<h1>It's time to take a long look at the big picture.<\/h1>\r\n<img class="" style="float: right;" src="https:\/\/opedge.com\/Content\/OldArticles\/images\/2004-05_01\/Fairley-Miki.jpg" width="192" height="181" hspace="4" vspace="4" \/>\r\n\r\nWhere does O&P want to go? How can we make it happen? How important is education? Is certification relevant with respect to licensure? Should licensure actually replace certification? Where does O&P stand relative to other allied health professions--in practice standards, education requirements, levels of practice, i.e. practitioners, assistants, fitters? Where should it stand?\r\n<h1>Right now, there seem to be more questions than answers.<\/h1>\r\nPhysicians, patients, and payers are increasingly demanding hard\r\nfacts and data about O&P care outcomes. Where is the needed\r\nresearch to come from? How can the field continue to advance in\r\nclinical care and technology? Obviously, the answer lies largely in\r\nresearch. Effective, credible research requires a higher level of\r\neducation. Will it always be professions outside of O&P who\r\ntake the lead in orthotic and prosthetic research?\r\n\r\nSince the collapse of the unification negotiations between the\r\n<a href="https:\/\/opedge.com\/22">American Board for\r\nCertification in Orthotics & Prosthetics (ABC)<\/a> and the <a href="https:\/\/opedge.com\/92">Board for\r\nOrthotist\/Prosthetist Certification (BOC)<\/a>, the <a href="https:\/\/opedge.com\/2629">OANDP-L listserve<\/a>\r\nand other communication avenues have been bursting with\r\ncomments--not only about ABC\/BOC issues, but where the field is\r\nheaded.\r\n\r\nOne thought-provoking comment, which is echoed by others, came\r\nfrom John Gibson, CP, LPO:\r\n\r\n"I think we need to quit trying to justify why this organization\r\nis better than that? start behaving like a profession. We need to\r\npublish more--for example, why a custom ACL is better than a\r\ncustom-fitted--and we need to back it up with hard evidence. We\r\nneed to support the education institutions so that they may be able\r\nto actually do research into our field. We need to support the\r\nlocal and national academies and associations and coordinate our\r\nefforts, so we are all moving in the same direction."\r\n\r\nAnd we need to always remember why the field exists: to help\r\npersons with disabilities--whether temporary or permanent,\r\ncongenital or acquired--to attain the best quality of life\r\npossible. A lofty goal--but definitely one worth shooting for!\r\n\r\nAn outstanding example is a young man with three strikes against\r\nhim: born in a developing country, into a family abandoned by his\r\nfather, and with a major disability. But Emmanuel Ofosu Yeboah\r\ndefinitely was not counted out. You'll enjoy his story, "<a href="https:\/\/opedge.com\/2771">Ghanaian Helps Disabled Countrymen<\/a>". Also some young people enjoyed patient care without the mire of issues and paperwork that surround O&P in the US by working with amputees\r\nin Ecuador--plus they stretched their creative thinking abilities\r\n(Read, "<a href="https:\/\/opedge.com\/2772">Young Prosthetists Enhance Skills in\r\nEcuador<\/a>").\r\n\r\nWhere is O&P in the US headed? Time--and the actions of\r\neveryone involved in the profession--will tell.