In the latest webcast from the National Association for the Advancement of Orthotics and Prosthetics (NAAOP), Peter Thomas, JD, announced the selection of Katherine “Kate” Ketelhohn as the 2023 George and Dena Breece Fellow.
After a highly competitive process, the NAAOP selection committee chose Ketelhohn to serve in the ten-week paid fellowship program beginning in late May through early August in Washington. Ketelhohn will shadow Thomas, NAAOP’s general counsel, where she’ll have the chance to learn about O&P policy and advocacy in the context of the broader disability, rehabilitation, and healthcare policy agenda.
As a result of a serious blood infection as an infant, Ketelhohn lost her left hand and parts of both feet. For nearly 20 years, Ketelhohn has used a body-powered and myoelectric hand as well as orthotic/prosthetic hybrids to allow her to walk.
“I’m thrilled to have been selected for this fellowship and cannot wait to take advantage of this opportunity,” Ketelhohn said in a statement for NAAOP. “Growing up using both orthotics and prosthetics has come with many challenges. [This fellowship] provides the opportunity for people like me to better understand how public policies are formed and how to best advocate for the O&P community.”
Ketelhohn, a sophomore at Johns Hopkins University, is majoring in biology in the pre-med program. She has won numerous scholarships and is on the dean’s list for her academic performance. She serves as president of Advocates for Disability Awareness at Hopkins and participates on several diversity, equity, inclusion, and accessibility advisory committees.
“Kate wants to couple her interest in medicine with her passion for disability rights, and her lifelong use of orthotics and prosthetics makes her uniquely qualified for this fellowship,” said George W. Breece, NAAOP executive director and namesake of the fellowship.
“We welcome her to Washington this summer and could not be happier to have made this selection,” said Maggie Baumer, NAAOP president. “I have the utmost confidence that she will make the most of the trails blazed by our previous fellows, as well as leave her own unique legacy for future fellows to learn from.”