Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine

Northwestern University Prosthetics-Orthotics Center


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.

  • NUPOC MPO Class of 2019 Closing Ceremony

    The Northwestern University Prosthetics-Orthotics Center (NUPOC), Department of Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation, held a closing ceremony for the 2018 graduating class of the Masters of Prosthetics and Orthotics (MPO) degree. NUPOC Director John Michael, MEd, CPO, moderated the program, presiding for the last time before transferring the directorship to J. Chad Duncan, PhD. Mr. Michael introduced Elliot Roth, MD, Chair, Department of Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation, Paul B. Magnuson Professor of Rehabilitation, and Professor of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, who welcomed family, friends and faculty to the event. On behalf of the Office of the Dean of Medicine, Feinberg School of Medicine, Diane B. Wayne, MD, Vice Dean of Education, Chair, Department of Medical Education, Dr. John Sherman Appleman Professor of Medical Education, Professor of Medicine-General Internal Medicine and Geriatrics and Medical Education, addressed the convocation.

    The MPO 2019 class elected Leah Senator to present the class address and invited NUPOC educator Bryan Malas, CO, MHPE, to present the keynote address.

    Department of Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation faculty who also presided at the Closing Ceremony were: Steven A. Gard, PhD, Executive Director (NUPOC), Associate Professor; Stefania Fatone, PhD, BPO(Hons), Professor; J. Chad Duncan, Associate Professor and incoming director of NUPOC; John Brinkmann, MA, CPO, Assistant Professor; Robert Lipschutz, CP, Assistant Professor; Bryan Malas, CO, MHPE, Assistant Professor; Matthew J. Major, PhD, Assistant Professor; Christopher Robinson, MS, MBA, CPO, Assistant Professor; Kristin Carnahan, CPO, Instructor; Melinda Thorpe, CPO, Instructor; Martin Buckner, CPO, Lecturer; and Michael Cavanaugh, CPO, Lecturer. Other presiding faculty were Roberto López-Rosado, MA, MSPT, DPT, and Justin Drogos, PT, DPT, NCS, both of the Physical Therapy & Human Movement Sciences. 

    Mr. Michael recognized the great and invaluable importance of educational models to student education throughout the clinical practicum. Educational models, Ms. Jane Curry and Ms. Viva Henson, attended the ceremony. 

    The MPO class of 2019 distinguished itself by competing and earning awards for professional distinction. Kristin Barth, Maureen Connelly and Abbey Senczyszyn each won a Tamarack Award funded at NUPOC by J. Martin Carlson, CPO, for excellence in orthotics; Maureen Connelly, won the Dale Yasukawa Award, a scholarship that supports student attendance at the American Academy of Orthotists and Prosthetists (AAOP). Competition for these awards is open exclusively to full-time candidates enrolled in the NUPOC MPO degree program. Charity Smith was recognized with the Sam D. Benson Scholarship awarded by the International African American Prosthetic and Orthotic Coalition (IAAPOC).

    In addition to fulfilling demanding academic requirements, 2019 MPO students generously contributed their time and skills as volunteers in 20 events, clocking more than 495 volunteer hours. Congratulations to the NUPOC MPO class of 2019. 

  • J. Chad Duncan Named NUPOC Director

    J. Chad Duncan, PhDJ. Chad Duncan, PhD, CRC, CPO, is the incoming Director at the Northwestern University Prosthetics-Orthotics Center (NUPOC), Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, and formally assumes his leadership role on January 1, 2019.

    Building on NUPOC’s national and international reputation for excellence in research and education, Dr. Duncan advocates a forward-looking plan of continuity and strategic change that will lead NUPOC into the future. A dedicated educator, clinician, and researcher in the fields of Prosthetics & Orthotics (P&O) and rehabilitation education, Dr. Duncan will continue to augment best practices in progressive, competency-based student education; and will position faculty and student development to foster leadership that evolves and adapts to changes in education, research technology and healthcare. Dr. Duncan addressed his team at NUPOC, “It’s a great honor to be chosen as the next Director of NUPOC. Over the past two years I have worked with and seen the talent of NUPOC faculty, staff, and students. I look forward to continuing to work side-by-side with each and every one of you on the next chapter of NUPOC.”

    Dr. Duncan succeeds John W. Michael, MEd, CPO, who has directed NUPOC from 2009. Mr. Michael will continue as an educator at NUPOC, supporting and facilitating Dr. Duncan’s transition to director. Mr. Michael said, “It has been an honor to develop, launch and direct the MPO program at NUPOC and I am proud of our many accomplishments. I am delighted to transfer the directorship to Dr. Duncan. His commitment to the education of our students will chart NUPOC’s course for continued growth and shape the future of prosthetics and orthotics. I will be available as a resource when needed, but I look forward to continuing as a clinical educator at NUPOC where I will do what I love, teaching our students the discipline of P&O.”

    A NUPOC graduate, Dr. Duncan completed his pre-residency certificate training in Prosthetics (1997) and Orthotics (1999) at Northwestern University. A compassionate prosthetist-orthotist with more than 20 years of experience in the profession, he attained additional formal training for multiple P&O specific applications and systems, and has been an invited consultant for his expertise in P&O assessment and evaluation. 

    At Auburn University, he earned a doctorate (2008) in Rehabilitation Services, a Master of Science in Rehabilitation Counseling (2006), and a Bachelor of Science in Rehabilitation Services (1995). Also at Auburn University, he earned a Certificate in Rehabilitation Leadership and Management (2009). Dr. Duncan is an associate professor and clinical educator at NUPOC with direct experience working within the education curriculum for the Master’s of Prosthetics and Orthotics (MPO). In addition to presenting lectures and supervising students in their clinical practicums, he has served as Capstone Coordinator, Curriculum Development Coordinator, and Faculty Co-Advisor to the NUPOC Student Society. He also worked to launch a special interest society in the American Association of Orthotists and Prosthetists (AAOP), and serves as director of the Midwest Chapter of the AAOP. 

    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. His advocacy for professionalism and inclusivity in Prosthetics and Orthotics (P&O) helped establish the first master’s degree P&O program at Alabama State University, an Historically Black College and University. His attention to administrative process successfully led the 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).

    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 various awards, including the AAOP Outstanding Educator Award (2018), Presidential Citation for Support and Outstanding Contribution to the American Board of Vocational Experts (2015), and New Career in Rehabilitation Education (2013). 

  • NUPOC Supports the International Day of Persons with Disabilities

    International Day of Persons with DisabilitiesDecember 3 is the International Day of Persons with Disabilities, as proclaimed by the United Nations. Marked annually, this year’s theme is “Empowering persons with disabilities and ensuring inclusiveness and equality”.

    NUPOC trains P&O clinicians and conducts research and development in P&O devices that assist individuals who live with physical impairments. Prosthetist-orthotists and researchers actively collaborate with legislators, persons with disabilities and their representative organizations; and act as agents of change by promoting independence, mobility and inclusive values for all.

  • Jon Naft Presents the MyoPro Powered Orthosis to MPO Students

    Jon Naft gave a lecture demonstration of MyoProNUPOC welcomed guest speaker Jonathan Naft, CPO/L, who presented an informational lecture-demonstration about MyoPro to the NUPOC MPO class of 2019. The MyoPro exoskeletal robotic orthosis amplifies myoelectric skin signals that activate small motors that move the arm and hand, enabling persons with arm and hand impairments due to stroke, cerebral palsy or other neuromuscular conditions to regain functional use of their upper limbs.

    Students enthusiastically simulated wearing the MyoPro to understand how a patient might experience the device. MyoPro is the only product on the market that helps restore upper limb function for individuals with neuromuscular impairments. 

    In addition to MPO students’ enthusiasm about its clinical potential, MyoPro also is the topic of two collaborative research projects at NUPOC led by Principal Investigator Stefania Fatone, PhD, BPO(Hons): 1) Longitudinal Observation of Myoelectric Upper Limb Orthosis Use among Veterans with Upper Limb Impairment; and 2) Functional Assistance Provided by Myoelectric Elbow-wrist-hand Orthoses (FAME).

    A co-developer of MyoPro, Mr. Naft is Vice President and General Manager at Myomo; and the founder and president of Geauga Rehabilitation Engineering (GRE). A graduate of The Ohio State University College of Engineering and the Northwestern University Prosthetics-Orthotics Center, Mr. Naft’s clinical practice spans pediatrics to geriatrics, including expertise in cranial, upper limb, lower limb, and spinal orthotics. His innovative work has been recognized by the American Academy Orthotists and Prosthetists (AAOP), winning the Clinical Creativity Award (2014) and the Tamarack Prize (2017).

    Mr. Naft serves P&O professional organizations as an examiner for the ABC certification exam, a member of the American Orthotics and Prosthetics Association (AOPA) Coding Committee, a Past President for the Ohio Academy of Orthotists and Prosthetists, and provides peer reviews. Frequently an invited speaker at national P&O conferences, NUPOC appreciates Mr. Naft for speaking at NUPOC.

  • Kristin Barth, Maureen Connelly and Abbey Senczyszyn Win 2018 Tamarack Awards

    Kristin Barth, Tamarack award winner 2018  Kristin Barth, Tamarack award winner 2018  Kristin Barth, Tamarack award winner 2018

    Kristin Barth, Maureen Connelly and Abbey Senczyszyn, all members of the NUPOC MPO class of 2019, are recipients of the 2018 Tamarack Awards. The Tamarack Awards were established at NUPOC in 2014 by the generosity of J. Martin Carlson, CPO, FAAOP, owner and chief engineer of Tamarack Habilitation Technologies (Blaine, MN). Each annual award represents a monetary prize of $2,000.

    In December of the second year of their MPO training at NUPOC, students who demonstrate excellence in orthotics compete by submitting an original essay that details his/her commitment to orthotics. The NUPOC teaching faculty anonymously systematically evaluate the the essays according to a rubric and the Tamarack Awards go to the three highest scoring students.

    Ms. Barth discussed her commitment to orthotics. “I am passionate about patient-focused clinical care. A career as an orthotist requires constant learning and creativity. We can make positive changes in our patients’ lives when we make clinical decisions together with the patient. I think it is important to make the patient an integral member of the care team and create the best orthosis for each unique patient.

    Ms. Connelly discussed her commitment to orthotics. “I like to combine complex problem solving that serves each patient’s unique requirements. Orthotic management requires finding solutions unique to each patient. I have a passion for research, having worked in biomolecular engineering as an undergraduate and neural interface technology in graduate school. I will provide patient-first clinical care while integrating evidence-based research in orthotic management.” 

    Ms. Senczyszyn discussed her commitment to orthotics. “As a practitioner I am passionate about advancing the accessibility and effectiveness of orthotic treatment. I am particularly interested in ensuring accessibility to healthcare and ensuring that all have fair and equal access to treatment, including P&O treatment. I plan to continue to develop research outcomes that will contribute to the body of knowledge in orthotics.”

    NUPOC deeply appreciates the generosity of Mr. Carlson for bestowing the annual Tamarack Awards at NUPOC. Congratulations to the 2018 Tamarack awardees. 

  • Policy Night Focuses on Legislation and Policy Changes

     Policy panel participants: Illinois Senator Michael Gregory Connelly, Iowa Senator Jeff Danielson, director of Government Relations at VGM Tom Powers, and President of OPGA Todd Eagen

    Faculty and officers of the MPO 2019 Northwestern University Prosthetics-Orthotics Student Society (NUPOSS), President Abbey Senczyszyn, Vice President Emily Hanson, Treasurer Beth Petrovic, and Secretary Maureen Connelly, conducted a policy night at NUPOC. NUPOSS collaborated with the Orthotic Prosthetic Group of America (OPGA) to develop and host an event designed to help MPO students learn to initiate effective changes in policy through legislation.

    NUPOC policy nightNUPOSS invited four distinguished guests to participate in a panel discussion. Participants were Illinois Senator Michael Gregory Connelly, Iowa Senator Jeff Danielson, director of Government Relations at VGM Tom Powers, and President of OPGA Todd Eagen.

    Guest panelists and NUPOC constituents discussed how policy decisions influence the P&O profession and strategies that practitioners can use to advocate for their patients. Students became familiar with tools that will help them reach out to their representatives and discuss key issues. These skills will be valuable to P&O professionals who enter the field. Senator Danielson concluded, "As professionals, we cannot be non-participants." 

  • John Jacobsen Presents Gift to NUPOC

    NUPOC Directors John Michael and Steven A. Gard accept gift fo NUPOC  R. J. Garrick, PhD, accepts Dr. Jacobsen's gift to NUPOC

    John Jacobsen, PhD, presented a gift of his original drawing of an upper limb prosthetic simulator to NUPOC with the inscription, “To my friends at NUPOC”. Dr. Jacobsen, an artist, engineer and physicist, spent six months at NUPOC painting objects that relate to the human form and synthesize the relationship between engineering and medicine. Dr. Jacobsen’s drawing of a prosthetic simulator is rendered in a realistic style and will be prominently displayed at NUPOC.

    NUPOC directors Steven A. Gard, PhD, and John W. Michael, MEd, CPO, and project director R. J. Garrick, PhD, accepted the gift to NUPOC and expressed their appreciation. Mr. Michael said, “This original and realistic graphic represents an important learning tool that helps students and faculty better understand the experience of wearing a prosthesis.”

    An exhibition of Dr. Jacobsen’s paintings is currently featured at the NUPOC Gallery through January 4, 2019.

  • John Jacobsen Exhibit Opens at NUPOC Gallery

    John Jacobsen Exhibit at NUPOC Gallery

    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 realistic oil paintings of the human form by John Jacobsen, PhD.  

    John Jacobsen, PhD, artist and engineerFor six months during 2018, Dr. Jacobsen painted objects at the Northwestern University Prosthetics-Orthotics Center (NUPOC) that relate to the human form and synthesize the relationship between engineering and medicine. In addition to four paintings done at NUPOC, Dr. Jacobsen also shows figurative paintings and drawings of live model studies painted at the Palette and Chisel Academy of Fine Arts (Chicago).

    Dr. Jacobsen, an artist as well as an engineer and physicist, expressed interest in ways that P&O augments the human physical function when challenged by trauma, age or genetics. “The devices at NUPOC are intriguing for their mix of high- and low-tech. 3D printers and advanced polymers contrast with mechanical joints, hooks, levers and cables. Automated mass-production of some components exists in conjunction with highly customized items that fit each individual’s unique morphology and requirements. High-tech is not necessarily better tech.”

    Artists and Certified Prosthetist-Orthotists (CPO) cultivate similar skills. Good CPOs must develop a triad of skills: 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. They also employ creative artistry that bridges science and technology to fit and fabricate functional, comfortable, wearable prostheses and orthoses.

    NUPOC appreciates Dr. Jacobsen for making this exhibit possible. 

  • Stefania Fatone and Ryan Caldwell Teach the NU-FlexSIV Socket Course

    Fatone and Caldwell presented the NU-FlexSIV Socket Course at Ossur in Orlando, FL.

    Mr, Caldwell (seated left) demonstrates the details of fitting a NU-FlexSIV Socket.Stefania Fatone, PhD, BPO(Hons), and Ryan Caldwell, CP, FAAOP, taught the NU-FlexSIV Socket Course for experienced prosthetists at Össur Academy in Orlando, FL, on November 9 and 10, 2018. 

    Nine participants, including four international participants who flew to the USA from Italy and Sweden, attended the 2-day course. The course was a success for the participating prosthetists. Many patient models expressed interest in continuing to use the NU-FlexSIV Socket in their daily lives.

    To date, 194 prosthetists have received in-person training in NU-FlexSIV Socket Courses. 

  • Philanthropy at NUPOC

    Stefania Fatone, PhD, BPO(Hons), (center) conducting upper extremity orthotic research with research engineer Vasanth Subramanian, MS, (right) and volunteer research subject Ms. Evelyn Spivey (left).  Dudley S. Childress, PhD, discussing how myoelectic signals can control a prosthetic hand. Dr. Childress frequently offered educational presentations for the benefit of professionals, laypersons and students. 

    Read the new article featuring the impact of donor generosity at NUPOC: Philanthropy at NUPOC

    Corporate donors like Scheck and Siress; and hundreds of individual benefactors who contribute to the Dudley S. Childress, PhD, Research and Education Fund support research and education at NUPOC, ultimately improving the lives of people who use prostheses and orthoses.

    Please encourage your friends, family and colleagues to support our work. Donations to NUPOC may be made on the NUPOC Giving page.

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.