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.

  • Remembering Edward C. Grahn, Associate Director of NUPOC

    Edward Grahn (1962) directed NUPRL from 1964 to 1972.   Mr. Grahn collaborated for 50 years with rehabilitation engineers to develop new prosthetic and assistive technologies.    Mr. Grahn working on an upper limb prosthetic device.

    Edward C. Grahn, BSME, passed away on January 21, 2016. Mr. Grahn was recognized for his engineering expertise, accurate mechanical drawings, and meticulous attention to organizational detail. Mr. Grahn was well-liked by decades of colleagues for his invariable kindness, accessibility, and modesty. For half a century, he contributed significantly to research and development at the Northwestern University Prosthetics Research Laboratory (NUPRL) and the Northwestern University Rehabilitation Engineering Research Program (NURERP). In 2010, he played an instrumental role in merging those entities into today’s internationally recognized, pre-eminent research and education facility, the Northwestern University Prosthetic-Orthotics Center (NUPOC).

    A graduate of Illinois Institute of Technology (1960), he served in the U.S. Army (1962 to 1964) and was stationed at the Army Prosthetics Research Center, Walter Reed Army Medical Center, where he was scouted by NUPRL founder, Clinton Compere, MD. Mr. Grahn replaced Colin McLaurin, the lab’s first director. From 1964 until 1972, Mr. Grahn directed NUPRL and was associate director until his retirement from Northwestern University in 2013. From 1972 when the directorship passed to Dudley S. Childress, Mr. Grahn excelled in translating research and development concepts into fine mechanical drawings that could be fabricated into 3-dimensional devices. Mr. Grahn worked closely with the lab instrument maker, Dilip Thaker, who often remarked that his drawings were unsurpassed in clarity and accuracy, resulting in better device fabrication and implementation.

    Mr. Grahn was closely involved in dozens of research and development projects for both upper and lower limb prosthetic and assistive devices, including 22 years of project work under the Northwestern University Rehabilitation Engineering Research Center (NU-RERC) for Prosthetics and Orthotics funded by the National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research (NIDRR, 1991-2013). Mr. Grahn especially enjoyed working with biomedical engineering graduate students who relied on his resourceful engineering perspectives to develop new directions, resolve drawing issues, and implement engineering concepts into tangible prototypes and functional devices.

    Mr. Grahn expressed a quiet passion for his work in rehabilitation engineering because designing prosthetic and assistive technologies enabled him to help improve the lives of people who live with physical disabilities. A direct beneficiary of Mr. Grahn’s engineering skills and enabling improvements was Ms. Margaret Pfrommer, a 25-year NUPRL member who had quadriplegia due to bulbar polio. Mr. Grahn worked collaboratively with NUPRL team members to improve her independence. The team maintained and improved the sip-and-puff wheelchair designed for her, developed assistive technology that enabled her to control lights, appliances, answer phones, take messages, and attend national meetings. Toward the end of her life, Mr. Grahn and the NUPRL research team collaborated with physicians to develop a rocker bed for Ms. Pfrommer to manage respiratory insufficiency due to post-polio syndrome.

    Through his work in rehabilitation engineering, including prosthetics-orthotics and assistive technology, Mr. Grahn contributed to a half century of improvements in the lives of people who live with physical impairment. A gentle and kind man, Edward Grahn is remembered with deep affection and missed by all his friends and colleagues.

    Information about services for Mr. Grahn are available at

  • NUPOC Announces 100% NCOPE-approved Residency Placement for MPO 2015

    100% of MPO 2015 in NCOPE-approved residenciesOne hundred percent of the forty-four graduates of the inaugural MPO class (2015) are enrolled in residency programs that are approved by the National Commission on Orthotic and Prosthetic Education (NCOPE). Comprehensive residency placement in NCOPE-approved sites is an important program outcome that indicates NUPOC success in training students to become professional and competent P&O clinicians. NUPOC is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP) upon recommendation of the NCOPE.

    Since its establishment in 1958, NUPOC and its graduates have been leaders in the P&O profession. Training in residency sites located coast-to-coast and throughout the United States, the 2015 MPO Class is poised to continue the NUPOC legacy of making positive contributions to the field of Prosthetics and Orthotics.

  • Stefania Fatone Participates as Faculty Mentor at TIGRR Workshop

    Stefania Fatone, PhD, BPO(Hons)Stefania Fatone, PhD, BPO(Hons), is a faculty mentor in the Training in Grantsmanship for Rehabilitation Research (TIGRR) workshop held January 12 through 16 at The Wild Dunes Resort (Charleston, SC). Dr. Fatone joins a nationally recognized group of mentors and consultants, including representatives of federal funding agencies, as faculty for this workshop. Through lectures and individual consultation, faculty mentors provide guidance in grant writing, clinical trial design, biostatistics, informatics, collaboration, grantsmanship, budgeting, and career development. One-on-one mentorship at the workshop maximizes the opportunities for learning and success. Mentees include junior and mid-level faculty in all rehabilitation research disciplines who are poised to become investigators of NIH-funded or similar research. 

  • Matthew Major, PhD, Presents Seminar

    Matthew Major, PhD, was the invited speaker at the RIC Research SeminaMatthew Major, PhD, is the invited speaker for the RIC Friday Research Seminar. Dr. Major will present “Exploring the Relationships between Lower-limb Prosthesis Mechanical Properties and User Performance for Clinical Prescription and Prosthesis Design Optimization”. His presentation introduces a framework for integrating mechanical characterization of passive prostheses, human subject testing, and numerical simulation to study these relationships and accurately classify prosthesis function in an effort to optimize clinical prescription guidelines and prosthesis designs. Dr. Major discusses methods of prosthesis mechanical characterization to inform research, clinical prescription and cost justification. He also examines studies that use systematic approaches to explore the effects of isolated prosthesis properties on user performance.

  • NUPOC Welcomes MPO 2017 to Onsite Practicum

    NUPOC MPO Class of 2017The Masters of Prosthetics & Orthotics (MPO) class of 2017 arrived at NUPOC to begin their year-long onsite practicum. The 48 students will apply the clinical concepts and responsibilities that they learned in didactic classes during the preceding year. In their first quarter, the students will focus on Anatomy of Movement in both classroom and anatomy lab, P&O assessment, and behavioral sciences.

    During the ensuing 4 quarters, MPO students will experience P&O practice for the upper limb and lower limb, and orthotic treatments for the head, spine and trunk. Under faculty supervision, the MPO students will intensively develop their clinical skills, learning to fit, fabricate and modify orthoses and prostheses for Educational Models who use P&O devices in their daily lives. Throughout the onsite experience and prior to graduation, each MPO student will work with a faculty mentor to develop special research topics and prepare a Capstone Project.

  • Awards Recognition in MPO 2016 Closing Ceremony

    Anna Avakian, CPO, announces MPO 2016 winners of the Yasukawa Award and the Tamarack AwardThe Closing Ceremony for MPO 2016 recognized Kate Binder (MPO 2016), winner of the Tamarack Award for excellence in orthotics, and Emily Tierney (MPO 2016), winner of the Dale Yasukawa Award, a scholarship that supports student participation in meetings of the American Academy of Orthotists and Prosthetists (AAOP). Competition for both awards is available exclusively to full-time candidates enrolled in the NUPOC Masters of Prosthetics and Orthotics degree program. 

    MPO 2016 students Eliana Biel (left) and Emily Tierney (right) are recognized for excellence in anatomy coursesRoberto López-Rosado, DPT, MSPT, MA, and Justin Drogos, DPT, PT, NCS, both of the Physical Therapy & Human Movement Sciences, helped recognize Eliana Biel and Emily Tierney for excellence in the anatomy course. Ms. Biel and Ms. Tierney each received a unique award in the shape of a standing human that was fabricated by Dr. Drogos on a 3-D printer. Dr. López-Rosado instructs MPO students in the study of anatomy. 

    See additional coverage about NUPOC and the MPO Class of 2016 at My Northwestern Medicine for January 6, 2016

  • Jadrianna Sobczak Presents MPO 2016 Class Address

    Jadrianna Sobczak delivered the MPO 2016 Class Address.Jadrianna Sobczak presented the MPO 2016 class address, emphasizing hard work, integrity, and public service through commitment to Prosthetics & Orthotics. She reflected on the stages of knowledge acquisition and reminded her cohort to rely on the collegial network represented by NUPOC students, faculty and alumni. As President of the Northwestern University Prosthetics-Orthotics Student Society (NUPOSS), Ms. Sobczak expanded and spearheaded many educational, service and fundraising activities, including inauguration of the Peer Mentor system for the incoming MPO Class of 2017. 

    See additional coverage about NUPOC and the MPO Class of 2016 at My Northwestern Medicine for January 6, 2016.

  • Masters of Prosthetics and Orthotics Class of 2016 Closing Ceremony

    Elliot Roth, MD, Chair and Professor of PM&R, spoke at the MPO 2016 closing convocation   Feinberg School of Medicine faculty presided over the NUPOC MPO 2016 closing ceremony   Mr. Brinkmann confers the Master's hood on Jose Luis Zavaleta Ruiz.

    Diane B. Wayne, MD, delivered a message to MPO 2016 from the Dean's OfficeThe Northwestern University Prosthetics-Orthotics Center (NUPOC), part of the Department of Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation, held a closing ceremony for the second graduating class of the Masters of Prosthetics and Orthotics (MPO) degree. NUPOC Director John Michael, MEd, CPO, moderated the program and introduced Elliot Roth, MD, Chair, Department of Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation and Paul B. Magnuson Professor of Rehabilitation, who welcomed family, friends and faculty to the event. Diane B. Wayne, MD, Vice Dean of Education, Chair, Department of Medical Education, Dr. John Sherman Appleman Professor of Medical Education, Professor in Medicine-General Internal Medicine and Geriatrics, addressed the convocation on behalf of the Office of the Dean of Medicine, Feinberg School of Medicine.

    NUPOC faculty, all of whom are members of the Department of Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation presided at the Closing Ceremony: Steven A. Gard, PhD, Executive Director (NUPOC), Associate Professor; Stefania Fatone, PhD, BPO(Hons), Associate Professor; Matthew J. Major, PhD, Assistant Professor; Bryan Malas, MHPE, CO, Assistant Professor; Christopher Robinson, MS, MBA, CPO, Assistant Professor; Robert Lipschutz, CP, Assistant Professor; John Brinkmann, MA, CPO, Assistant Professor; Michael Cavanaugh, CPO, Lecturer; and Anna Avakian, CPO, Lecturer. Other presiding faculty included Kristine M. Healy, MPH/PA-C, Associate Director, Physician Assistant Program, Assistant Professor in Medical Education-Physician Assistant Program; Roberto López-Rosado, DPT, MSPT, MA, and Justin Drogos, DPT, PT, NCS, both of the Physical Therapy & Human Movement Sciences.

    NUPOC conducted the student recognition ceremony to mark the close of the on-site practicum. Via distance education, the MPO class will complete final coursework and submit their Capstone research papers in April 2016 before they embark on P&O residency training followed by certification examinations.

    See additional coverage about NUPOC and the MPO Class of 2016 at My Northwestern Medicine for January 6, 2016.

    MPO 2016 students prior to the Closing Ceremony.  MPO students at NUPOC Closing Ceremony.  MPO 2016 prepare to enter the Closing Ceremony.  

  • Fatone Contributes to Online Learning Course

    (From left) P&O researchers Michael Dillon, Brian Hafner, Nerroly Ramstrand and Stefania Fatone at ISPO 2015Stefania Fatone, PhD, BPO(Hons), collaborated with a group of international prosthetics and orthotics (P&O) researchers to contribute a new online learning course to the American Academy of Orthotists and Prosthetists Paul E. Leimkuehler Online Learning Center.  Dr. Fatone, with colleagues Nerrolyn Ramstrand, PhD, (Jönköping University, Sweden), Michael Dillon, PhD, (La Trobe University, Australia) and Brian Hafner, PhD, (University of Washington), presented “Applications of best available evidence in O&P: What can we learn from systematic reviews?”. This webinar is designed to help clinicians find, access, and understand systematic reviews, how to interpret the results, and apply them to practice. Attendees learn how systematic reviews can inform them about the state-of-science in P&O. The online course is based on a symposium that was presented by Drs. Ramstrand, Fatone, Dillon and Hafner at the 2015 International Society of Prosthetics and Orthotics World Congress (Lyon, France).

  • Kate Binder Wins 2015 Tamarack Award

    Kate Binder (MPO 2016) won the 2015 Tamarack Award at NUPOC.Kate Binder (MPO 2016) is the 2015 recipient of the competitive Tamarack Award, an annual prize of $2,000 that recognizes commitment to and excellence in orthotics. J. Martin Carlson, CPO, FAAOP, established the Tamarack Award exclusively for students in their second year of the NUPOC MPO program. Mr. Carlson is a published researcher, teacher, entrepreneur, and innovator who holds certifications in orthotics and prosthetics (O&P) and degrees in aeronautics and mechanical engineering.

    NUPOC faculty evaluated and selected Ms. Binder based on her submitted essay and her demonstrated understanding of orthotic principles, patient-focused clinical care, and intent to advance the effectiveness of orthotic treatment. Ms. Binder said, “My personal and professional goal is to help others through the practice of orthotics. I feel honored to receive the Tamarack Award.”

    As an undergraduate in biomedical engineering at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, Ms. Binder worked for two years as an orthotic fabrication technician at Aljan Company (Madison, WI). “My focus on biomechanics has been an excellent foundation for learning orthotics and prosthetics. Also, my orthotic fabrication experience prepared me for the MPO program and I was happy I could use my skills to mentor my classmates.” Following her 2016 graduation from NUPOC, Ms. Binder will fulfill her required residency in Illinois. Ms. Binder said, “I want to become proficient in all areas of O&P, but I am especially interested in upper limb O&P, scoliosis and diabetic management.”

    NUPOC deeply appreciates the generosity of Mr. J. Martin Carlson for bestowing the annual Tamarack Award at NUPOC. 

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.