Center for O&P Learning

What is the Center for O&P Learning (COPL)?

The general purpose of the Center is to promote research and education within the field of orthotics and prosthetics. Educational initiatives will focus on clinical education for professionals as well as external efforts to inform the general public and health care community on topics relating to orthotics and prosthetics, including as relevant to patient care.  Research objectives will include advancement of knowledge and technologies in orthotics and prosthetics, enhancement of evidence-based medicine research capabilities, and patient-oriented outcomes designed to ensure that the needs of patients are best served.

Download the COPL Bylaws

Board of Directors

  • Shane Wurdeman, (AOPA) Chair
  • Susan Kapp (AAOP)
  • Scott Williamson (At Large)
  • Don Shurr (At Large) 
  • Wayne Rosen (BOC)
  • Susannah Engdahl (NAAOP)
  • Christopher Wallace (ABC)
  • Sheryl Sachs (NCOPE)
  • Mary Richards (Amputee Coalition)

2020 – 2021 Call for Proposals

The leadership of AOPA, working in conjunction with the Center for Orthotic and Prosthetic Learning and Outcomes/Evidence-Based Practice (COPL) and its Board of Directors comprised of representatives from eight leading O&P organizations recognizes that there is a modest amount of original evidence-based or outcomes research in orthotics and prosthetics. Consequently, AOPA is interested in funding original pilot research that will lead to larger trials that may qualify for government or other research funding support in the following areas:

  1. Study/develop outcomes measures, evaluation of clinical benefit, and quality of life metrics related to orthotic management (Note: submissions should be pathology and/or condition appropriate, e.g. Stroke, Cerebral Palsy, Multiple Sclerosis, Polio, OA)
  2. Demonstrate methods to record primary health outcomes such as falls and lower back pain in amputees.
  3. Study novel innovations around choice of socket during prosthetic intervention. Factors should include cost savings, adaptability, patient-preference, etc. 
  4. Study the functional impacts and proven clinical benefits of vacuum-assisted socket suspension systems, elevated vacuum. Develop guidelines and clinical decision support for elevated vacuum suspension systems.
  5. Develop a validated instrument to assess prosthetic interface (socket, liner, and suspension) fit, comfort and performance.
  6. Documentation of the clinical efficacy of spinal orthoses as and treatment intervention for traumatic spinal injury.
  7. Study the current prosthetic prescribing patterns with respect to goal-oriented care and longitudinal clinical outcomes.
  8. Study health inequity/health disparity within orthotic and prosthetic patient populations.
  9. Study transitional care; changes in orthotic care as patient transitions from pediatric to adult care models (brace design, payer policies)
  10. Prevalence/Incidence of chronic wound progressing to amputation.

The above list represents the topics, identified by AOPA and the COPL Board, as areas in need of evidence development. Additional topics beyond those listed will also be considered for funding.

Applications for the 2020-2021 cycle are now closed.

Previously Funded Studies:


  • Leigh Clarke, B.PO, MPH, “Patient and payor perspective of the benefit of prosthetic interventions and services: informing measures for future health economic evaluations.”
  • Reza Safari, PhD, “Activity, Mobility, Social Functioning, Mental Health and Quality of Life Outcomes in Limited Mobility Transfemoral and Knee Disarticulation Amputees Using Microprocessor-Controlled Knees or Non-Microprocessor Controlled Knees in the United Kingdom: A Cohort Study.”
  • Jenny A. Kent, PhD, “Vacuum Assisted Suspension: The effect of residuum-socket interface integrity on perception and control in individuals with a transtibial amputation.”
  • Christopher Hovorka, PhD, CPO, LPO, FAAOP, “Quality of life, satisfaction, gait and motion control outcomes of articulated passive dynamic, non-articulated passive dynamic and solid ankle foot orthoses in hemiparetic stroke survivors.”
  • Geoff Balkman, BA, MS, CPO “Large-scale administration and calibration of a patient-reported item bank for assessing mobility of lower limb orthosis users”


  • Balkman, Geoff, BA, MS, CPO, “Development of a Mobility Outcome Measure for People who use Lower Limb Orthoses”
  • John DesJardins, PhD, “The Quantification of Containment Conditions Used for Directed Growth Within Infant Cranial Remolding Orthoses: A Pilot Study”
  • Sun Hae Jang, M.Sc., CO, FAAOP, “Normative Values, Reliability, and Validity of the Global Visual Gait Assessment for Measuring Orthotic Biomechanical Outcomes for Use in Post-Stroke Patients”
  • Shannon Mathis, Ph.D. “Gait Analysis Using Video: Defining K-Level in Lower-Limb Prosthesis Users”
  • Shane Wurdeman, PhD, MSPO, CP, FAAOP, “Prospective Falls Analysis Among Lower Limb Prosthesis Users- Understanding the Role of Prostheses in Reducing Fall Risk”
  • Eric Weber, CPO, FAAOP, “Longitudinal Tracking of Stability Events and AFO Compliance Among Stroke Survivors During Sub-Acute and Chronic Phases of Recovery”


  • Sarah Anderson, La Trobe University, “Comparison of quality of life in people with partial foot or transtibial amputation”
  • Brian Kaluf, BSE, CP, Ability Prosthetics and Orthotics, Inc., “Hydraulic and Microprocessor Controlled Ankle-Foot Prostheses for Limited Community Ambulators with Unilateral Transtibial Amputation: Pilot Study”
  • Sarah Chang, PhD, Northwestern University, “A pilot study to evaluate the effects of the hydraulic ankle-foot prostheses on standing and walking in K2-level ambulators”
  • Benjamin Padilla, MD, University of California San Francisco Benoiff Children’s Hospital, “The Effects of a Custom Pectus Carintum Orthosis on Dosing Response and Quality of Life”
  • Eric Weber, CPO, FAAOP, Hanger Clinic – Department of Clinical and Scientific Affairs, “Mobility and Global Health among Users of Lower Limb Orthoses: The Establishment of a National Data Base”
  • Chris Hovorka, Ph.D., CPO, LPO, FAAOP, Georgia Institute of Technology, “Gait and Motion Control Benefits of Custom Molded Passive-Dynamic AFOs versus Custom Fit Carbon Composite AFOs in Persons with Neuromuscular Impairment”
  • Kenton Kaufman, PhD, Mayo Clinic, “Prevalence, correlates, and risk of prescription drug use and abuse in individuals with above knee amputations”