Amputee Coalition-certified peer visitors/peer review advocates Robert Haas and Tom Coakley consulted in research evaluation reviews as part of the Orthotics and Prosthetics Outcomes Research Program (OPORP) being conducted by the Department of Defense (DOD). The $10 million Orthotics and Prosthetics Outcomes Research Award (OPORA) is being offered for the first time in fiscal year 2014. Nominated by the Amputee Coalition as consumer reviewers, Haas and Coakley evaluated applications submitted to the program to help determine how the research project grant money would be spent.
Haas and Coakley, both of whom have transtibial amputations, were asked to represent the collective view of people living with conditions that require orthotic or prosthetic devices and their family members, and to provide insight on the impact the proposed research would have on issues such as diagnosis, treatment, O&P devices, rehabilitation, and quality of life after treatment. The group, made up of scientists and consumer reviewers who have equal voting privileges, reviewed approximately 104 research applications.
“The consumer reviewers on each panel are instrumental in helping the scientists understand the patient’s perspective and provide valuable insight into the potential impact of the proposed project,” said Colonel Wanda L. Salzer, MD, director of the Congressionally Directed Medical Research Programs. “They bring with them a sense of urgency and remind all of us of the human element involved in medical research.”