In 2003, while working at the Telemedicine and Advanced Technology Research Center (TATRC) within the U.S. Army Medical Research and Materiel Command (USAMRMC), I was asked to manage the Military Amputee Research Program (MARP). The MARP program provided funding to DoD & civilian researchers and clinicians who worked with patients at Walter Reed Army Medical Center, Brook Army Medical Center, & the Navy Medical Center in San Diego. The program was focused on learning how to better help our Warfighters who had suffered traumatic amputation injuries.
While many other funding programs have come into existence based upon the success of the MARP, Service members, Veterans, and members of the general public (domestic U.S. and international) still reap the benefits and improved quality of life from the early efforts of those researchers and clinicians.
I continue to work with many of those original researchers and clinicians, and though they may not know it, they have improved my quality of life as well. By way of example, it's not uncommon in this field to hear someone refer to a patient like, "He's a right shoulder disartic." Meaning the patient is missing his right arm from his shoulder. But years ago, during a discussion where such a comment was made, a senior clinician responded by saying...
"No, that's his injury; that's not who he is. The injury doesn't define him."
And that seemingly slight shift in perspective has stuck with me ever since, changing my world.