Russell Walker CP, LP Emerging Leader Grant


Teaching was one of Russell "Rusty" Walker’s strongest suits, so much that he intended to become a teacher. In pursuit of a teaching career, he discovered the O&P profession and in doing so, found a career that suited him immensely. O&P allowed him to use his love of teaching and mentoring in a different manner through developing residents. He particularly poured his knowledge and expertise into his company's resident program. Through supporting students in hands-on patient care experiences, his knowledge and love for the profession spread to others entering the field.

In August 2019, cancer caused Rusty to become an amputee after he elected to a below-the-knee amputation. Rusty was diagnosed with clear cell sarcoma, which originated in a tumor in his foot. His coworker and previous resident developed his prosthesis and supported him through his 16-month healing journey. He adored the fact that one of his own residents helped him walk again. On Dec. 26, 2020, Rusty passed away. He will always be remembered in the hearts and minds of his family, friends, and patients. To honor his impact on the O&P profession and its residents, Össur and OPGA are privileged to provide the Russell Walker Emerging Leader Grant.


The Russell Walker Emerging Leader Grant is co-sponsored and co-supported by Össur Americas and OPGA. It is designed to provide annual funding to a current O&P resident to attend and participate in two different events that are outside of the clinical setting and realm but are highly important to the O&P profession and the patients it serves.

  • The first event is the annual AOPA Policy Forum. This event gathers people from the profession to Washington D.C. for a two-day meeting, including one day of meetings with their state’s legislative contingency to advocate for better policies affecting O&P.
  • The second event is the annual Challenged Athletes Foundation (CAF) Triathlon Challenge held in San Diego. It is the mission of the CAF to provide opportunities and support to people with physical challenges so they can pursue active lifestyles through physical fitness and competitive athletics. The CAF believes that involvement in sports at any level increases self-esteem, encourages independence, and enhances quality of life.


Application period will open Jan. 8, 2024, and close Feb. 14. A selection committee consisting of five O&P professionals will review all applications, and the recipient will be notified and announced during the AAOP Annual Meeting, March 6-9, 2024.