NAAOP Fellows visit OPGA, NCOPE, ABC, and AOPA


By Alicia Carver and Susannah Engdahl

The NAAOP Fellows were on the road again during the week of June 24th. We started with a visit to Iowa, where we met with Todd Eagen, President of OPGA, and Kelly Turner, Member Development Coordinator of OPGA. They taught us how OPGA works to support independent O&P practitioners by providing services relating to insurance, business management and marketing, and by offering access to discounted supplies from manufacturers. We also had a meeting where we learned about advocacy from several Iowa state legislators, including former Iowa State Senator Jeff Danielson, former Iowa House Speaker Christopher Rants, and Iowa State Representative Timi Brown-Powers. It was very helpful to hear their perspectives on how to advocate in a manner that legislators find helpful.

Our next trip was to Virginia, where we were hosted by NCOPE and ABC. Robin Seabrook, Executive Director of NCOPE, shared a presentation about the history of NCOPE and the role that it currently plays in accrediting orthotics and prosthetics education programs, as well as elevating the educational standards for practitioners in training. Afterwards, we learned about ABC from Cathy Carter, Executive Director, and Steve Fletcher, Director of Clinical Resources. They talked with us about the process that must be followed for certifying practitioners and accrediting orthotics and prosthetics facilities, as well as the role that ABC plays in overseeing these processes. We also appreciated learning about the missions of NCOPE and ABC complement each other and ultimately work together to advocate for high quality patient care and professional standards.

We ended our week with AOPA. There we met with Eve Lee, Executive Director of AOPA, and Ashlie White, Director of Strategic Alliances. We sat in on a conference with the whole AOPA team, gained a more in depth knowledge about AOPA and learned how they as a collective team help the orthotic and prosthetic profession. We learned how to utilize the AOPA Co-OP database. It is a wonderful and valuable tool that can help us through our fellowship and beyond as we find our place in the world of advocacy and health policy.

We had a great time during all of our trips and would like to thank everyone who shared their time with us! We felt very welcomed by everyone who hosted us.

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