Breece Fellowship: After a 2-year delay due to the pandemic, NAAOP is excited to announce that Nikki Grace-Strader has started her tenure in Washington, DC, as an NAAOP 2022 Breece Fellow. Nikki will spend 10 weeks in DC and another Breece Fellow, Lucas Deluca, will start in DC for an abbreviated fellowship in July. Fellows will spend time shadowing Peter Thomas, NAAOP General Counsel and O&P Alliance Counsel, learning about advocacy and policy issues impacting orthotics and prosthetics, as well as the broader rehabilitation field. Throughout the summer, fellows will have opportunities to meet with elected leaders and Hill Staff to promote NAAOP’s priorities including the Medicare O&P Patient-Centered Care Act (H.R. 1990 and S. 2556) and educating policy makers on the issue of osseointegrated prostheses.
Todd Eagen: In Memoriam: The start of this year’s Fellowship has been bittersweet as our dear friend and beloved board member, Todd Eagan, passed away unexpectedly last week. Todd led the OPGA and was the Secretary/Treasurer and a board member of NAAOP. We deeply mourn Todd’s passing. Todd was a thoughtful, kind, and generous person and extremely dedicated to the O&P profession and community. He will be greatly missed by many in the O&P field and his loss will be acutely felt at NAAOP. In fact, one of Nikki’s first fellowship assignments was to travel to Iowa to visit OPGA as a guest of Todd Eagan and his colleagues at VGM. During her time in Iowa, Todd arranged for meetings with former senators and congressmen from Iowa and Kansas in addition to many meetings, discussions, and dinners. Todd and the OPGA family went above and beyond to help Nikki kick off her fellowship.
Osseointegration: Nikki is an above-knee amputee and has been living with osseointegration (OI) for four years. After sustaining a spinal cord injury in 2009, complications in her recovery led to her amputation however, the significance of her spinal cord injury made success in a traditional prosthetic socket difficult. Nikki currently works for Osseointegration International as the Director of North American Operations and she is passionate about sharing her experience with osseointegration to educate amputees, clinicians, and practitioners about OI. As part of the fellowship, Nikki will help lead NAAOP’s efforts on OI and will work alongside the O&P Alliance advancing the issue on behalf of the profession. Nikki and NAAOP will also host a briefing at Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Bethesda, Maryland in July for the benefit of O&P leaders, elected officials, hill staff, CMS staff and other policy makers, including the viewing of an OI surgery.
Virtual Congressional Lobbying Day: The two Breece Fellows will take a lead role in organizing the NAAOP virtual Congressional Lobby Day in July to encourage Congress to pass the Medicare O&P Patient-Centered Care Act and to educate policy makers on osseointegration.