Amputee Coalition consults in Department of Defense research reviews

The Department of Defense has announced two Amputee Coalition-certified peer visitors/peer review advocates have participated in research evaluation reviews for a new $10 million orthotics and prosthetics research project.

Retired Navy Cmdr. Robert Haas of Columbus, Ohio and Army veteran Thomas F. Coakley of Canton, N.Y. consulted with a group of scientists in the evaluation of research applications submitted to the Orthotics and Prosthetics Outcomes Research Program (OPORP), sponsored by the Department of Defense (DOD). The OPORP Orthotics and Prosthetics Outcomes Research Award (OPORA) is being offered for the first time in fiscal year 2014.

Both transtibial amputees, Haas and Coakley are active in Amputee Coalition programs. They were nominated by the Amputee Coalition for their expertise as certified peer visitors and peer review advocates. During the research process, they served as consumer reviewers with full voting privileges. The group’s mission was to help determine how the $10M for the fiscal year will be spent for the research project.

“The Amputee Coalition was pleased to nominate these two active volunteers for the DOD research program,” Susan Stout, president and CEO of the Amputee Coalition, stated in a press release. “As amputees and experienced peer visitors, they have expertise and insight that researchers and scientists need for this important work. We applaud DOD for honoring their input.”

Consumer reviewers are asked to represent the collective view of OPORP survivors and patients, family members and individuals living with these injuries and conditions. When they prepare comments, they are asked for their insight on the impact the research will have on issues such as diagnosis, treatment, orthotic and prosthetic devices, rehabilitation and quality of life after treatment.

Col. Wanda L. Salzer, MD, director of the Congressionally Directed Medical Research Programs, stated, “The consumer reviewers on each panel are instrumental in helping the scientists understand the patient’s perspective and provide valuable insight into the potential impact of the proposed project. They bring with them a sense of urgency and remind all of us of the human element involved in medical research.”

The group reviewed approximately 104 research applications. Scientists applying propose to conduct innovative research aimed at addressing research needs in one of OPORP’s program areas.


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