Doug Jack, CPO
After completing an automotive technology program, Doug Jack, CPO, says that while he appreciated the technology and mechanical skills he had learned, he realized a career as an auto mechanic was not for him. While seeking alternative career options, a family friend encouraged him to check out Honolulu Orthopedic Supply, Hawaii, where the owner, Rodney Pang, CPO, gave him a tour of the clinic. The experience convinced Jack to pursue a career in O&P-that was in 1984. He then was offered a technical position at Ortho-Care, Arcadia, California, where he launched his career in O&P. As an orthotist and prosthetist, Jack continues to reap the rewards of helping people regain physical function.
1. How has your career progressed?
After working at Ortho-Care as an O&P technician, I decided to get my degree and become a clinician. I graduated from the O&P bachelor's degree program at California State University, Dominguez Hills, in 1990. I worked in California as a practitioner from January 1991 to February 1992, and then relocated to Montana in May 1992 to open my own practice, Northern Care, in Kalispell. I became board certified in orthotics in 1993 and in prosthetics in 1994.
2. Who has motivated or inspired you in your professional pursuits?
My uncle Ron was a generous person with the highest integrity and was highly respected. He wasn't in O&P but was nevertheless a person anyone could learn from. At Ortho-Care, I worked with Timothy Bulgarelli, CPO; D. Deane Doty Jr., CPO; John Sonecipher, CP; and Kevin Mohlman, CP; and each of them taught me so much. Marmaduke Loke, CPO, has generously shared his knowledge of triplanar management of the lower limbs. He shares my passion for helping improve function for people and has made me a better clinician. Also, I certainly wouldn't be where I am without the love and support of my wife, Lori. She runs our front office and is very busy with ever-increasing regulations.
3. What are your professional goals?
My professional goal is to be able to provide more efficient lower-limb orthotic designs. Current AFO designs result in inefficiency, overuse, fatigue, and destructive pathological gait patterns. These are the same designs that the profession has been offering since the 1970s. People with neuromuscular diseases are being grossly underserved because of the lack of orthotic advances. That has to change. I knew when I took the Oregon Orthotic System course in 1994 it was the way things should be done-taking into account the stance phase of gait and figuring out the security issues that result in pathological gait.
4. What advice would you give to someone entering the O&P profession?
Anyone just starting out should consider working with a mentor-someone who can impart some specialized skill or knowledge that sets you apart and can help make you more marketable.
5. What are your top priorities and goals when working with a patient?
We provide O&P services. I know that sounds simplistic, but we are in a very rural area, so we do a little bit of everything. That keeps it challenging. My number one goal and the first thing I try to convey to a patient is that I care and will try my best for him or her. That being said, I have realized that I can't please all of the people all of the time, but as long as I try, it gives me peace of mind.