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2023 NCOPE Education Summit

Envisioning Future Needs

The NCOPE 2023 Education Summit on Challenges and Opportunities in O&P Education and Training: Envisioning Future Needs brought together 49 attendees including O&P faculty, clinicians, technicians, owners, residency directors, researchers, and administrators with the goal of defining the main issues affecting the sustainability and vitality of O&P education programs in relation to workforce and practice demands. The summit took place in Minneapolis, MN at the University of Minnesota on August 3-4, 2023. The meeting was facilitated by Lowell Aplebaum, FASAE, CAE, CPF, CEO at Vista Cova, LLC.

Pre-Summit Survey

Survey instrument and results

Planning Committee

  • Robin C. Seabrook, Executive Director at NCOPE
  • Sue Spaulding, Associate Teaching Professor at the University of Washington
  • Mike Madden, Instructor and Program Coordinator at Bluegrass Community & Technical College
  • Sheryl Sachs, Prosthetist Orthotist Clinician at Dankmeyer Prosthetics and Orthotics Clinic
  • Jonas Ljung, Prosthetist Orthotist Clinician at Hanger Clinic
  • Josh Utay, Prosthetist Orthotist Clinician at Scottish Rite for Children
  • Scott Bretl, Assistant Professor and Program Director at Alabama State University

Identifying Challenges and Opportunities

Challenges that impact the sustainability and vitality of O&P education programs were identified in a pre-summit survey. During the summit, these challenges were discussed in small groups by the participants. After the discussions, each attendee individually rated the importance of these challenges. The prioritization of these challenges is not NCOPE-specific; rather, they are relevant to the entire O&P profession.

Through a collaborative and iterative process, attendees discussed the challenges and opportunities for technician, assistant, practitioner, and residency education programs. With the goal to address the most urgent challenges facing the sustainability and vitality of O&P education, the attendees developed recommendations for each program level.

Final Report

The 2023 Education Summit was a pivotal event, addressing critical challenges and charting a course for innovative solutions. The recommendations put forth serve as a roadmap for education to prepare graduates for evolving clinical demands, ensuring that O&P education and training remain effective, accessible, and sustainable for all O&P professionals.

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