Dennis W. Dillard, CPed, CTO

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Dennis W. Dillard, CPed,

High school band teacher turned computer programmer turned O&P professional, Dennis W. Dillard, CPed, CTO, says he finds volunteering to be one of the most satisfying aspects of his career. His volunteerism began in 2006 with the Board for Certification in Pedorthics (BCP), before it merged with what is now the American Board for Certification in Orthotics, Prosthetics & Pedorthics (ABC). He is currently on the boards of directors for ABC and the Illinois Board of Orthotics, Prosthetics, and Pedorthics. Getting involved is something he advocates others to do as well. “After you are established in your career, volunteer in some capacity with one or more of the many fine organizations in O&P,” he says.

1. How did you become involved with O&P?

In 1988, I took a part-time job doing odds and ends at a local O&P business. My full-time job included computer programming, and my part-time employer wanted to incorporate computers into his business. Two years later, he brought me on full time to work in that capacity and also train as an orthotic technician. After a few years, I took the ABC exam and became a certified technician before deciding I wanted to move into direct patient care. In 2004, I became a certified pedorthist.

2. What or who has motivated or inspired you in your professional pursuits?

Family and faith are important motivations for me, and the key to my job satisfaction is helping others overcome difficulties and achieve a better quality of life. Craig Plattner, CO, and Donald Pierson Jr., CO, CPed, introduced me to the profession and provided the training I needed to be successful. Pierson also encouraged me to get involved as a volunteer with the BCP. My current employers at Comprehensive Prosthetics & Orthotics, Peoria, Illinois, Amit Bhanti, CPO, and Donald Goertzen, CP, BOCPO, and clinic manager Todd McAllister, CP, FAAOP, are very supportive of my practice and my volunteer activities.

3. How has your career progressed?

From my start in O&P, I learned to fabricate a pretty decent brace. Bringing the company I was working for into the age of electronic medical records and billing gave me great satisfaction as well. We developed our own in-house patient database application and were even using it to bill Medicare and Medicaid claims electronically pretty early in the game. Of course, when the big players in O&P software really got going, it became inefficient to keep up on the ins and outs of all that ourselves. It was great fun at the time, though. I am most likely in the last decade of my working life, so my goal is to finish well and help make some lasting contribution to the profession along the way.

4. What do you see in the future for O&P?

Demographics indicate an increasing need for O&P care. Technological advances will surely continue to make care more efficient and effective. But we must all work to protect and secure the profession long term for the benefit of those who rely on the care we provide. I am also excited by the commitment of the profession to strengthening pedorthic education.

5. What advice would you give to someone just entering the O&P profession?

Make the best use of your time in whatever education track you are on. If a residency is required for your particular certification, don’t look for an easy one.

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