Hello again, JPO readers!
I would like to share an apt quote with you that I think applies well to the field of prosthetics and orthotics:
“The care of patients remains an art, but the art must be based on science.”
–Robert B. Salter, MD
As an engineer/scientist conducting research in a clinical field, I have tremendous respect for the art of P&O practice. The skill and expertise of the artists—prosthetists and orthotists—is applied for the direct benefit of helping individuals with disabilities improve their quality of life. Through the fitting of a device, practitioners not only address functional deficiencies that may limit one's independence, but they also help improve an individual's general well-being and outlook on life. Indeed, I believe that Margaret Mead, an American cultural anthropologist, summed it up well: “I must admit that I personally measure success in terms of the contributions an individual makes to her or his fellow human beings.” I have been fortunate to have encountered many dedicated and passionate P&O practitioners who have shared with me the intensely rewarding experience that comes from a commitment to P&O clinical practice. In fact, this sentiment seems to be more of the norm than the exception!
I have addressed the art of P&O, but I am curious to know if you are making an effort to incorporate science into your practice. Do you regularly read the content of JPO? Do you encourage your colleagues and staff to do the same? How many of you participate in a journal club to share opinions and discuss the latest scientific developments? I am confident that there are some of you who actually go one step further and conduct your own research. If so, you should consider presenting your research findings at the Academy meeting and publishing them in JPO. For those of you with young practitioners and residents in your clinics, encourage them to be the type of prosthetist or orthotist who stays abreast of the scientific research literature, who diligently looks for good research questions and problems, and strives to do what he or she can to help address them.
On another note, I wanted to draw your attention to some recent changes in the membership of the JPO editorial board (EB). Mr Jack Uellendahl and Dr Hamid Bateni have been members of the EB for a number of years, and they recently completed their membership terms. The Academy and I would like to sincerely thank Jack and Hamid for their invaluable service and numerous contributions to JPO! In addition, we are pleased to announce that we have added several new members to the EB who many of you will know and recognize: Ms Michelle Hall, Ms Elaine Owen, Mr Daniel Heitzmann, Dr Peter Kyberd, and Dr Sara Morgan. Please join me in welcoming our new members to the EB!
As always, we would love to hear your ideas for growing JPO’s stature in the field while increasing its relevance to your profession. Please feel free to contact me or any of the EB members with your thoughts.
Steven A. Gard, PhD
Editor-in-Chief Journal of Prosthetics and Orthotics (JPO)