A sense of community plays an important role on our mental and physical health. This topic has been studied extensively since the 80s, with interesting findings ranging from reducing disease recovery time to improving longevity by 50%. Every new finding highlights the importance of taking stock of the communities you belong to, or identifying communities you would like to join.
You may discover a sense of community at volunteer organizations, classes, religious organizations, and sporting events. These networks of people can include family members or friends you connect with online or in the real world. Wherever you find your particular community, it can be a boon for self-esteem and psychological well-being.
Professional associations are an often overlooked avenue for finding community. Becoming a member can unlock a flood of benefits, such as furthering your career goals, social network, and expertise. Let’s look at five benefits of joining an O&P professional association:
1. Network with industry leaders and like-minded professionals
Active networking is important for growing your career, raising your profile, and learning from experienced professionals. Joining a professional association can significantly expand your social network within the state or across the globe. Professional associations also offer leadership opportunities in scientific societies, boards, lobbying teams, and more. Make friends at annual meetings or reach out through member directories—opportunities for meeting new faces are everywhere.
2. Receive Discounts on Continuing Education Credits
Discounts unlocked when you join a professional association can be substantial. The steepest discount comes from Annual Meetings where registrants can save up to $350! The savings really add up when you consider the multitude of continuing education opportunities such as webinars, online courses, and publications.
3. Advocate for your industry
O&P professional organizations work to drive fair legislation and regulation in the industry, often protecting and improving Medicaid reimbursement levels. The major national organizations have formed The Orthotic and Prosthetic Alliance (O&P Alliance), allowing them to band together to advocate for fair state and federal policies that benefit clinicians and patients. When you join a professional organization, you’re able to stay informed about important issues and take part in advocating for legislative changes.
4. Access the Latest Insights and Resources
Staying current about new technology, techniques, and coding is easy when you’re a member of a professional organization. Take advantage of exclusive resources, such as online courses, publications, webinars and meetings to maintain your ABC and BOC commitments.
5. Tap Into Partnership
Apart from the monetary and social gain from professional associations, there is the intrinsic value of partnership. Being part of an association has great perks, but it also has great ways to give back to your professional community. Consider mentorship, volunteering, or sharing your knowledge at a conference.
Not to mention—it’s just fun to be a part of an association! Now get out there and find your O&P community! Here are a few associations that we partner with and support:
International Society of Prosthetics and Orthotics (ISPO) - a global multidisciplinary NGO aiming to improve the quality of life for persons who may benefit from P&O, mobility & assistive devices.
American Academy of Orthotists & Prosthetists (AAOP) - Represents practitioners, assistants, technicians, fitters, & other professionals in orthotics and prosthetics.
American Orthotic & Prosthetic Association (AOPA) - Through advocacy, research, and education, AOPA improves patient access to quality orthotic and prosthetic care.
Association of Children’s Prosthetic-Orthotic Clinics (ACPOC) - a resource of treatment options provided by professionals who serve children, adolescents, and young adults with various musculoskeletal differences.
National Association for the Advancement of Orthotics and Prosthetics (NAAOP) - dedicated to educating the public and promoting public policy that is in the interest of the O&P patient.
Arkansas State Orthotics & Prosthetics Association (ARSOPA)
Alabama Prosthetic & Orthotic Association (APOA)
California Orthotic & Prosthetic Association (COPA)
Florida Association of Orthotists & Prosthetists (FAOP)
Florida Chapter of the Academy (FCAAOP)
Georgia Society of Orthotists & Prosthetists (GSOP)
Iowa Prosthetic, Orthotic and Pedorthic Association (IPOPA)
Kentucky Orthotic & Prosthetic Association (KOPA)
Michigan Orthotic & Prosthetic Association (MOPA)
Midwest Chapter of the American Academy of Orthotists & Prosthetists (MWAAOP) | Wisconsin, Illinois, Indiana
New York Chapter of the Academy (NYSAAOP)
Northwest Chapter of the Academy (NWAAOP) | Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Montana, Alaska
New England Chapter of the Academy (NEAAOP) | Maine, Vermont, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Rhode Island
New Jersey Academy of Orthotists and Prosthetists (NJAAOP)
Northern Plains Chapter of the Academy (NPC-AAOP) | North Dakota, South Dakota, Minnesota, Iowa
North Carolina of the Academy and the South Carolina Society of Orthotists & Prosthetists (NC/SCAAOP)
Ohio Chapter of the American Academy of Orthotists, Prosthetists & Pedorthics (Ohio Chapter AAOP) | Ohio, Kentucky, West Virginia, Michigan
Pennsylvania Chapter of American Academy of Orthotists & Prosthetists (PAAAOP) | Pennsylvania, Virginia, Maryland, DC, Delaware
Tennessee Society of Orthotics & Prosthetics (TSOP)
Texas Society of O&P Professionals (TXSOP)
Virginia Orthotic & Prosthetic Association (VOPA)
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