Some practitioners get involved with ABC through mentors. For others it is part of their company's business. And then there is Rachel Friddle-Johnson, who started volunteering for ABC as a CPM patient model when she was a teenager.
Rachel's grandfather volunteered as an examiner in the 1970's; her dad followed suit in the 1990's. Growing up, Rachel enjoyed the camaraderie she experienced as a patient model but never thought that she'd be in the business herself. Originally looking at a pre-med major in college, she found herself transitioning to O&P before becoming ABC certified and joining a private O&P practice in 2004. In 2010, she moved back to South Carolina and joined the family business, which she says has "evolved into a wonderful thing" for her and for her husband.
For Rachel, volunteering is part of growing up in a family generous with its time and its skills. She assists at her church and, in addition to her service for ABC (exam audit team, central fab facility accreditation subcommittee, facility accreditation committee and the exam development committee), serves as secretary for the South Carolina Orthotics & Prosthetics Society.
It is important to Rachel that O&P is never regarded as an "uneducated" profession. She explains, "Experience adds tremendous value, but we need the education too, in order to compete with physical therapists and others in the medical community". That means supporting an organization like ABC that also values education and continues to grow and evolve.
Rachel equates her five weekends a year as an ABC volunteer with helping the profession and its next generation of practitioners onto a pathway towards continued success. As a fourth generation practitioner, Rachel also hopes that her children will some day be part of the profession. She plans to introduce them to O&P soon – like she was, they're already earmarked as volunteer patient models for ABC exams.