Five Questions for John Izak, CPO

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John Izak is an orthotist/prosthetist with Orthologix in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The practice is heavily focused on pediatrics with 95 percent of its orthotics work for pediatric patients. Orthologix specializes in difficult cases and doesn't do anything off-the-shelf. In addition to his patient work, Izak also is working with a few orthotic manufacturers on product innovations, is a Variety Club volunteer, and has participated in humanitarian work in Dubai, United Arab Emirates.

Why did you decide to go into the O&P profession?

I was a therapist in a rehabilitation hospital, which I enjoyed. But I wanted to do more with my hands to help people. This profession allows you to do both. I also found it very interesting that a person's will and desire along with a well-fitting prosthesis really can help an amputee overcome his or her physical limitations.

What is your most memorable/rewarding work experience?

It is difficult for me to respond to the "most" part of the question. I get the same thrill in helping to effect changes in people's lives on a daily basis. To see the happiness and joy that a person or loved one displays when the patient walks, runs, or does just about anything better then they had done in the past, is a wonderful experience. I thrive on the progress they make.

What is the biggest challenge facing the O&P industry in the next two years?

Passion, enthusiasm, and expertise. We need to have all three in order to understand our specialized scope of service. Passion to care for the people, enthusiasm to carry out the task at hand and magnify the fact that we are the ones skilled to do it. But most importantly, expertise. We have a very diverse field with many areas of care. It is my opinion that we should all strive for some level of expertise in at least one aspect of our care.

What single change would benefit the O&P profession the most?

Continuing with education and research. Hear the needs of the people we care for and match their needs with technology. That should be our passion and vision. We are the chosen profession to bridge that gap.

In your view, what are the most impactful/significant innovations in pediatric O&P in recent years?

The use of plastics and joints to mimic, support, or assist the human biomechanical movement. As we apply these innovations, we are enabling joints to move that have been frozen or blocked in older-style devices. Research and gait analysis opportunities will be plentiful. Children and parents that had no hope now can see more opportunities for normal development.