The "Save A Leg, Save A Life" Foundation began as the "Wound Summit Outreach, Inc." in October of 2005 founded by Dr. Desmond Bell, DPM and De Anna Bell, ARNP as a nonprofit organization based in Jacksonville, Florida.
Due to the frustrating amputation rates in the local area, the initial plan was simply to begin increasing the knowledge of home health nurses who were providing care to patients with chronic ulcers. Our first few programs were brief "lunch-and-learns" with only a handful of professionals in attendance.
Over time, we became aware of many issues that were having a direct negative impact on the healing rates of patients who had been referred to us. We became increasingly frustrated by the lack of evidence based protocols being utilized by the practitioners in our community, likely contributing to the dismal statistics associated with lower extremity amputation and overall poor quality of life for those afflicted with chronic wounds.
After attending various highly regarded national conferences on advanced wound healing, we came away with some additional observations and a clearer understanding as to some glaring problems the growing specialty of wound care and limb salvage.
Despite the research and development of new products and technology, and the increases in evidence based findings, the vast majority of practitioners revert back to old methods, or the comfort level of the anecdotal ways of the past.
We concluded that practitioners were either overwhelmed and confused as to the hows and whens of using new products and reverted back to old methods; or, the message of advanced wound care was only reaching the same small group of practitioners, who regularly attend national conferences.
With these points in mind, we decided to begin a "grass roots" campaign to reduce amputation rates and improve limb salvage techniques and wound healing in our region by educating our colleagues, first, through the development of a continuing education program know as the Southeastern Interactive Wound Summit (SIWS). The goal of the SIWS was to bring a highest quality program with internationally known and local faculty, to our region. By including internationally known faculty, expert knowledge was guaranteed to be presented. With locally practicing faculty members, our hope was that a greater awareness of advanced wound healing occurring in our region would be recognized by attendees, and would begin facilitating change by example.
The SIWS was intended to also be a truly interactive exchange of ideas and an opportunity for attendees to learn through intensive hands-on workshops. Our goal for the first SIWS was for attendees to gain knowledge that would translate into at least 6 lower extremity amputations prevented in our region. We easily surpassed this goal and have contributed to a reduction in the financial burden implicit in amputation and long term follow up care required.
After SIWS and the "lunch-and-learns" grew in popularity and gained attention in other areas of the country, we decided to launch our model nation-wide and transition our foundation into a national platform known as the "Save A Leg, Save A Life" Foundation.
Today, we are proud to have an increasing number of community chapters around the country and interntionally and have transitioned the original SIWS regional conference into the National Conference of the "Save A Leg, Save A Life" Foundation.
Please visit the "contact us" page if you would like more information about our organization.