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Breece Fellowship Begins: Welcome Taylor Haines & Update on Funding for O&P Outcomes Research

Updated: Jul 12

Welcome Taylor Haines:  Taylor Haines, the competitively-selected NAAOP George and Dena Breece Fellow for the summer of 2024, began her service to NAAOP last week.  Taylor is a Community Care Coordinator with Hanger Clinic in Portland, Oregon, and has used a below knee prosthesis her entire life.  She will spend 10 weeks in Washington, DC, learning about and participating in orthotic and prosthetic policy and advocacy in the context of the broader set of health care, rehabilitation, and disability issues.  Taylor will attend Congressional hearings, monitor legislative and regulatory developments, attend meetings on Capitol Hill, and assist in organizing the annual NAAOP Virtual Congressional Fly-In.  

Taylor will also travel to Iowa to learn about state advocacy and the role played by OPGA, and to Gainesville, Florida where she will learn about OPIE Software and be further exposed to O&P clinical practice at Gainesville Prosthetics.  Like the six former Breece Fellows who have participated in this program, we hope Taylor will take what she learns and use it throughout her career to better advocate for the advancement of O&P patient care.

O&P Outcomes Research Funding:  Working in conjunction with the O&P Alliance, NAAOP has expended significant efforts during the past four months trying to reinstate funding for the Orthotic and Prosthetic Outcomes Research Program (OPORP) within the Congressionally-Directed Medical Research Program (CDMRP) within the Department of Defense.  This funding lapsed in Fiscal Year 2024 but had pumped nearly $120 million into O&P outcomes research over the past decade.  In addition to significant outcomes research and the development of O&P outcome measures, the program was responsible for development of a cadre of researchers primarily focused on O&P outcomes research.

This initiative required multiple meetings with Congressional staff and Members of Congress, the development of materials to argue our case, the involvement of grassroots researchers to convince key Senate and House offices of the value of this funding, and support letters from organizations other than those engaged in O&P care.  We are now in a holding pattern while the Appropriations Committees consider funding requests from various Senators and Members of Congress.  NAAOP will continue to press Congress to reinstate funding for this important program and will report updates when they occur.

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