Profiles of the Profession
Bill Beiswenger, CPO, FAAOP
It is an incredible feeling to have a person with an amputation using a wheelchair walk out of your facility after being fit with a new prosthesis. Helping an individual achieve a personal goal with the assistance of a good fitting Orthosis or Prosthesis, not only fulfills their dreams, but also gives me a sense of self-satisfaction. I specialize in sports prostheses and have been fortunate to be the prosthetist for the US Paralympic team. I have been asked to travel to many countries, demonstrating techniques and teaching others to provide high quality care.
Mark Gorman, CPO
Mark was injured in a roofing accident in 1978 and sustained a spinal cord injury. After getting his degree in biology, Mark studied orthotics and prosthetics at Northwestern University. He enjoys the variety his career as a practitioner has to offer, including working with children and adults as well as providing acute care and rehabilitative services. His passion for making and adapting things to help people keeps his work challenging, interesting and fulfilling. His own disability has never slowed him down. "My disability just adds an unspoken trust of 'been there done that' with some of my patients that builds a certain level of trust right from the start," adds Gorman.
Mark travels to Honduras twice a year. As an ongoing project, he is teaching a young man skills to be an orthotist/prosthetist and helping to set up a local O&P lab.
For fun Mark has played wheelchair basketball and other adapted sports. He currently enjoys riding his hand cycle around the various trails in Morgantown, West Virginia.
Mo Kenney, CPO, FAAOP
I entered the prosthetics by accident--literally! My leg had to be amputated after an accident when I was seven. The whole process of getting a leg fascinated me. I want to use my knowledge and personal experience to help my patients achieve their greatest potential. Biomechanics, materials and technology combine in prosthetics to restore people's mobility in a field that is constantly changing, constantly challenging.
Linda Martin, RTP, RPA
I first became involved with O&P as a seamstress in 1985. I made various types of leather and fabric suspension components. At that time I had very little knowledge of what the profession was about, but within six months I was ready to expand my experiences and begin the fabrication and finishing of upper and lower extremity prostheses, as well as an assortment of orthotic products. Subsequently, I have achieved ABC certification as a prosthetic technician and more recently as a certified prosthetic assistant.
I have now realized my personal goal of directly assisting amputees with the fitting and adjustment of their prostheses. My greatest reward has been to see the happiness that a patient has when they receive and are able to use their prosthesis. My professional activities have gone beyond the scope of the office as I have been fortunate to be able to donate my services at both the Belarus Rehab Hospital in Minsk, Russia in 1998, and working with Healing Hands for Haiti in January 2002 and 2003.
Jonathan Naft, CPO
I had majored in engineering, but found that I wanted to use my skills to help people directly. My time is split between working with patients and designing and developing new products within the field. I am active in several organizations which allows me to give something back to my profession. I also enjoy the interaction with my colleagues. It is a very small field, which allows each of us to make a difference.
Paul Prusakowski, CPO, LPO, FAAOP
When a friend's father introduced me to the field of orthotics and prosthetics, I instantly recognized it as a fulfilling and satisfying career opportunity. Here was a field where all my diverse interests -- from medicine and engineering, to motorcycle building, wiring and electronics, to the independence afforded by owning my own business -- were combined in a career that was fascinating and rewarding. I wanted to use my hand skills and intellectual assessment skills to provide quality care in a professional environment. I am now dedicated to providing patient care in my private clinic and designing software and Internet applications to help improve the quality of orthotic and prosthetic care around the globe.
Wendy Beattie, CPO, FAAOP
I studied mechanical engineering as an undergrad. I realized during a summer internship for a defense contractor that I really did not want to work behind a desk on devices I hoped would never be used. As luck would have it, I had to design a project to graduate and was fortunate enough to connect with Newington's O&P department. It was here that I found a field where all of my areas of interest intersected--working with my hands, problem-solving, working directly with people and being able to truly make a difference with my skills. People thought I was crazy, but I have never regretted my decision and still love what I do.
Scott Cummings, PT, CPO, FAAOP
While working as a physical therapist at a rehab hospital I got involved with a prosthetic clinic. The work really appealed to me for a variety of reasons. Not only did I get to build lifelong relationships with orthotic and prosthetic patients, I had the ability to problem-solve. Each patient, whether they were pediatric, geriatric, or somewhere in between, offered new challenges. It was then that I decided to return to school and become certified in both orthotics and prosthetics. The two disciplines, O&P and PT truly complement one another.
Dennis Janisse, CPed
The only two orthopedic surgeons in our small town came to my shoe repair shop with pedorthic course information. Their encouragement led me to pursue pedorthics. I now own my own pedorthic care company which has grown over the years and now includes three other family members, Erick, Jeremy and Nicole.
Pedorthics makes some very significant changes and improvements in peoplesí lives. I help patients young and old overcome challenges related to diabetes, arthritis, and trauma. Like other areas of O&P, pedorthics is very rewarding as you know you are changing and enhancing your patientsí lives.
For more than two decades, I have had the opportunity to teach pedorthics. I am a guest lecturer at many of the Pedorthic schools as well as Assistant Professor in the Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation at the Medical College of Wisconsin. I am the Director of Education for an O&P supplier which includes teaching opportunities at ten to fifteen regional courses and meetings in the U.S. I have also had the privilege of helping to set up pedorthic education programs in China, Thailand, Australia and South Africa.
It was clear to me long ago that by teaching and training people to practice pedorthics, I could help so many more people than just treating my own patients. This wonderful profession is so diverse and rewarding in so many ways.