The National Association for the Advancement of Orthotics and Prosthetics (NAAOP) has released its latest webcast in which General Counsel Peter Thomas, JD, and NAAOP’s inaugural summer fellow, Nicole Ver Kuilen, discuss her fellowship experience. Ver Kuilen’s last day at NAAOP was August 7, and NAAOP could not have asked for a better experience for the launch of its fellowship program, Thomas said.
Over the past ten weeks, Ver Kuilen, who lost her leg to bone cancer when she was 10, shadowed Thomas throughout Washington, and traveled with him to nationwide meetings with various O&P clinics and professional organizations. She was also immersed in state government activities, Thomas said. From her 20-plus visits with the VGM Group on Capitol Hill, to meeting Democratic Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi and Senator Tammy Duckworth (D-IL), who has a bilateral amputation and is cosponsor of the Medicare O&P Improvement Act of 2017 (S.1191), Ver Kuilen said her “highlight reel is full of once-in-a-lifetime experiences.”
NAAOP also thanked the organizations that hosted Ver Kuilen, including, Stokosa Prosthetic Clinic, Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta, Hanger Clinic, Orthotic Prosthetic Group of America, and the Amputee Coalition.
Ver Kuilen has written a first-hand account as the NAAOP inaugural fellow, which will be published in the September issue of The O&P Edge. A photo gallery highlighting her experience can be found at http://naaop.org/gallery/2018-fellowship-photo-gallery.
“I would like to thank NAAOP, all of the hosting organizations, and the incredible donors who made this experience possible. They’ve added another highly engaged and well-trained advocate to the O&P field, and I’m ready to help as a soldier in the consumer movement, a policy advocate, and as a future leader,” said Ver Kuilen, who plans to resume her paratriathlon training and advocacy work.