In 2006, the Academy formalized an agreement with AOPA, ABC, and NAAOP to form the O&P Alliance. The Alliance enabled the field to speak with one voice to legislators and the federal government. Joining the Alliance was a major step forward in the Academy's efforts to influence legislation and policy. An Alliance committee was formed and became part of the PIC.
The Academy received its fourth federal grant from the Department of Education in 2006. This grant ran from October 1, 2006 through September 30, 2007. During this grant year, the Academy began a program that invited local area high school students to the Annual Meeting to introduce them to the O&P profession. This program has continued at subsequent Annual Meetings and has been a very successful part of the Academy's O&P career awareness efforts.
The Women in Orthotics & Prosthetics Committee held its first meeting at the 2006 Academy Annual Meeting and Scientific Symposium. Its mission is to expand and improve educational and professional opportunities for women in the field or looking to enter it.
The Academy closed 2006 with a reserve fund balance of $774,914 and 2,700 members.
The Academy's first O&P awareness video, "The Sky's the Limit," debuted at the Academy Annual Meeting in San Francisco in March 2007. In addition, the Academy's first public service announcements (PSAs) were released and viewed by more than 20 million people. The Academy mailed the video and accompanying information on the profession to more than 14,000 members of the rehabilitation field. Each O&P education program was given a copy of the video to assist them in their recruitment efforts.
2007 also saw the first meeting of educators at an Academy Annual Meeting for the purpose of sharing information from the Academy and its councils. In addition, the Academy hosted the first annual residency networking session at its Annual Meeting to educate current O&P students about the residency process.
SSC 8, The Biomechanics of Amputation after Partial Foot Amputation, was held in March and the results published in July 2007.
The Licensure Task Force of the PIC launched the Licensure Tool Kit: A Comprehensive Guide to Orthotic & Prosthetic Licensure on the Academy's website.
The Academy on the Move
The Academy offices relocated from Alexandria, Virginia, to Washington, DC, in June 2008.
David A. Boone, CP, MPH, PhD, was appointed editor-in-chief of the JPO in 2008.
In April 2008, the Orthotic and Prosthetic Education and Research Foundation (OPERF) was officially incorporated. Consequently, funds raised for research and education were directed to OPERF rather than PQL. However, the PQL name continued to be associated with the Academy's federal grant and would remain viable until October 2010, at which time the name was retired.
In October 2008, the Academy received its fifth grant from the Department of Education. From 2003 to 2009 the Academy received five one-year grants from the Department of Education, totaling approximately $4.9 million. Through the grants, the Academy was able to improve the level of research in orthotics and prosthetics, create standards of practice within the profession, fund NCOPE projects directed at moving the entry-level education requirement for O&P to the master's level, and increase awareness about careers in orthotics and prosthetics. The grant also funded a study to determine where additional practitioners were needed geographically. All of these efforts contributed to the Academy's overarching goal of improving the level of patient care for those in need of orthotic and prosthetic treatment.
2008 also saw the Academy launch its mentoring program. The program is sponsored by the Women in Orthotics and Prosthetics Committee and is open to all Academy members. The program pairs protégés (students, residents, practitioners with any amount of experience who want instruction in an area of special interest) with a mentor (practitioner with more than three years of experience) to help them define and achieve their career goals. The program began with 26 participants in 2008.
In December 2008, the Academy, through the O&P Alliance approached the Board of Certification/Accreditation, International (BOC) to encourage it to elevate its education qualifications for certification to the same level as those required by ABC. A historic agreement was signed by all parties and then shared with CMS requesting specific minimum education and training requirements consistent with those in place at ABC for those allowed to bill Medicare for custom orthotics and prosthetics.
Also in 2008, the Academy launched the Recommended Reading section on its website and entered into a partnership that allowed members to purchase books from Amazon.com. In March of 2008, the Academy introduced its new searchable online member directory.
2008 also saw the Academy work with the Small Business Committee of the U.S. House of Representatives to arrange a hearing on how the profession works with the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs to serve the O&P needs of the nation's veterans. The Academy also testified at the subsequent hearing.
In 2008, finances continued to improve and the year ended with an Academy reserve fund balance of $1,681,585.
In September 2009, the Academy's Literature Update debuted. This email update is sent to the Academy membership on a regular basis to both share and raise awareness of current research in orthotics and prosthetics outside of the JPO.
2009 also saw the launch of the Women in Orthotics and Prosthetics website. The site spotlights a female leader in the profession each quarter and lists resources to connect female leaders in O&P who are willing to provide assistance and feedback in their specific areas of expertise to members.
SSC 9, Upper Limb Prosthetic Outcome Measures, was held in March 2009. The results of SSC 9 were published and mailed to all members as well as leaders in the rehabilitation field in October 2009.
2009 was a banner year for Academy publications. The following won awards from the Annual Association Trends All-Media Contest: gold for the careers website, silver for the JPO, and bronze awards for both the career awareness DVD and the career awareness PSA (60 second spot).
2009 also saw the Academy reach its financial goal of having a reserve fund equal to its annual operating budget. The year ended with the reserve fund at $2,279,239.
In February 2010, the Academy released its second awareness video, "A Future with Meaning: Making a Career of Making a Difference." The video features an interview with Assistant Secretary of Veterans Affairs Tammy Duckworth and highlights the opportunities for O&P careers for returning military veterans, among others. The Academy also released its second set of PSAs, which were viewed by more than 11 million individuals across the country. The Academy continued to run successful One-Day Seminars, and in October of 2010, more than 90 attendees participated in the program in Chicago.
2010 also saw the Academy join with AOPA to create a joint website to assist the victims of the earthquake in Haiti. The website was designed to help the O&P profession focus on Haitian relief efforts. In addition, the Academy made a generous donation to the American Red Cross for Haitian relief.
In February 2010, a completely new Academy website was unveiled at the Annual Meeting in Chicago. That meeting set a record for attendance-1,750 people.
2010 was another successful year for Academy publications with the debut of a series of Evidence Notes designed to distill the findings of the successful series of SSCs into brief two-page summaries that are easy to for clinicians to use. A new JPO website was unveiled along with a well-received redesign of its cover and interior pages. SSC 10, The Effect of Ankle Foot Orthoses (AFOs) on Balance, was held June 22 through 24, 2010, and the results were published and sent to all members of the Academy with the October 2010 issue of the JPO.
In November 2010, the Academy published a summary of its grant accomplishments entitled "What Have We Learned?" This document summarized the work that the Academy accomplished with the assistance of Department of Education grants and how this work positively affected the profession and clinical practice. The brochure was shared with Academy members, other members of the profession and rehabilitation community, members of Congress, and the press.
The Academy ended 2010 with a reserve balance of $2,900,000 and membership at 3,200.
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