OWINGS MILLS, Md., Jan. 25, 2013—Carli Cohen, marketing and creative design coordinator of the Board of Certification/Accreditation, had the opportunity to visit the Medical Teams International Advantage Program, an orthotic and prosthetic facility in Les Cayes, Haiti, this past fall. While there Cohen organized equipment and helped staff maximize use of their computerized database system.

The Advantage Program, led by June Hanks, PT, Ph.D., DPT, CWS, CLT, has one main objective: to empower those with physical disabilities to function independently and fully within the immediate community and society of Haiti. Hanks runs a rehabilitation clinic, makes custom orthotics and prosthetics in her workshop, and provides individuals with mobility aids like wheelchairs and crutches.

“I was struck by the beauty of Haiti and its people,” said Cohen. “Even more striking was Dr. Hanks’s impact on the community around her. She meets the vast O&P needs of the population in a joyful and self-sacrificing way.”

Jim Rogers, CPO, FAAOP, of Pinnacle O&P Services in Chattanooga, Tenn., takes teams of practitioners and other helpers to Les Cayes several times each year to bring equipment, train staff and help Hanks in a variety of other ways. Cohen met Rogers attending an industry event in the spring of 2012 and was excited to be able to join his team. During this trip, team members from Global Research Innovation & Technology (GRIT) worked alongside Hanks to introduce a new wheelchair design, the Leveraged Freedom Chair (LFC), to one of her patients. The LFC helps patients with disabilities to traverse the difficult terrain and limited pavement of Haiti and other developing countries.

Hanks works in Haiti through the support of Medical Teams International. Information is available here. Those interested in supporting Hanks financially can donate to “Haiti Advantage Program” here. GRIT is a social enterprise start-up business based in Boston, Mass. They are passionate about using technology to improve people’s lives. For more information visit www.gogrit.org.

Since 1984 the Board of Certification/Accreditation (BOC) has provided credentials demonstrating the competence and proficiency of O&P and DME professionals. BOC offers NCCA-accredited certification programs in five O&P disciplines: orthotics, prosthetics, pedorthics, orthotic fitting, and mastectomy fitting. BOC partners with suppliers of durable medical equipment, prosthetics, orthotics, and supplies (DMEPOS), offering accreditation that evidences compliance with standards set by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS). BOC also offers a voluntary Certified DME Specialist (CDME) certification for DMEPOS facility personnel. Go online to www.bocusa.org.