Read the latest news from the Northwestern University Prosthetics-Orthotics Center. The links below take you to articles where you can learn more about NUPOC and our recent achievements.

  • Donaldson Exhibit Opens at NUPOC

    NUPOC features Donaldson exhibit

    At NUPOC science, technology, and art intersect. In recognition of the artistry that is vital to prosthetics and orthotics, NUPOC is delighted to announce the installation and exhibition of five abstract acrylic paintings by Jane Donaldson. Ms. Donaldson trained with artists Tim James and Katherine Hilden. She is a member of the Evanston Art Center and lives in Wilmette, IL.

    Artists and Certified Prosthetist-Orthotists (CPO) cultivate similar skills. A maxim holds that a good prosthetist-orthotist needs the triumvirate of “head, heart, and hands”. Superior cognitive ability, compassion, and hand skills enable CPOs to serve their patients well. As scientists and clinicians, CPOs are rigorously trained in human anatomy, biomechanics, behavioral sciences, professional issues, practice management, and independent research. To fabricate functional, comfortable, intimately fitting prostheses and orthoses, CPOs also employ a creative artistry that bridges science and technology.

    NUPOC appreciates Jane Donaldson for making this exhibit possible.

  • NUPOC Welcomes Jessica Yohay, Research Technologist

    Jessica Yohay, BS, Research TechnologistJessica Yohay, BS, has joined NUPOC as a Research Technologist. Ms. Yohay graduated with a BS in Biomedical Engineering, foci in biosignals and systems (University of Rochester, 2014). She has worked as a research assistant who interacted with stroke patients and managed multiple aspects of IRB studies; and as a research contractor who extracted cadaver limbs and muscles, attached sensors, and analyzed data in multi-trial experiments. Ms. Yohay brings in-depth knowledge and experience of IRB processes. When not working, Ms. Yohay enjoys overseas travel, annual jaunts to Western states for skiing, and daily walks with her canine comrade.

  • NUPOC Presents Comprehensive Course for Physicians and Therapists

    Stefania Fatone, PhD, discusses Normal Human Locomotion  Mr. Robinson discusses Partial Foot and Symes Prostheses.  

    Fifty-five physicians and therapists attended NUPOC’s 2016 continuing education course, “Lower and Upper Limb Orthotics and Prosthetics for Physicians and Therapists”. This year registrants were 33 Medical Doctors, 13 Doctors of Osteopathic Medicine, and 9 Physical Therapists, who represented ten states, both coasts, and Canada. Annually, this course earns high marks in attendee evaluations. The four-day program combined didactic lectures and live patient demonstrations that illustrated fundamental principles of prosthetic and orthotic (P&O) management of pre- and post-amputation care, biomechanics of human locomotion, prosthetic management of upper limb, partial foot, transtibial, transfemoral and hip disarticulation, orthotic management of knee, ankle, foot, and spine.  

    Mr. Brinkmann demonstrates lower limb evaluation.Pre-eminent P&O educators, clinicians, and researchers presented intensive modules. Specialists included Christopher Reger, MD, Steven Kodros, MD, Anis Mekhail, MD, Stefania Fatone, PhD, BPO(Hons), John Michael, MEd, CPO, FAAOP, Chris Robinson, MS, MBA, CPO, ATC, FAAOP(D), John Brinkmann, CPO, FAAOP(D), Bryan Malas, CO, MHPE, Nicole Soltys, CP, Kristi Turner, OTR, Katherine Martinez, PT, and David Speers, CPO. 

    Annually, this course is fully subscribed and earns high marks from attendees' evaluations. Mr. Robinson develops and manages this academic program with the support of others at NUPOC.

  • Improving Clinical Practice and QOL for Lower Limb Amputees

    Allen Heinemann, PhD    Stefania Fatone, PhD, BPO(Hons)

    Research conducted by Allen Heinemann, PhD, and Stefania Fatone, PhD, BPO(Hons), Enhancing Quality of Prosthetic and Orthotic Services with Process and Outcome Information, is in the news as a professional publication and again as the focus of an interview. The study investigates whether external facilitation of activities can improve Quality of Life (QOL) for lower limb amputees. The interview, “External Facilitation Could Aid Clinics’ Quality Improvement Measures” (O&P News, Fall 2016) is based on a recently published article of the same title (Heinemann A, Ehrlich-Jones L, Connelly L, Semik P and Fatone S (2016) Enhancing Quality of Prosthetic Services with Process and Outcome Information. Prosthetics and Orthotics International 1-7. DOI: 10.1177/0309364616637957).

    At participating clinics, patients who were prescribed a new prosthesis or a socket replacement completed the Orthotics Prosthetics Users’ Survey (OPUS) three separate times. Clinical staff identified and developed an action plan for lower limb issues that could be addressed, improved, and measured during the course of a year, after which time clinic staff concluded their external facilitation and evaluated the quality improvement programs that they had incorporated into routine operations. Feedback from the prosthetics clinics indicated that “clinicians understood the importance of monitoring patient progress and found the combination of function, quality of life, and satisfaction with device and services to be unique and valuable information.”

    This reesearch was conducted as a development project of the Rehabilitation Engineering Research Center for Prosthetics and Orthotics (2008-2013), funded by the National Institute on Disability, Independent Living, and Rehabilitation Research (NIDILRR).

  • Stefania Fatone Presents at AOPA National Assembly

    Dr. Fatone presented her research at AOPA 2016Stefania Fatone, PhD, BPO(Hons), attended the American Orthotic and Prosthetic Association (AOPA) National Assembly held in Boston, MA from September 8 to 11, 2016. Dr. Fatone and her collaborators, Michael Dillon, PhD, BPO(Hons) of La Trobe University, Australia, and Tammy Hoffman, PhD, of Bond University, Australia, presented the results of their AOPA-funded systematic review and shared decision making resources in a symposium titled “Outcomes of Partial Foot Amputation Can Inform Difficult Decisions about Amputation Surgery Using a Shared Decision-Making Approach.” They also presented the results of their work to AOPA board members and discussed future research directions.

    In a free paper session on “Treating the Lower Limb Amputee”, Dr. Fatone presented “Development of the Northwestern University Flexible Sub-Ischial Vacuum (NU-FlexSIV) Socket for Persons with Transfemoral Amputation”. Also, Dr. Fatone co-authored with Michael Dillon, PhD, BPO(Hons), Matthew Major, PhD, and Brian Kaluf, CP, of Ability Prosthetics the poster “How Well Can the Amputee Mobility Predictor and Basic Patient Demographics Predict the Medicare Functional Classification Level (K-level) in People with Transfemoral and Transtibial Amputation?

  • Stefania Fatone Presents at Military Health Systems Research Symposium

    Dr. Fatone presented at the 2016 Military Health Systems Research Symposium (MHSRS)   Ms. Tran attended the 2016 Military Health Systems Research Symposium (MHSRS)

    Stefania Fatone, PhD, BPO(Hons) and Lilly Tran, MS, attended the 2016 Military Health Systems Research Symposium (MHSRS) held August 15-18 in Kissimmee, FL. The MHSRS is the Department of Defense's (DOD) premier scientific meeting, providing a collaborative environment for military medical care providers with deployment experience, DOD scientists, academia, and industry to exchange information on research advancements and health care developments. Dr. Fatone presented “Development of the Northwestern University Flexible Sub-Ischial Vacuum (NU-FlexSIV) Socket for Persons with Transfemoral Amputation” in the Orthotics and Prosthetics Breakout Session.  To learn more about this DOD-funded project please visit the project web page.

  • NUPOC Hosts 2-Day STEM Program for Biotechnology Group

    NSLC Biotechnology Group, August 8, 2016

     NSLC Biotechnology Group visited NUPOC on August 9, 2016.

    NSLC students closely examined prosthetic devicesAs part of NUPOC’s commitment to educating and engaging youth in the STEM fields of Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics, the Center presented “High Tech, Low Tech, the Right Tech” to nearly 100 members of the 2016 National Student Leadership Conference (NSLC) Biotechnology Group. Following an orientation tour of NUPOC facilities conducted by Steven A. Gard, PhD, Pranitha Gottipati, PhD, and Lilly Tran, MS, NUPOC personnel introduced NSLC students to areas of research and clinical practice related to rehabilitation engineering, biomechanics, and Prosthetics and Orthotics (P&O).

    MDr. Major presented the fundamentals of gait biomechanics and biometrics.atthew Major, PhD, presented “Understanding the Biomechanics of Human Gait and Its Application to Prosthetic & Orthotic Devices”. Emphasizing the importance of using valid and reliable biometrics to measure human motion, Dr. Major introduced comparative biometrics, including the high tech system for human motion capture to measure dynamic forces and joint angles of motion and the simple, but reliable goniometer to measure joint range of motion. Dr. Major also compared the digital PEDAR and the analog Harris Beath Mat to measure plantar pressure. The students revisited and reinforced these concepts throughout the educational modules.

          Mr. Robinson explains how to use a goniometer to measure joint range of motion   Mr. Robinson demonstrates to NSLC students how to measure ankle range of motion.   NSLC examines goniometer

    Chris Robinson, CPO, MS, MBA, ATC, FAAOP(D), presented “The Human Foot-Ankle: Anatomy, Range of Motion, and Plantar Pressure Measurement Systems”. He discussed and demonstrated ways that P&O clinicians apply and interpret biometrics. Mr. Robinson taught essential anatomical terms and led NSLC students in movement that exemplified anatomical planes. He demonstrated and instructed the NSCL students to measure their ankle range of motion using a goniometer and their plantar impression using the Harris Beath Mat.

    Mr. Robinson instructs a student in using a Harris Beath mat to obtain a plantar impression  NUPOC MPO graduates and current students helped NSLC students take plantar impressions  Mr. Robinson, CPO, discusses the interpretation of Harris Beath plantar imprints

    NUPOC researchers, current MPO students, and P&O residents worked with NSLC students to record and interpret the data derived their static plantar pressure impressions. NSCL students interacted with young professionals who are specializing in biomedical engineering research and trainees in Prosthetics and Orthotics: Pranitha Gottipati, PhD, Lilly Tran, MS, Kate Binder, MPO, Katie White, MPO, and MPO 2017 graduate students Alicia Abbott, Zachary Block, Ann Levenson, Kaitlynn Pung, Miko Shepherd, Lauren Thomas, Heather Willets and Samantha Wright. This interactive module was made possible, in part, by goniometers and pens generously contributed by Scheck and Siress Prosthetics, Orthotics and Pedorthics (Chicago, IL). 

    NSLC student interprets plantar pressure data using analog biometrics  NSLC students compared data derived from analog measurement of plantar pressure  NSLC students interpreted data from analog measurement of their plantar pressure

    Mr. Linton, CPO, responds to NSLC questions about his experience using prostheses.Rebecca Stine, MS, manager of the Jesse Brown VA Motion Analysis Research Laboratory, reinforced conceptual information about the biometrics of human biomechanics and gait, showing its application using force plates, digital motion capture, and PEDAR, a digital system to measure plantar pressure. Jeff Linton, a Certified Prosthetist-Orthotist and a prosthesis user, demonstrated gait and Ms. Stine interpreted the images on a 52-inch screen. Mr. Linton answered NSLC students’ questions about the experience of walking and performing other activities of daily living with prosthetic limbs.

    Dr. Wu emphasized that simple devices may be the   NSLC student assists Yeongchi Wu, MD, with dilatancy casting demonstration.  Dr. Wu presented a demonstration of the principles of dilatancy

    Yeongchi Wu, MD, presented an interactive demonstration of “Dilantancy Casting: an Innovative, Sustainable Technology to Provide Cost-Effective Prosthetic Sockets”. Dr. Wu discussed the time, material and economic benefits of using dilatancy casting for prosthetic socket fabrication in comparison to traditional plaster based and CAD-CAM systems. Inviting student participation, he demonstrated the principle of dilatancy casting by applying vacuum to granules contained in a flexible container. Under vacuum, the granules inside the flexible container maintain a rigid form under vacuum. Illustrating the theme, “High Tech, Low Tech, the Right Tech”, Dr. Wu showed how to make a simple upper limb prosthetic device from a soda bottle.  Dr. Wu said, “Simple and inexpensive prosthetic devices that restore essential ADLs to persons with a disability can be more valuable than unattainable expensive, hi-tech devices.”      

    NSLC students learned about prosthetics at NUPOCNSLC students represented every region of the USA and several foreign countries. The majority of NSLC participants plan to pursue college and career tracks in biotechnology and the STEM program at NUPOC opened new possibilities for their future. Many students expressed interest and enthusiasm about possibilities in P&O and rehabilitation engineering.

    R. J. Garrick, PhD, developed and directed this STEM program and everyone at NUPOC contributed to its success. NUPOC appreciates Scheck and Siress for supporting the educational modules in “High Tech, Low Tech, the Right Tech”.

  • J. Chad Duncan, PhD, CRC, CPO/L, Joins NUPOC Faculty

    J. Chad Duncan, PhD, CRC, CPO/LJ. Chad Duncan, PhD, CRC, CPO/L, will join the faculty of the Northwestern University Prosthetics-Orthotics Center (NUPOC), Feinberg School of Medicine, the Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation on September 1, 2016. Dr. Duncan is a dedicated educator, clinician, and researcher who comes with exceptional career contributions to rehabilitation education and Prosthetics & Orthotics (P&O).

    Dr. Duncan is returning to Northwestern University where he completed his pre-residency Certificate training in Prosthetics (1997) and Orthotics (1999). At Auburn University he earned his doctorate (2008) in Rehabilitation Services, Master of Science in Rehabilitation Counseling (2006), and Bachelor of Science in Rehabilitation Services (1995). Also at Auburn University, he earned a Certificate in Rehabilitation Leadership and Management (2009).

    An advocate and prime mover in the growth of Prosthetics and Orthotics (P&O) as a clinical and academic discipline, Dr. Duncan was instrumental in developing the first master’s degree P&O program at an Historically Black College and University (HBCU). He successfully navigated that nascent P&O graduate program to full accreditation with the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health and Education Programs (CAAHEP) and the National Commission on Orthotic & Prosthetic Education (NCOPE).

    His academic leadership positions include Chair/Program Director of an accredited department of P&O, Interim Program Coordinator of Rehabilitation Counseling in the Department of Rehabilitation Studies, and Director of the Master of Science Prosthetics and Orthotics program at a prominent institution that numbers among the 107 HBCU.

    A collaborative and independent researcher, Dr. Duncan has published and presented his studies nationally and internationally, examining issues of self-efficacy, psychosocial aspects of disability, and prosthetics in the work place. Also, he has served in editorial positions for the American Board of Vocational Experts, Journal for Forensic Vocational Analysis, and the Journal of Applied Rehabilitation Counseling. Dr. Duncan has received awards for “New Career in Rehabilitation Education” (2013) and the “Presidential Citation for Support and Outstanding Contribution to the American Board of Vocational Experts” (2015). 

    Dr. Duncan is an active contributor and leader in multiple national, regional, and state professional organizations, including his service as President of the National Council on Rehabilitation Education, the largest organization of rehabilitation educators in the USA.

    Recognized as a researcher, educator and clinician in rehabilitation science and P&O, Dr. Duncan also contributes imaginatively and resourcefully to community service. At an independent living center fundraiser, he was a celebrity wheelchair basketball participant. At another fundraiser, he volunteered with good humor to be “pied” in the face.

    Director of NUPOC, John W. Michael, MEd, CPO/L, said “We are delighted to have Dr. Duncan become part of our faculty. His professional training and accomplishments in P&O education are fully consonant with the NUPOC mission and vision. We believe that he will make significant contributions to our ongoing efforts to grow and advance our clinical training and education program at Northwestern University.”

  • Thomas Curran, MS, Successfully Defends Thesis, Begins Engineering Career

    Thomas Curran, MS (2016), completed his degree in Biomedical EngineeringThomas Curran, MS (2016), successfully defended his thesis, The Effects of Foot-Ankle Components on the Mechanical Properties of Dynamic Response Prosthetic Feet, in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the Master of Science degree in Biomedical Engineering. Steven A. Gard, PhD, was his mentor and academic advisor.

    Mr. Curran packed June 2016 with new accomplishments. In addition to successfully completing his Master of Science degree, he began employment as a Research Engineer II at Rush Alzheimer's Disease Center (RADC) where he is working with Aaron Buchman, MD, Professor in Neurological Sciences, and Postdoctoral Fellow Robert Dawe, PhD, to analyze and further develop computer algorithms to obtain measurements of gait and motor function from devices used in field testing. Mr. Curran said, “The device I am working on right now is the DynaPort, a tri-axial accelerometer produced by McRoberts. In the coming months I will be working with the Kinect, produced by Microsoft.”

  • Jenn Murphy Wins 2016 Dale Yasukawa Award

    Jennifer Murphy, 2016 Yasukawa Award RecipientJennifer Murphy (MPO 2017) is the selected recipient of the 2016 Dale Yasukawa Award. Currently enrolled students in the Northwestern University Masters of Prosthetics and Orthotics program are eligible to compete for the annual $1,000 scholarship. The Yasukawa Scholarship encourages the awardee to participate in the Annual Meeting and Scientific Symposium of the American Academy of Orthotists and Prosthetists (AAOP).

    Ms. Murphy earned an undergraduate degree in Psychology and a certificate in Engineering Design. During internships she built skills toward becoming a successful P&O clinician, focusing on verbal and technical communication skills. She became proficient in MYOPro and Pattern Recognition Technology and explored 3D printing. She volunteers to support Hi-5 Sports and recently served as President of the Northwestern University chapter of Special Olympics.

    Ms. Murphy plans to use the Yasukawa Award to attend the national meeting of the AAOP to extend her knowledge and share it with her colleagues. Ms. Murphy said, “It is a great honor to be selected for the Yasukawa Award. As President of Northwestern University Prosthetics-Orthotics Student Society, I would like to attend AAOP conferences to learn more and report that new information to my classmates. This scholarship makes those goals possible.”

The Childress Fund

Established with a generous gift from the Childress family, the Childress Fund accepts donations that help to continue Dudley Childress' work by stimulating interest in rehabilitation engineering for Prosthetics-Orthotics.

The Childress Fund benefits all who are interested in P&O and especially individuals who live with physical impairments. We invite you to be part of this ongoing effort by giving generously to the Dudley S. Childress, PhD, Research and Education Fund.