From the Editor

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As described in this month's feature article, the good news is that there appears to be little "generation gap" between younger and older practitioners. Besides sons and daughters following parents into the field, the profession is reaching out more to other young people to make them aware of O&P as a career choice.

Looking at the future, O&P practitioners will be caring for patients from increasingly diverse ethnic and cultural backgrounds. While ethnic minorities make up about 24 percent of the Baby Boom population (generally considered persons born between 1946 and 1964), they will comprise 34 percent of "Generation Y" (considered to be persons born between 1977 and 1995). Generation Y is expected to increase at twice the rate of the population until 2010 and by 2020, this percentage will have reached 32 percent of the total population, according to information available online from Northwestern University.

How will the O&P profession effectively care for these patients? One avenue may be to reach out to draw more ethnic-minority students into the field. Another may be to become individually more culturally sensitive and aware of the needs of patients from various backgrounds.

Along these lines, a prosthetic team from Hanger P & O recently completed a humanitarian mission to Afghanistan. An inspiring aspect of the rehabilitation field is the willingness of so many to help the disabled, no matter where they live. After all, disability has no national borders.