The Institute is the brainchild of our founder, Arlene Gillis, CP, LPO, M.Ed. Ms. Gillis is a noteworthy O&P professional with over 27 years of experience, including 10 years as a practitioner, followed by 17 years as an educator and O&P Program Director at St. Petersburg College, Florida State University and Florida International University. Ms. Gillis has served on numerous Orthotic and Prosthetic boards, and committees, as well as National Commission for Orthotics and Prosthetic of Education, Chair.
Collectively, these experiences led Ms. Gillis to identify two significant voids in the O&P education, profession, and more particularly, in the treatment of members of the armed services who have lost limbs. Specifically, Ms. Gillis observed that O&P veterans benefit significantly from a holistic approach to the treatment of their injuries, but noted that the availability of such holistic care is limited; and Ms. Gillis recognized that a collaborative approach between researchers, educators and practitioners is necessary for the advancement of the treatment of O&P patients, the training and the education of O&P practitioners, and research and development in the O&P profession.
Mrs. Gillis first became interested in the field of rehabilitation when she was just 12 years old after her mother was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis and subsequently passed away. Determined to help other families who are challenged with any kind of physical impairment, Ms. Gillis eventually pursued a career in Rehabilitation and Physical Therapy. It was during this time that she discovered the field of Orthotics and Prosthetics, and it has remained her life-long passion to help educate others about the profession and develop competent O & P practitioners. Gillis leads an inovative team of O&P educators. They hope to have impact on patients, the profession and our students lives.