference Education Series (ACES) and Professional Audio-Web Education Series (PAWES) programs, which gave practitioners the opportunity to earn credits from their home or office.
Changing with the Times
In 2000, the Academy Board approved the development of clinical standards of practice and advocacy to the Academy Strategic Plan, calling it "the most important next step the Academy will take on behalf of the profession." In so doing, the PIC took the lead for advocacy inquiries to the Academy and the Academy became more involved in legislative issues.
In its legislative activities, the Academy took a leadership role in the quest for FDA approval of Plagiocephaly helmets. The Academy also protested the inclusion of O&P in the HCFA Competitive Bidding Project. Membership on the AOPA Government Relations Committee was opened to the Academy as well.
The Academy Board also approved a statement endorsing state licensure as the preferred method of establishing patient protection mechanisms, provided that licensure standards were equivalent to those developed by NCOPE and recognized by CAAHEP. The Academy also sent a letter to President Bill Clinton on behalf of the Landmine Survivors Network asking him to sign the Ottawa Treaty.
With a focus on expanding service to the O&P profession, the Academy established the Affiliate membership category, expanded the Academy societies with the addition of the Fabrication Sciences Society, launched listservs for societies and chapter presidents, and debuted the members'-only section on the website.
The Academy strengthened its relationships with the American College of Foot and Ankle Surgeons (ACFAS) and the Amputee Coalition of America (now the Amputee Coalition).
The Academy Annual Meeting saw the 2000 debut of the Partner Program, aimed at increasing the participation of Academy exhibitors in the meeting. Partners were recognized at the gold or silver level depending on their total investment in the Academy's meeting.
The Academy took over the complete rights and responsibilities of the JPO. The credibility of the Academy publication opportunities were improved with the hiring of Lippincott, Williams & Wilkins as the publisher of the JPO. The year 2000 also saw the debut of the Academy's online bookstore, year-round publication the Academician, and the creation of the Research Reference Guide, as well as its placement on the Academy website.
A New Era >>>