A Conversation with John Kinder

In this issue, O&P News poses five questions to John Kinder.

Kinder is patient care coordinator for Ability Prosthetics & Orthotics Inc., where he has worked since July 2014. He spent 6½ years working in medical billing for radiology before transitioning to the field of O&P.

Kinder is also an elective amputee for 20 years due to complications from club foot, a birth defect and spina bifida.

He is a member of the O&P News Editorial Board and has served as an advisory board member for the Orthotic and Prosthetic Activities Foundation (OPAF) and a member of the PULSE leadership program with the Greenville Chamber of Commerce, an ambassador for Shiners Hospital for Children, peer mentor for new amputees, support group advocate, tester and research subject for advanced technology prosthetic devices and advocate and volunteer for adaptive sports and recreation. He is also a paracyclist.

O&P News: What area of research in O&P most interests you right now? Why?

John Kinder

Kinder: Orthotics interests me most because of the powered exoskeleton technology coming out to the profession. The applications of this technology have endless potential. The inevitable next step would be for it to marry into prosthetics and combine to make new and advanced devices, the likes of which we have only seen in sci-fi films. Biomechanics has evolved tremendously within the past 20 years. Who knows what can be achieved with the next two or three generations? “Disability” could very well become an obsolete description of human and animal mobility.

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

Kinder: I would ask new students to be diligent in their studies and compassionate to their patients, but also hold them accountable for their treatment. Sometimes it seems that there is not enough of an “interview” process between patient and practitioner. A lot can change over the course of several months in a new patient’s expectations for himself or herself, especially for new amputees.

Students joining the field should keep their patients’ efforts and spirits up. They should remind patients of their end goal continuously throughout their care. They should never look at a patient as a dollar sign. If this happens then they need to find another area of study … like robotics.

O&P News: Have you ever been fortunate enough to witness or to have been part of medical history in the making? If so, please explain.

Growing up as a Shriner’s patient and receiving dozens of treatments, surgeries, etc. throughout my life, I feel like the medical industry has allowed me to witness and experience some amazing and miraculous things. A 3-year-old boy took his first steps ever after having major surgery to help treat his cerebral palsy. I watched a kid roll on his side down a hallway with perfect ease, having no legs and one arm from congenital defects, just so he would not miss out on bingo night.

I knew a guy from Honduras who learned to speak English after 2 years of treatment for his bowed legs, and went on to translate for the hospital. Although small things to most people, I consider myself very fortunate to have witnessed them all the same.

O&P News: What do you enjoy doing to relax?

Every Friday night, I go to a hot yoga studio and enjoy 90 minutes of sweat-filled torture. The rest of the time, I like to cycle 20 to 30 miles through our city. With the right song, cool breeze and great sunset, you just cannot beat it.

O&P News: What is up next for you?

I hope to get more involved with the less clinical side of the O&P industry. There are programs sprouting up all the time. I would like to get more involved from the early stages of development of some of these programs so that they are molded appropriately for participants.

I have had a few opportunities so far, and it has become somewhat of a passion for me.

For more information:

John Kinder can be reached by email at: john.kinder@abilitypo.com.

Disclosure: Kinder reports no relevant financial disclosures.

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