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 Faculty to Present at Ohio AAOP Meeting

    NUPOC faculty members are invited speakers at the Ohio Chapter of the American Academy of Orthotists & Prosthetists Spring Meeting, held on March 12-13, followed by on-demand sessions available March 15-April 31.

    J. Chad Duncan, PhD, CRC, CPO, will present a panel, Spanish Guild, focusing on the Spanish-speaking population as the largest US minority group and projected to double to 137 million by 2050. Risk factors affecting this group include diabetes and Coronary Vascular Disease. Panelists will discuss how P&O can appropriately engage and serve this population.

    Stefania Fatone, PhD, BPO(Hons), and Ryan Caldwell, CP, FAAOP, will present Transfemoral Socket Design: Overview of the Northwestern University Sub-ischial Socket Technique as part of the day-long Prosthetics Workshop on March 13. John Brinkmann, MA, CPO, will also present at the Ohio meeting. Presentations are pre-recorded and played according to schedule, followed by a live Question and Answer session.

  • NUPOC-VA Partnership Improves Lives

    VA researchers, Drs. Gard,  Childress and Major

    A new website, Feinberg Celebrates 75 Years of VA Partnership, chronicles the collaborative relationship between Feinberg and the Veterans Affairs (VA) from 1946 and through today.

    Volunteer Gabe Gullia walks over forceplates, VACMARL Since its genesis in 1956, the NUPOC research program has been closely bound with the VA. Dudley S. Childress, PhD (d. 2014), was a prime mover in establishing and cementing the relationship. In 2002, Childress received the VA’s highest honor, the Paul B Magnuson Award for Outstanding Achievement in Rehabilitation Research and Development. The FSM site, VA Partnerships, prominently features NUPOC-VA researchers Steven A. Gard, PhD, Matthew Major, PhD. Also featured is The Jesse Brown VA Medical Center Motion Analysis Research Laboratory that is located at NUPOC.

    Unstated in the FSM website are NUPOC researchers who also have VA appointments: Rebecca Stine, MS (Research Health Scientist & Principal Investigator, Jesse Brown VA Medical Center in Chicago (JBVAMC), Manager of the JBVAMC- Motion Analysis Research Laboratory); and Research Assistant Paul Hammond, II, MS. Today, as in the past, many biomedical engineering graduate students and postdoctoral fellows conduct thesis and dissertation research at NUPOC under the sponsorship of VA “Without Compensation” (WOC) appointments.

    At NUPOC, some current VA-sponsored research projects include Characterizing the Gait Biomechanics of Women with Leg Amputation for Improving Evidence-Based Rehabilitation Practice; Design of a Smart Prosthetic Liner Controlled by Muscle Activation Feedback; and Hybrid Electrical-Mechanical Pump for Vacuum Suspension of Prosthetic Sockets. Visit Research Projects to learn about more collaborative NUPOC-VA research projects and the results.

    NUPOC researchers have partnered with the VA for 65 years to improve the quality of care for military veterans through development and delivery of prosthetic, orthotic and rehabilitative devices; training of medical and allied health personnel; and funding of faculty appointments, research projects and innovative facilities. NUPOC’s robust research collaborations with the VA continue to promote new knowledge that improves health outcomes and quality of life for veterans and others who live with physical impairments.

  • Brinkmann Completes Medical Educator Certificate

    John Brinkmann presenting his original work at FAME   John Brinkmann presented his original work at FAME. 
    John Brinkmann, MA, CPO, FAAOP(D), presented his original work, Assessment Criteria for PTB Impressions – A Delphi Study, to mentors and colleagues in the Medical Education Certificate at the Feinberg Academy of Medical Educators.

    Assistant Professor John Brinkmann, MA, CPO, FAAOP(D), has completed the Medical Educator Certificate at the Feinberg Academy of Medical Educators (FAME). Brinkmann was accepted into the Medical Educator Certificate (MEC) program for Feinberg faculty instructors in 2016. The development program includes mentorship by FAME leaders and access to an array of tools and opportunities. The program goals are to develop educator skills, recognize teaching excellence, offer new, cross-disciplinary knowledge, and enhance opportunities for collegial networking and collaboration.

    Working with FAME mentors, Brinkmann systematically engaged in workshops, lectures and classroom resources that focus on contemporary principles of curriculum design, meaningful feedback, and the measurement of learning outcomes. During the teaching observation requirement, Brinkmann collaborated with Rachel Tappan, MPT, Department of Physical Therapy and Human Movement Sciences. Brinkmann said, “I’ve appreciated the strong emphasis that the FAME faculty place on the interpersonal aspects of education and working together as a team. This process provided insight into how our teaching at NUPOC could be improved in specific ways.”

    In partial fulfillment of the MEC, Brinkmann completed a research project involving a novel approach to investigating assessment of a clinical task in prosthetic education. Educators from schools within the US and several foreign countries participated in a Delphi process, which iteratively surveys experts to identify consensus about a topic. He presented his original material as a lecture to his mentors and MEC cohort, Assessment Criteria for PTB Impressions – A Delphi Study (Feinberg Academy of Medical Educators, TIME Lecture: TIME-ly Projects from the Medical Educator Certificate Program, July 16, 2019). Based on this work, Brinkmann and his co-authors have submitted an article for publication in a peer-reviewed journal. “Working with Keirra Falbo, CPO, a 2018 NUPOC MPO graduate, and Sara Morgan, PhD, CPO, a researcher at the University of Washington MPO program, reinforced the importance of collaboration in education and research. This project was a success because of their contributions.”

    Brinkmann reflected that his active participation in FAME has enriched his experience as an educator. “I’ve attended TIME lectures and Faculty Development Workshops since I joined the NUPOC faculty, and they have been an important part of my development as an educator. The Medical Educator Certificate program provided a structured opportunity to hear regularly from nationally and internationally recognized medical education experts, including those from within the Northwestern community. Reading peer reviewed articles and listening to podcasts about medical education was a great way to stay up to date with current trends in medical education.”

    Brinkman is a strong proponent of life-long education and he builds new knowledge on a strong foundation. He earned his Bachelor of Science degree in Prosthetics & Orthotics (1990) at the School of Allied Health, University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center (Dallas, TX); and completed P&O clinical rotations at Texas Scottish Rite Children’s Hospital, Baylor University Medical Center, and Dallas Rehabilitation Institute. After completing residencies in Iowa and South Carolina, Brinkmann passed his Boards and worked as a clinical CPO and practice manager until 2012 when he joined NUPOC. He holds a MA in theological studies (2007), ethical principles that inform his interactions with students, patients and others. At Northwestern University, Brinkmann was accepted into the 2013-2014 Searle Teaching Fellows Program; and in 2016, he was selected as a John X. Thomas, Jr., PhD, Best Teachers of Feinberg awardee.

    Brinkmann has completed and taught numerous continuing education courses in management, clinical techniques and P&O certificate courses offered by the American Academy of Orthotists & Prosthetists (AAOP). He is recognized by AAOP as a Fellow with Distinction and actively contributes to P&O professional journals and societies.

    Brinkmann is eager to incorporate his MEC knowledge to further augment didactic methodology at NUPOC. “The NUPOC faculty constantly discuss how to improve our teaching and the content covered in the MEC program is directly relevant to what we do at NUPOC every day. Each element of the Medical Educator Certificate program has helped to further my professional development and supports education objectives within NUPOC and the Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation.

  • Editorial Recaps Editor-in-Chief Contributions to POI

    Stefania Fatone, PhD, BPO(Hons)Immediate Past Editors-in-Chief of Prosthetics and Orthotics International  Stefania Fatone, PhD, Michael Dillon, PhD, Brian Hafner, PhD, and Nerrolyn Ramstrand, PhD, have published a retrospective editorial that details their initiatives to advance the journal during their term of service.

    Highlights of their efforts include editorials in each POI issue that addressed contemporary issues about publishing research data. The editors systematically encouraged excellence in peer review by developing peer-review guidelines; implementing a training process and mentoring for neophyte reviewers; and recognizing the vital contribution of peer reviewers with the 2020 SAGE Elite Reviewer Award. To celebrate the 50th anniversary of the International Society for Prosthetics and Orthotics (ISPO), the editors facilitated a special issue of POI. They also successfully managed the transition of POI to a digital journal and from SAGE to the new publisher, Wolters Kluwer.

    During their two-year tenure as Editors-in-Chief, Fatone, Dillon, Hafner and Ramstrand initiated judicious restructuring of manuscript submission, review and selection that has resulted in a corresponding improvement of POI’s content quality, key performance metrics and impact.

  • NUPOC Welcomes Nicole Hoffmann, BS

    Nicole Hoffmann, BSNicole Hoffmann, BS, has joined NUPOC as a Master’s student in Biomedical Engineering (BME). She will develop her thesis and work under the mentorship of Matthew Major, PhD. In partial fulfillment of her Master’s degree at Northwestern, she will contribute to the research project, Hybrid Electrical-Mechanical Pump for Vacuum Suspension of Prosthetic Sockets. She will conduct structural analysis, human subjects testing of vacuum pump prototypes, and assist in design refinements.  

    Ms. Hoffmann completed her BS at Northern Illinois University (NIU, DeKalb, IL) in Electrical Engineering with emphases in BME and Applied Mathematics. Her undergraduate research project focused on creating nanoparticles and testing their absorption rate in pancreatic cancer cells. Reflecting her early determination to become and astronaut, her work in nanoparticles and BME reflects her interest in the effects of zero gravity on human physiology. Ms. Hoffmann said, “From childhood, I knew that I wanted to be an astronaut. Nanoparticle research is highly relevant because it can be applied to counteract bone and muscle atrophy in zero gravity.” 

    As a McKearn Fellow, Presidential Scholar and member of the NIU Honors Program, Ms. Hoffmann was a Research Assistant in the NIU Research Rookies program, where she conducted literature reviews, assisted with lab experiments, wrote proposals and conducted independent research. She also parlayed her scientific skills toward leadership roles. At NIU, she was a Peer Mentor who provided support, review and feedback for student researchers; and she founded the Biomedical Engineering Success Team. In a volunteer capacity, Ms. Hoffmann made time to contribute to the quality of patient care at a community hospital.

    Her leisure activities include sky diving at Sky Dive Chicago and piloting aircraft through the Chicago Executive Flight School.  

    Welcome to NUPOC, Nicole!

  • Stefania Fatone, PhD, and Ryan Caldwell, CP, Present at Hanger LIVE

    Hanger LIVE 2021Stefania Fatone, PhD, BPO(Hons), and Ryan Caldwell, CP, were invited to present Transfemoral Socket Design: Northwestern University Sub-ischial Socket Technique as part of the Hanger LIVE virtual meeting held on February 4 and 5.

    Mr. Caldwell presented the lecture due to technical issues that prevented Dr. Fatone from joining the session until the post-lecture 30-minute Q&A. Fatone and Caldwell answered questions about what to expect when transitioning patients to the sub-ischial socket, how to deal with adductor rolls, expectations about dynamic alignment, selection of liners and patients that are appropriate for this socket. Time constraints prevented answering many more questions. Questions indicated an active clinical interest in the socket design and a desire for hands-on NU Flex-SIV Socket training. Seventy five participants joined the Fatone and Caldwell educational session.

    Throughout the year, Hanger offers their employees on-demand educational courses where clinicians gain new knowledge and continuing education units. To ensure employee participation in Hanger Live, nationwide Hanger Clinics are closed for business during the two day symposium. Hanger plans to provide hands-on NU Flex-SIV Socket training in the post-COVID future.

  • Fatone and Collaborative Sensor Research Featured

    Professor Stefania Fatone, PhD, BPO(Hons)Professor Stefania Fatone, PhD, BPO(Hons), was Co-Principal Investigator, with McCormick engineers Yongang Huang, PhD, and John Rogers, PhD, (Northwestern University); and Todd Coleman, PhD, (University of California-San Diego), on the research project, Interface Monitoring System to Promote Residual Limb Health.

    This project developed a noninvasive, wireless, flexible sensor that applies to the surface of a person’s residual limb and provides continuous monitoring of pressure and temperature within the harsh environment of a prosthetic socket. Dr. Fatone said, “The flexible sensors must adhere to the skin and perform accurately within the socket, where pressure, shear forces, high temperature, humidity and layers of material could potentially disrupt data transmission.” Fatone and the research team tested this novel sensor technology on transtibial and transfemoral subjects. The sensors accurately and continuously transmitted pressure and temperature data. Fatone said, “These initial findings suggest a need for future research in flexible sensor data transfer and potential clinical applications in the field of Prosthetics and Orthotics.”

    Findings are published in the research article, Wireless Sensors for Continuous, Multimodal Measurements at the Skin Interface with Lower Limb Prostheses in Science Translational Medicine, 12(574) eabc4327, December 2020. Article co-authors are Kwak JW, Han M, Xie Z, Chung HU, Lee JY, Avila R, Yohay J, Chen X, Liang C, Patel M, Jung I, Kim J, Namkoong M, Kwon K, Guo X, Ogle C, Grande D, Ryu D, Kim DH, Madhvapathy S, Liu C, Yang DS, Park Y, Caldwell R, Banks A, Xu S, Huang Y, Fatone S, Rogers JA.

    This collaborative research is featured on the Northwestern Medicine News Center, Novel Device Provides Continuous Monitoring of Skin, Prostheses (Rohman M, January 22, 2021.)

  • NUPOC Welcomes MPO 2022 to Onsite Practicum

    MPO 2022 Orientation

    MPO 2022 begins onsite practicumStudents in the MPO class of 2022 met their instructors in person and began their year-long, supervised Prosthetics and Orthotics practicum onsite at NUPOC. The forty-eight students knew their fellow students and instructors from their 2020 Zoom orientation meeting and months of intensive, online didactic study. This cohort comes from coast to coast and throughout the United States representing 23 states and 40 universities. Women represent a great majority of the class.

    The most popular undergraduate degrees among this cohort are Biomedical Engineering, Exercise Science, Kinesiology and Health Sciences; but their training includes a breadth of science-related disciplines that include nursing, public health, biology, physiology and many others. Three individuals have attained graduate degrees and some have worked as P&O fitters or technicians.

    MPO 2022 begins onsite practicum at NUPOCCompliant with Northwestern University’s COVID-19 safety protocols, the NUPOC MPO students are prepared and eager to attain new clinical skills. Their shared objective is the successful completion of the clinical practicum, bringing them a step closer to professional qualifications that will enable them to improve the lives of people who live with neuro-muscular and skeletal impairments.

    NUPOC welcomes the MPO class of 2022!

  • NUPOC Celebrates Half Century Ties with ISPO

    ISPO celebrates 50th Anniversary

    ISPO 50th AnniversaryIn 2020, ISPO is commemorating its 50th anniversary and has published a Prosthetics-Orthotics International (POI) Special Issue (Volume 44, Number 6, December 2020). The POI Special Issue pays tribute to the role of ISPO in developing P&O knowledge over the past 50 years. As a Co-Editor-in-Chief of POI, Stefania Fatone, PhD, BPO(Hons), supported the development of the POI Special Issue, along with Co-Editors-in-Chief Drs. Michael Dillon, Brian Hafner, and Nerrolyn Ramstrand.

    NUPOC joins in celebrating ISPO’s half century. During this past 50 years, NUPOC personnel have been prominent in developing and contributing significantly to ISPO’s scientific, educational and research programs. The shared objectives of NUPOC and ISPO advance technology and knowledge about prostheses and orthoses; educate prosthetist-orthotists and biomedical engineers; and improve the quality of life for people with reduced mobility. Notable, but not exhaustive, among NUPOC’s ISPO-related activities are:

    Dudley S. Childress, PhD, established strong ties with ISPODudley S. Childress, PhD, worked to establish strong and lasting ties with ISPO and its international members. In 1992, Dr. Childress was Secretary General of the 7th World Congress of ISPO in Chicago, IL, when he and lab personnel planned and hosted the ISPO scientific program and associated activities.

    Yeongchi Wu, MD, physician, researcher, innovator, prosthetistYeongchi Wu, MD, physician,innovative researcher, patent holder, and prosthetist, served as Vice General Manager for the ISPO 7th World Congress (1992). The Yeongchi Wu International Education Award was established by Sepp Heim and Daniel Blocka at the ISPO World Congress (2004) to honor Yeongchi Wu, MD, for his effort and contribution to improve prosthetic services in developing countries. In 2010, Dr. Wu’s creative work in P&O was awarded Best Paper for Technical Innovation at the 14th ISPO World Congress (Germany).

    John W. Michael, CPONUPOC immediate past director John W. Michael, CPO, served on the Steering Committee for the ISPO 7th World Congress, Advisor to Latin American ISPO Association (1996-2004), Honorary Secretary of ISPO, and as chair, chair emeritus, and treasurer of the U.S. Member Society of ISPO. 

    Stefania Fatone, PhD, BPO(Hons)Stefania Fatone, PhD, BPO(Hons), has served as a Co-Editor-in-Chief of Prosthetics Orthotics International (POI) from January 1, 2019, and on the Editorial Board since 2011. Dr. Fatone also served on the ISPO World Congress Scientific Committee for the ISPO 17th World Congress, (2019, Japan) and currently serves on the ISPO World Congress Scientific Committee for the ISPO 18th World Congress to be held in 2021. She was an invited speaker at ISPO Canada (2009), ISPO Australia (2012), ISPO Norway (2013), ISPO European Congress (2016), and was shortlisted for the ISPO Blatchford Prize (2017).

    Matthew Major, PhDMatthew Major, PhD, has served on the UK ISPO Technical Programme Committee, the ISPO Canada Scientific Committee, and delivered an invited keynote presentation at the joint Annual General Meeting and Educational Session of ISPO Canada and the Ontario Association of Prosthetics and Orthotics (2020). He is slated to deliver the keynote lecture at the ISPO 18th World Congress in 2021.  

    J. Chad Duncan, PhD, CPOJ. Chad Duncan, PhD, chaired the 2020 U.S. ISPO Pacific Rim Conference.

  • NUPOC Launches Newsletter

    NUPOC Newsletter masthead

    We are pleased to announce the successful launch of NUPOC News to nearly 900 NUPOC stakeholders. The digitally distributed newsletter is slated for semiannual publication in June and December.

    Subscription is free to all who are interested in Prosthetics and Orthotics (P&O). The newsletter is designed to inform NUPOC stakeholders about our programs, people and products. Each issue will highlight novel developments in NUPOC education and research, including links to our new publications that can improve clinical practice and knowledge among P&O clinicians and consumers.

    The newsletter will also offer our alumni opportunities to re-engage with NUPOC. With more than 50 years of successful education and research programs, we have a network alumni who graduated from the P&O blended learning certificates, Master of Prosthetics and Orthotics (MPO), and the biomedical engineering degree programs. We are eager to engage with this vitally important population of P&O leaders, clinicians and educators. NUPOC shares professional interests and objectives with our alumni and we invite their broader participation and support.

    Look for a new issue of NUPOC News in June 2021.

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 and 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