DeAnna began volunteering in the O&P profession as a student while attending Georgia Tech’s Masters in O&P program. As a student, resident and new practitioner, DeAnna served on committees for NCOPE and the Academy before volunteering for ABC beginning in 2011.
Starting with the Prosthetic Exam Team Committee, she then went on to become a Prosthetic Examiner for the CPM exam. After five years as an ABC volunteer, DeAnna understands and appreciates the broader scope of ABC’s activities as well as the rigorous nature of the scientifically-validated approach behind the exams. “There is a great deal of time and energy that goes into what ABC does for practitioners and our profession” she explains.
In addition to ABC, DeAnna volunteers for a local charity, Stop Children’s Cancer, an organization that raises funds for pediatric research and treatment at the University of Florida Hospital. She is also a visiting lecturer at the University of Florida Physical and Occupational Therapy programs.
DeAnna attributes her desire to volunteer her time both personally and professionally to her parents’ compassionate influence. Since she can remember, DeAnna has seen her parents volunteer their time through their church, the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library, AARP, Senior Olympics and many other organizations. Their spirit of giving back and meeting people through service projects compelled DeAnna to get involved in various volunteer opportunities.
DeAnna’s practice emphasizes continuing education and volunteerism and encourages employees to teach and work with residents, interns, medical students and student volunteers. DeAnna finds it especially rewarding to work with the University of Florida Applied Physiology and Kinesiology interns who rotate through her office.
These students are required to complete a semester long internship regardless of whether they want to become a nurse, physical or occupational therapist, physician or enter the O&P profession. The belief, which DeAnna and her colleagues embrace, is that these educational opportunities will improve patient care in the future.
DeAnna believes that “working with students, volunteers, interns and residents keeps me renewed and allows me to stop and focus on really providing patient centered outcome driven care.”
It’s a lesson that she takes daily from her two and one-half year old daughter, who shows a passion for learning and enjoying the details of life that adults often overlook, from noticing the colors of the passing cars to counting the birds as they fly by. DeAnna sees every day as a new experience, one that can be absorbed and shared with others, saying, “We just need to stop and be mindful of the lesson.”