Sharing Ideas across Borders

Content provided by The O&P EDGE
Current Issue - Free Subscription - Free eNewsletter - Advertise
Andrea Spridgen

In reflecting on this issue of The O&P EDGE, with its theme of international cooperation, I kept circling back to the concept of sharing ideas and knowledge across cultures and countries—something that always makes the world just a little bit smaller, as I believe a shared understanding brings people closer together. It may be sharing knowledge to help grow O&P programs with healthcare workers in developing countries, such as ProsthetiKa’s partnerships in Haiti, Mexico, and Bolivia. Or it may be learning from people in those countries what works for local environments and activities common to the region such as barefoot walking or working in wet fields, as evidenced in the prosthetic design modifications Mobility Outreach International employs based on the particular region in which it is working (“Growing O&P in Developing Countries”). Or it may come in gaining insight from a guide developed across the pond, as in “Lessons from Scotland: Best Practices in the Use of AFOs Following Stroke”. Whatever the venue, international information exchange is invaluable in broadening perspectives. I hope some of you will have the opportunity to experience information sharing sans borders firsthand this month at the OTWorld Congress in Leipzig, Germany, where speakers from more than 30 countries and visitors from more than 100 countries will gather to discuss developments in areas such as O&P, rehabilitation technology, orthopedic footwear, biomechanics, and pain management.

But OTWorld is not the first time this year that many in the O&P arena have come together internationally to share experiences. In March, elite athletes with physical challenges traveled to Sochi, Russia, for the 2014 Paralympic Winter Games. Those athletes, among them individuals with amputations or who use orthoses to improve their daily mobility, were cheered on by a record number of spectators. For some of those athletes, their support team included not only trainers, coaches, and nutritionists, but also O&P professionals who were on hand to provide care and device repair or adjustment so the athletes could concentrate on their events and their competition. In this month's Sports article, we celebrate the accomplishments of some of these extraordinary individuals who put forth their best efforts to embody the Games’ theme of “Reaching the Impossible.”

Competition is not the only reason to leave home, however. In “What If…? Preparing Patients with Limb Loss for Travel”, Leslie Pitt Schneider shares tips from prosthetists, as well as her own experiences, to help O&P professionals empower their patients with limb loss to travel, so that they too can feel the pleasure of sharing ideas, customs, and adventures with others far and wide.

I hope this issue inspires you to reach out to your colleagues around the world, or even around the country, to add another perspective to your practice.

Bookmark and Share