Friday, March 20, 2015

Effective Communication

The key mission of the Amputee Coalition is to reach out to and empower people affected by limb loss to achieve their full potential through education, support and advocacy, and to promote limb loss prevention. These core tenants drive all of our programming decisions. Our talented staff, along with an army of dedicated volunteers, collaborate to ensure that all of our efforts are serving our key mission.
The Amputee Coalition works with advocates to provide a voice on key issues affecting the limb loss community.  Issues include adequate and affordable prosthetic coverage with insurance, Medicare/Medicaid, and other programs; reasonable travel procedures for amputees, funding and research initiatives for people living with limb loss. We also work to strengthen partnerships with the Center for Disease Control (CDC), the Veterans Administration (VA), the Department of Defense (DOD), and other Federal agencies, as well as with other disability groups to be involved in broader disability issues that have an impact on everyday life.  To learn more about our legislative and advocacy goals, please visit our website.
This week several support group leaders in our network, the staff in our Manassas office and our CEO, Sue Stout underwent a rigorous media training course. The focus of this intensive training was to help communicate with other amputees and the public concerning the programs and services that are offered by the Amputee Coalition.  This training was also paramount as we continue to advocate for the amputee community on a local, state and national level.  Communicating a clear and compelling message in an effective manner is important as we approach the public, the media and our government leadership about our legislative and advocacy goals.

Communicating effectively with the amputee community and the media about issues
that are relevant to the community is paramount to achieving our mission. When issues facing the community are clearly presented to the media, they are in turn relayed to the general population, and awareness is raised. With awareness comes a fortified platform to create change. The Amputee Coalition staff is dedicated to bringing these issues to light and to affect change, and the recent media training will aid us in continuing to effectively communicate our messages.

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Peer Visitor Training at Conference

National Conference is right around the corner, and the staff and volunteers of the Amputee Coalition are busy finalizing all of the details.  We are looking forward to the community converging in Tuscon Arizona from July 23-25th for this highly anticipated event. The National Conference is the premiere event for individuals in the limb loss community to network, try new activities as well as learn about resources, programs and new products.

One of the most awaited activities at National Conference is our Peer Visitor Training. Our Certified Peer Visitors reach into their local communities to connect and mentor those new to limb loss. Through this vast web of volunteers, The Amputee Coalition is working towards its mission of making sure that no amputee feels alone.  We offer several training sessions a year, and information can be found on our website, but our largest training occurs at National Conference.

In order to qualify for training as a Peer Visitor, individuals must meet the following requirements:

  • Be at least 12 months post-amputation.
  • Be at least 18 years old
  • Able to communicate well with others and handle multiple program tasks.
  • Able to network with healthcare facilities and professionals who serve amputees.
  • Able to make the minimum time commitment to the position (varies).
  • Knowledgeable about and supportive of the Amputee Coalition and a registered friend in the Amputee Coalition database.
  • Knowledgeable in basic limb loss statistics, including all levels of amputation and about the effects of limb loss.
  • Able to pass a criminal background check if required by the hospital(s)/rehab center(s).
  • Able to provide three references, including at least one from a healthcare provider and one from his/her support group leader if the applicant is a member of a support group.
  • Have and provide a current and active email address and phone number(s).

Spaces are limited and the application must be completed by March 15, 2015, in order to secure your space, so apply today  if you want to take advantage of this wonderful opportunity to give back to the community.

Individuals must complete an online re-certification course every two years to maintain an active status as a Certified Peer Visitor. Our online re-certification course is available through our Certified Peer Visitor Resource Center section of our website. Peer visitors will also find the resources they need when conducting visits in their community.

The Amputee Coalition is proud to offer the Certified Peer Visitor program because we recognize the importance of peer-to-peer interactions during the adjustment to limb loss. We recognize that this valuable service is only possible because of our dedicated community volunteers.  We are looking forward to growing our outreach through the training at conference.

Sunday, March 8, 2015


Mark your calendars!  The Amputee Coalition is delighted to announce our 2015 Limb Loss Education Day (LLED) series. These highly anticipated events are an outreach effort designed to bring quality education and adaptive recreation opportunities to regions all over the country, in order to minimize the financial impact to attendees that comes with participation.  In addition to the 2015 National Conference in Tucson, Arizona, we will be hosting regional, single day LLED's in Washington DC, Columbus, OH and Portland, OR.
“We are very pleased to be able to bring our highly successful LLEDs to local communities again in 2015 and to provide this program at a very low cost to amputees and their families,” said Susan Stout, president & CEO of the Amputee Coalition.  “Our regional LLEDs have been hugely successful because they make our programs accessible, from both a cost and a travel perspective, to amputees and their families.  Regional LLEDs allow us to reach new amputees with relevant information who have not participated in Amputee Coalition events in the past, while also keeping us connected to our longtime friends who are regularly present at our programs.”
On May 2, we are hosting a LLED in Washington, DC on the campus of George Washington University. We have teamed up with Challenged Athletes Foundation and Ossur to bring this educational and enjoyable day, including a Mobility Clinic taught by world-renowned expert Bob Gailey. More information will be released shortly, so continue to check our website for updates.
If you live in the Columbus, OH area, plan to join us at the Franklin Park Adventure Center on September 19th.  We have partnered with the Amputee Recreational Support Group of Ohio, Columbus Paralympic Sports Club, and Columbus Parks and Recreation to bring this opportunity to the region.
On October 24th we will end our 2015 LLED series in Portland, Oregon.  We are joining forces with Shriner's Hospital to bring this event to the Pacific Northwest.
Each LLED is carefully planned with local support groups, ensuring that the programming is relevant for each geographic region. Our LLED success is dependent upon grassroots support, and we are looking forward to working with the community to continue to bring these opportunities at a regional level. Please continue to check our website for updates and registration information. 

Friday, February 27, 2015

Conference Scholarship Opportunity

The Amputee Coalition's National Conference is just a few months away. From July 23-25th, scores of individuals impacted by limb loss will converge for the most highly anticipated event in the community.  Hosted at the JW Marriott Starr Pass Resort & Spa in Tucson, Arizona, the conference boasts three jam-packed days of networking, education, support, adapted sport and recreation and camaraderie. If you’re an amputee, spouse/family member/caregiver, support group leader or professional who works with the limb loss community, the Amputee Coalition 2015 National Conference is the place to be!
Our Education & Conference Committee factors cost with every decision, and we strive to keep attending the conference a financially attainable goal for the majority of the community. This is not a fund-raising event for the Coalition, and the registration fees directly pay for many services available at the conference. We rotate the geographical region of each National Conference with the goal of easing the travel burden for the community.

The Amputee Coalition recognizes the importance of attending the conference, especially for those new to limb loss. Through the Kathy Spozio Bridge to Ability Fund, we are able to reduce or eliminate the financial barriers of attending the national conference for new amputees.
The Kathy Spozio Bridge to Ability Scholarship provides full Conference registration, covering health and wellness education, technology sessions, special clinics and social networking, as well as lodging expenses and up to $300 in reimbursement for travel expenses.
In order to be considered for the Kathy Spozio Bridge to Ability Scholarship,individuals must meet the following criteria:
  1. Must be a registered Friend/have joined our mailing list.
  2. Amputation of one (1) or more limbs within three (3) years of application deadline (must provide date and level of amputation)
  3. Unable to attend the Amputee Coalition National Conference due to financial constraints (must provide household proof of income and income statement)
  4. Have never previously attended an Amputee Coalition National Conference
Application information is available on our website. Don't delay!  Applications must be postmarked by April 15, 2015 in order to be considered.

Friday, February 20, 2015

Introducing our New Board Members

The Amputee Coalition is a non-profit organization that is overseen by a Board of Directors, a group of individuals who are highly respected in their chosen professions. Many of them are Amputees themselves.  Among the duties that the Board is responsible for is establishing the strategic direction of the Coalition as well as providing a public face to our efforts. Our board members serve on a volunteer basis because they are dedicated to limb loss issues and believe in the mission of the Amputee Coalition. We recently welcomed three new members to our board, and we are excited to introduce them to the community.

Brandon Dale brings over 20 years of experience and expertise as an American Board Certified Prosthetist and Orthotist.  Dale is also a member of the Board of Directors of the California Orthotic and Prosthetic Association (COPA), where he assists in the coordination, planning and execution of biannual education and exhibit events as well as policy lobbying for qualified providers. He serves as a Tate representative for the American Orthotic and Prosthetic Association (AOPA), representing both Arizona and California for policy forum on a national level as well as individual state-specific PAC and legislative collaboration. He is on the board of the Disabled Athletes Foundation in Phoenix. Dale formerly served as a member of the Arizona Burns and Trauma Foundation.

Dennis Fields is chief operating officer of SourceAmerica, a nonprofit organization that creates employment opportunities for people with disabilities through a network of nonprofit agency partners. “As an above-knee amputee, I feel I can bring some firsthand knowledge on the challenges and opportunities facing our constituency,” said Fields. “Serving on the Amputee Coalition board along with other amputees and industry leaders is an honor for me, and a chance to give back to an organization that gives so much to adults and children with limb loss throughout the country.”

John "Mo" Kenney, CPO, brings his experience as a facility owner, a practicing prosthetist and orthotist as well as living as a below knee amputee to his new position on the board. He owns and manages an orthopedic practice with nine facilities throughout Kentucky and Indiana.  In addition to his practice in Lexington, Kenney is the past president of the American Board for Certification in Orthotics, Prosthetics and Pedorthics and past president of the Kentucky Orthotics and Prosthetics Association. He is also a member of the American Academy of Orthotists and Prosthetists, the American Orthotic and Prosthetic Association, and the Kentucky Orthotics and Prosthetics Association’s Legislative Committee.  “The accident was a blessing because it gave me direction on what I was going to do in life at such a young age. Serving on the Amputee Coalition board is an honor for me,” said Kenney, “and I look forward to the opportunities we will create as an organization serving the limb loss community. Providing excellent constituent service that aligns with a dynamic strategic plan for the organization is important this year and in years to come. As a business owner, I am anxious to contribute my working and practical knowledge of the challenges faced by the limb loss community.”

We thank all of our board members for their dedication and service to the Amputee Coalition.  We are looking forward to working with the diverse leadership as we move the Coalition forward on our mission to reach out and empower people affected by limb loss to achieve their full potential through education, support and advocacy, and to promote limb loss prevention.  More information about the leadership at the Amputee Coalition can be found on our website.

Friday, February 13, 2015

Academic Scholarships

The Amputee Coalition is delighted to announce the academic scholarship opportunities for high school seniors and those currently enrolled in a College or University program and who continue to be enrolled for 2015-2016.

The Scott Decker, M.D. Memorial Scholarship has been established in memory of Dr. Decker, an orthopedic surgeon who resided in and practiced in Maryland. Although he served all patient populations, the bulk of his work focused on the pediatric population. He dedicated his professional life to providing orthopedic care to children in the Maryland and Washington DC area. 

After his passing in 1989, his family and friends established this memorial scholarship with the goal of continuing his legacy of service to orthopedically challenged youth. Application information and requirements for the Scott Decker, M.D. Memorial Scholarship is available on our website. The deadline for applying is April 6th, so don't delay! The recipient of this honor will receive $1000 towards their tuition expenses for the 2015-2016 academic year. 

The Christina Skoski, M.D. Scholarship is a $1000 academic scholarship for one full-time undergraduate student who is enrolled in a College or University program during the 2015-2016 academic year.  Dr. Skoski was a full-time anesthesiologist who refused to let her Hemipelvectomy, the result of cancer as a child, define her. This scholarship was established in her name to continue her legacy.  More information about applying for the Christina Skoski, M.D. Scholarship can be found on our website.  The deadline for applying is April 6th.

The Amputee Coalition is honored to oversee the Scott Decker, M.D. and the Christina Skoski, M.D. Scholarships.  These scholarships are a wonderful opportunity for those with limb loss who are enrolled in a higher education program during 2015-2016, and we encourage all individuals who meet the eligibility requirements to apply. Please feel free to call into our Limb Loss Resource Center should you have any questions about either of these scholarships.  We can be reached at 1-888-267-5669.

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

New Look- Same Great Resources

The Amputee Coalition is a premiere resource for information relating to limb loss. Whether it be through calling our resource center to speak with one of our specialists, by reading our publications, or by surfing our website, our extensive and up-to-date resources are always readily available.  We are constantly striving to improve our interactions with the community, so when we heard that our website could use an overhaul, we listened!

The Amputee Coalition is delighted to announce that we have recently undergone a complete redesign of our website. We may have a new look, but the quality of our resources has remained unchanged. Our new website has simplified accessing the information you need!
Our redesigned website features common sense tab navigation, allowing the user to quickly locate the information being sought.  Everything is organized in a logical manner, removing the stress when accessing our vast library.  From finding support to joining one of our events, all the information you need can be quickly found. 

Not only did we focus on ease of navigation, we also worked to create a pleasant reading experience for our website visitors. We chose a larger font size for our text making it easier to read while the cleaner, white background minimizes eye strain.The cluttered homepage has been replaced with a streamlined and comprehensive overview of our current projects while providing simple navigation to our library and resources.

From purchasing our highly acclaimed publications to requesting peer support, our website is ready to serve the needs of the limb loss community.  We invite you to visit our site and click around. We have a lot to offer!