Orthotic and Prosthetic Foundations Merge

September 30, 2022
OPERF Contact:
Manisha S. Bhaskar
Tel: (202) 380-3663\
COPL Contact:
Joy Burwell
Tel: (571) 431-0817
Orthotic and Prosthetic Foundations Merge
Leading foundations focused on orthotic and prosthetic (O&P) education and research merge to form a new foundation focusing on the future of O&P patient care.
The Orthotic and Prosthetic Education and Research Foundation (OPERF) and the Center for Orthotic and Prosthetic Learning and Outcomes/Evidence-Based Practice (COPL), two organizations dedicated to improving orthotic and prosthetic (O&P) patient outcomes, announced today that they will formally merge into one entity under the name and management of The Orthotic and Prosthetic Foundation for Education and Research (The Foundation).
The OPERF and COPL board of directors recognize and value their respective histories and missions. Both organizations believe that merging will create synergies, reduce future O&P research redundancy, further the evolution toward a unified voice for the O&P profession, and increase the value proposition to their subscribers by enhancing and leveraging investments.
The two organizations began informal discussions about the merger in early 2020. “I couldn’t be more pleased to have been a part of this most thoughtful and deliberate process of establishing the structure for this newly merged Foundation to support the research efforts of so many deserving individuals, and to further extend much-needed support for O&P students,” said OPERF Chairperson, Don Katz, MHA, CO/L, FAAOP. “I cannot thank the OPERF Board enough for their unwavering support along the way, and especially COPL leadership for their sincerity and recognition of a shared purpose we could all embrace.”
The three-year preparation process resulted in The Foundation’s vision to achieve the highest quality of orthotic and prosthetic care through excellence in education and research. The Foundation’s mission is to advance the art and science of orthotic and prosthetic rehabilitation by:
  • Enhancing clinical practices through professional training awards,
  • Promoting educational opportunities through academic scholarships,
  • Strengthening the body of knowledge through research grants and fellowships, and
  • Inspiring excellence through the recognition of scholarly achievements.
“This merger represents the exciting and rapid growth of O&P education and research,” said Chair of the COPL Board, Shane Wurdeman,PhD, CPO, FAAOP(D). “It will create opportunities for O&P research, the profession and most importantly, for the patients it serves.”
The merger will be completed on September 30, 2022, and The Foundation will begin operation on October 1, 2022. Although OPERF and COPL will dissolve as of this date, all award, grant, and scholarship programs for both foundations will remain intact and will be fulfilled by The Foundation.
A transition board has been appointed to The Foundation for a period of twelve months, with Don Katz, CO/L, FAAOP, and Shane Wurdeman, PhD, CPO, FAAOP(D), serving as co-Chairs. The transition board will focus on establishing The Foundation’s brand identity and administrative processes and work toward forming The Foundation’s first official board of directors to begin its term on October 1, 2023. OPERF and COPL’s websites will be fully functional during this transition period.