Union Orthotics & Prosthetics Co. Celebrates Women and Girls in Science Day 2023
For International Women and Girls in Science Day, Union Orthotics & Prosthetics Co. is celebrating our eighteen women clinicians and technicians. In the traditionally male-dominated industry of orthotics and prosthetics, Union O & P is ahead of the curve. Half of our leadership team is women and over 20% of our technicians are women compared to the 7% industry average according to the American Board for Certification in Orthotics, Prosthetics & Pedorthics in 2019. Similarly, Union O & P pushes the gender boundaries as we fall right above the same board survey with 25% of our clinical staff being women. Continuing with the same trend, over half of our staff are women. Today, we would like to highlight two of these inspirational women, Jade Miller and McKenna Smith.
Jade and McKenna are both prosthetic technicians at our Liberty office in Pittsburgh, PA and they have been with Union O & P for just over 6 months. They both went to school at Douglas Education Center for the Special Effects Program. While studying at the program, they mostly used theatrical-based prosthetics which Jade stated gave them “the building blocks to learn and… [easily] transfer that knowledge… Everything [they] learned at school, even if it wasn’t specifically medical prosthesis. [They] were able to transfer that knowledge” into building prosthetics. Throughout their time here, they have continued to develop their craft through the guidance of our veteran technicians. Jade has really enjoyed the creativity of being a prosthetic technician. She enjoys problem-solving and developing new skills with each custom lamination. McKenna’s favorite part of the job has been the “constant growth from the field. There is constantly something new you [have] to learn… things are frequently changing and there are… different ways to do everything. It is never the same day.”
Jade and McKenna see that they are in a unique position being prosthetic techs that are pushing this gender gap and Jade explains that “We are still working to get things more equal” in the country. However, she has a positive outlook on everything “Because women can do exactly the same things that men can do.” As women in this usually male-dominated field, it is sometimes a challenge to find labs that aren’t subject to gender bias. After Jade graduated, she recalls the fact that “there [were] dental labs that wouldn’t hire women in the area. Thankfully with this field, at least with Union O & P, I haven’t had any challenges. Everyone here has been really welcoming. They were open to teaching me. My gender didn’t really stop them from doing anything.” Jade loves “being in a position of medical sciences because [she] gets to have a career, but also get to help people while [she is] doing it. 100 years ago, women back then, wouldn’t have the same chance as me.”
Union Orthotics & Prosthetics Co. is a family-owned and operated company with over one hundred years of service. We have always been dedicated to providing the highest quality of patient care with a professional and compassionate approach. Our services and techniques are continuously being upgraded to achieve the highest standard of excellence. Union O & P is honored to support the new wave of women specializing in orthotics and prosthetics that are bridging the gender gap in the field. We proudly celebrate our eighteen women clinicians and technicians along with the rest of our exceptional staff.
"Don't let anyone rob you of your imagination, your creativity, or your curiosity. It's your place in the world; it's your life. Go on and do all you can with it, and make it the life you want to live.” — Mae Jemison, Engineer, Physician, and Former NASA Astronaut