From the Editor: ‘Fostering a Culture of Professionalism’

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By Miki Fairley

O&P education is getting a boost. The future Academy Learning Center at St. Petersburg College in Florida will create a physical location for didactic and lab-based education, plus online learning opportunities that may in time have an international reach. Also in the works is a new O&P program at the college--filling a geographical void for O&P education east of the Mississippi.

However, more support is needed to achieve the goal of raising $750,000 for a building to house St. Petersburg College's planned O&P program. "We're halfway there," Paul Prusakowski, CPO, president of the Florida Association of Orthotists & Prosthetists, reports happily. However, he stresses the need for more support to stretch ahead to the finish line. To donate funds or to request additional information, readers can contact Catherine M. Ostrander, Orthotics & Prosthetics Program Campaign, St. Petersburg College Foundation Inc., P.O. Box 13489, St. Petersburg, FL 33733; 727.341.3126;

As Academy President Don Katz, CO, LO, FAAOP, says in this issue's "Perspective", "Fostering a culture of professionalism" should always be an underlying theme for the multitude of important endeavors by the Academy.

Almost every professional or trade meeting increases each individual's knowledge base in some aspect, whether it's learning the results of a research project or learning about the latest and greatest in innovative products that might benefit patients.

Amputees in Advertising: Changing Perceptions

It's also encouraging to see those served by the O&P profession changing the public's perception of disability.

This paradigm shift is explored in the article "Amputees in Advertising". Beth Haller, PhD, quoted in the article, notes, "We've come a long way in a short time." The article shows how advertising in television commercials and major print media has evolved within the last ten years from condescending "pity ads" to "creations with cleverly employed wry humor and serious stopping power."

For instance, a TV commercial for Doritos features lower-limb amputee Casey Pieretti, a noted athlete and movie stuntman. The ad reminds viewers not only that amputees can be competitive athletically, but that they can be creative problem-solvers with a sense of humor, and fun people to know--just like non-amputees.

Thermoforming: Getting Consistent Results--How?

Fabrication expertise isn't the only factor in producing top-quality devices--the other part of the equation is the materials used. Thermoplastics have become an integral part of the industry, but in many ways they are a complex challenge. How can thermoforming become less hit-and-miss and more of a sure thing? The article, "Thermoforming Technology: Controlling the Process" examines this issue.

The year 2004 contains an abundance of professional and trade meetings, including regional, network, national, and international O&P and allied healthcare events--all of which can contribute to professional advancement and productive networking with colleagues. Plan now to attend the ones that best fit your practice and your budget--and enjoy!