A Conversation With Sarah Clark

In this issue, O&P News poses five questions to Sarah Clark.

Clark attended Century College for Orthotic and Prosthetic School for technical training and also studied biomechanics at the University of Minnesota. Upon graduating, she moved back home to Waterloo, Iowa, where she began working at Orthotics and Prosthetics One (O&P1). O&P1 operates under the same room as Clark’s family’s private practice, Clark and Associates.

Clark’s family has been working in the field of O&P for more than 70 years. Her grandfather, Dale Clark, CPO, began working as an orthotist/prosthetist in 1943 and her grandmother, Lorraine Clark, worked as a mastectomy fitter. The family business was passed on to Sarah’s father Dennis Clark, CPO, LPO, who began his career in 1977. Sarah Clark finished school and joined her family in 2011. She has managed and operated O&P1 since 2012.

Clark is part of the Waterloo/Cedar Falls Junior League, Kayak Club and Impact Outdoors. She has served as chair of the Pink Ribbon Golf Classic. She is a member of the O&P News Editorial Board and leads The Limb Connection, or TLC Group, an amputee support group that meets monthly at O&P1.

O&P News: What was the defining moment that led you to your field?

Clark: My father [Dennis Clark, CPO, LPO] took me to Walter Reed Army Medical Center. It was right then and there that the dream I had always had of being in this field would become a reality. I wanted to help people. We have the greatest profession out there. Having an opportunity to help patients reach their goals is so rewarding. With a lot of hard work and dedication, most of what needs to be done can be. Quality care and patient management play a huge role in the big picture for everyone involved.

O&P News: Who has had the greatest influence on your career?

Clark: My father has always been my inspiration in this business. His love and compassion for our field are nothing short of spectacular. He is a visionary, someone who not only thinks of great ideas but helps them come to life. His relationships with his patients and his peers are something I admire. This is not just a job for him; it is a way of life. Dennis Clark is not just my father. He is my business partner and best of all my friend.

Sarah Clark

O&P News: What are your hobbies outside of work?

Clark: I bike and kayak regularly. I also enjoy golfing any chance I get. I play with two sand volleyball leagues and take full advantage of the great outdoors. I have two nephews, Cayden (7) and Lucas (5) who keep me pretty busy outside of all my other extracurricular activities.

O&P News: What advice would you offer O&P students today?

Clark: Keep going! Ask too many questions. Get right in there and get your hands dirty. You will never really know what goes into the orthotic and prosthetic profession without knowing what goes into building the device. Any chance to shadow a practitioner or technician is a great opportunity to learn something new. Just because he or she did something differently does not mean you are doing it wrong; each person has their own way of doing things.

O&P News: What is next for you?

Clark: I would like to continue the momentum behind the importance of central fabrication. We [technicians] have the unique opportunity to assist practitioners in the patient care process. Custom fabrication gives all involved a chance to think outside the box and give the prosthesis or orthosis a more personal touch. I take pride in where we have come from and look forward to where we can go from here.

Disclosure: Clark reports no relevant financial disclosures.

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