The students and staff of IIOP attended Game 6 of the Tampa Bay Lightning’s playoff series against the Florida Panthers. The Lightning defeated the Panthers with a dramatic 4-0 shutout to advance to the next playoff round. For some, it was their first professional hockey game ever, it also allowed classmates from different cohorts to bond over the shared experience.
IIOP thanks the representatives from ALPS South for attending the game and for their continued support of the Institute and our goals.
The first graduation ceremony in 2021 was an important celebration that the students and staff certainly deserved after a very tumultuous 2020. On Thursday April 29th, the most recent group of IIOP graduates were joined by their families and friends to be awarded for their hard work and perseverance.
Our special guest at this graduation ceremony was Gary Miracle, who has a personal reason for wanting to speak to a group of aspiring prosthetists. Gary tells a story of life-saving measures and loss of everything but hope. He lost both his arms and legs after a severe case of the flu, leading to sepsis and a 12 day coma. This all happened so quickly, Gary’s wife had to make the decision to amputate his limbs to save her husband’s life. Even despite her quick decision, there was still a very slim chance that Gary would survive.
Despite these odds, Gary survived his illness and on Thursday he drove himself to the ceremony, flanked by all four of his children. He made our guests cry one second from his story, and then turn right around and laugh at his well-timed jokes. He spoke about the role that a Prosthetist can have in changing a human’s life, and some of the battles he has faced with his still-recent amputations. Rest assured there wasn’t anybody in attendance that looked at Gary as anything other than an inspiration to all.
It is always a treasure to see another group of exceedingly competent graduates leaving to make differences in other’s lives. We at IIOP wish the best of luck to the Class of April 2021, Master of Science in Prosthetics and Orthotics:
If you would like to learn more about Gary Miracle and his story you can watch the following videos:
IIOP is proudly teaming up with Lennar Homes to provide a mortgage-free home for one lucky veteran. We are excited to make a dream come true for one of our nation’s service men or women who selflessly served our country.
The students at IIOP are ceremoniously presented with their white coat sometime in their second semester before they begin learning in the clinical setting. For our current group of seniors, their ceremony came a little later in their journey thanks to the worldwide pandemic. Joined virtually by their friends and family, the group of seven soon-to-be residents took the oath to serve their professions with honesty and integrity and had a very special guest speaker to impart a bit of wisdom.
Steve Fletcher is a familiar face at IIOP since the ABC exams are hosted in part of the building. Today he was gracious enough to address the students about some of the challenges that O&P professionals can encounter and some of the stigmas surrounding the field. Of course, you can’t speak to a group of eager future CPOs without reassuring them that their field of choice is one of the most rewarding professions they could’ve chosen. We are thankful that Mr. Fletcher took the time out of his day to address the group.
It was a lovely ceremony and a beautiful day outside. Afterward, the students were able to relax a bit, throw the football and play a few rounds of cornhole. They certainly earned it.
On behalf of the faculty and staff at IIOP, we are thrilled to congratulate our 2020 graduates. With their families in limited attendance at the Westshore Yacht Club in Tampa FL, we had a wonderful sendoff for our seven new clinicians. Their next stepping stone will be Orthotic and Prosthetic residencies, but we will be seeing them again soon as they return for their ABC CPM Board Exams. We have the utmost confidence that each and every one of our new graduates will make IIOP proud, as they have during their time in the program. There have been strong friendships made and many lessons learned that will all be carried on to their next stages in their careers.
IIOP always very fortunate to have the support of fellow Orthotic and Prosthetic manufacturers and businesses. One of our first and most generous sponsors has been Orthomerica Products, Inc. Our neighbors to the East, Orthomerica has supported the International Institute of Orthotics and Prosthetics from its conception, and we are forever thankful. IIOP was thrilled to host several honored guests from Orthomerica’s team last night at our first ever graduation ceremony. OPI’s Vice President of Business Development, has made an impact in all facets of the Orthotics and Prosthetics fields, including marketing, regulatory, reimbursement, and patient care operations. Orthomerica Vice President of Business Development addressed our graduates and their families about not being afraid to take on new challenges, and about how the field has experienced changes with the entrance of new generations of practitioners. Also joining Orthomerica Vice President of Business Development, Orthomerica’s CFO George Arellano, cranial products manager Christina Hinton, and cranial services manager Rob Tetro.
As the students leave behind one chapter and embrace their new positions as residents, having the opportunity to speak with influential people such as our guests last night can go a long way. We hope that our friends at Orthomerica enjoyed the celebration and we are grateful and continue to appreciate their ongoing support.
It was a great honor to initiate twelve of the next greatest Orthotics and Prosthetics clinicians by awarding them their white coats. The white coat is a symbol of the care provided to patients and deserves to be respected and revered. Our first semester students will begin their training in direct patient care starting in the Spring, and when they graduate in December of 2021, they will be prepared to provide the highest level of patient care and make IIOP proud.
We had an esteemed guest join us, Rachel Friddle-Johnson, CPO and President of ABC’s Board of Directors, who happily addressed our future clinicians about their upcoming journey towards their chosen career. Motivating the students, she highlighted the recent changes to the board exams, education levels of clinicians, and the myriad of technological advancements that future clinicians will soon embrace. She spoke from a wealth of experience and history in the profession and graciously welcomed the students to South Carolina if they ever wanted to tour the Friddle’s Orthopedic Appliances facility.
The audience looked a little sparce, but not for lack of interest. COVID-19 prevented us from inviting friends and family from attending in person, but they didn’t miss out entirely. IIOP used the ever-popular Zoom to live-stream the ceremony to dozens of guests. Also present were the faculty and staff, excited to support this impressive group of students. Presenting the ceremony was Francesca Cicchetti, who had many words of wisdom while she and her classmates are preparing to graduate in a few short weeks. The “senior” class as we call them helped don the coats, and pinned their lapel, or as Francesca would say “help put on their new superhero capes.”
IIOP students were given the opportunity to hear all about Orthotic and Prosthetics residency programs, including how they will be tracking their patient encounters and what to look for in a residency. Chris Robinson took valuable time out of his day to present the ins-and-outs, and answer all the students’ burning questions. IIOP appreciates being able to connect the students with the organizations that oversee the residency programs, and are glad to have their continued support for the students. Chris speaks to the students every fall and spring when they are in their final semester, getting ready to make a decision about the next step in their O&P education. This time can be very stressful for students and they appreciate the support.
The mission of the International Institute of Orthotics and Prosthetics (IIOP) is to provide comprehensive academic programs that promote student success in a manner for which they can utilize the acquired knowledge, skills, attitudes, and values to be competent and ethical practitioners of allied health.