Center for O&P Learning

2021 COPL Pilot Grant Submissions

The American Orthotic and Prosthetic Association (AOPA), in conjunction with the Center for Orthotic and Prosthetic Learning and Outcomes/Evidence-Based Practice (COPL) and its Board of Directors, sought proposals at two funding levels for one-time grants, $15,000 and up to two exceptional proposals for $30,000 for one year. View the RFP topics and guidelines. The deadline for proposals closed May 14, 2021. Notification of award will be made by early Fall 2021.

This year showed incredible growth for the COPL Pilot Grant Program submissions. Not only did the number of submissions grow by 75 percent, but the number of proposals recommended for funding by the COPL Board and reviewers tripled. Because of the growth in submissions and strong proposals, the competition was incredibly steep. Eighteen proposals were recommended by at least one reviewer, but of those, 12 clearly stood out. 

Given this and the value research brings to driving the profession forward, the COPL Board has asked AOPA to pursue additional funding to award the full 12-proposal slate, equaling $239,537.50. AOPA has allocated $95,000 for the 2021 COPL cycle and has launched a targeted fundraising campaign in order to fund the COPL Board’s recommended projects. 

The Board of Certification/Accreditation (BOC) has answered the call for support and pledged to become a Key Funder for the 2021 COPL Pilot Grant Program Cycle. We welcome others to support this effort. For your commitment to O&P research, AOPA has prepared opportunities for recognition.

If you are interested in supporting this effort or have questions, contact Ashlie White, AOPA’s Director of Health Policy and Strategic Alliances at

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 Funded Studies:

  • Sarah R. Chang, PhD, “Develop Evidence-Based Clinical Practice Guidelines for Vacuum-Assisted Socket Suspension Systems”
  • Jonathan D. Day, “Non-invasive method for quantifying progress of healing after transtibial amputation: a pilot study”
  • Michael Dillon, PhD, “Describe the population receiving orthotic/prosthetic services using telehealth, and their experience and satisfaction with those services”
  • Erik Hansen, MD, “The Effect of Osteoarthritis Bracing on Community Involvement, A Pilot Study”
  • Natalie Harold, CPO, “Development of a Customizable Outcome Measures Electronic Toolkit (COMET)”
  • Rebecca M. Miro, PhD, CP, MBA, CRA, “Prosthetic, functional, and clinical outcomes among female amputees: A scoping project o include a systematic review and 10-year retrospective record review of female Veterans with limb loss”

More information on the grantees’ projects available here.

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”