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 International Service in Zacapa, Guatemala


    NUPOC-IS volunteers 2019.  NUPOC-IS volunteers with Guatemalan client

    NUPOC-IS volunteers fitting Guatemalan clientDuring  the week of February 2, the annual NUPOC-International Service (NUPOC-IS) program contributed P&O expertise to assist Guatemalans who have neuromusculoskeletal impairments. Directed by Melinda Thorpe, CPO, the program collaborates with the Range of Motion Project (ROMP) at the Kevin O’Halloran Rehabilitation Clinic, in Zacapa, Guatemala.

    NUPOC-IS volunteers were twelve students from the MPO class of 2019: Melissa Albite, Maureen Connelly, Emily Hanson, Blakeley Koziol, Audrey Lawson, Jorian Ordway, Beth Petrovic, Kylie Proctor, Cassidy Rice, Leah Senator, Abbey Senczyszyn, and John Wamhoff. Faculty supervisors were Kristin Carnahan, CPO, and Robert Lipschutz, CP.

    Ms. Carnahan said, “I loved the opportunity to serve in the ROMP clinic alongside a group of our MPO 2019 students. This year, our team provided prostheses to 14 Guatemalans with various levels of lower limb amputation.” Clients are low income Guatemalan adults and children who travel great distances to obtain P&O services at ROMP. NUPOC students interact with their Guatemalan clients from evaluation through device delivery and observe the immediate outcomes of improved mobility, independence and self-confidence. Maureen Connelly said, “The trip was absolutely amazing. I loved the chance to work with our first real patients. It was empowering and rewarding to know that our work directly impacted our patients’ mobility. It reinforced my feelings that I definitely chose the right career path.”

    Launched in 2009, NUPOC-IS enables NUPOC students to enhance their clinical proficiency while working in an international setting under the supervision of NUPOC faculty and ROMP personnel. John Wamhoff said, “My most memorable patient was a 3 year old boy with congenital limb difference. It was an amazing experience to work with David Krupa, the founder of ROMP, make a new transtibial prosthesis and help the little guy walk.”

    NUPOC-IS volunteers use their P&O skills to help empower under-resourced people who live with physical impairments, hone their skills and enjoy the rewards of helping their clients. Ms. Carnahan observed, “Seeing the joy and gratitude expressed by each patient and their families is unforgettable. Also, I loved watching our students truly embrace the joy of using their developing skills to improve people’s mobility and lives.”

  • Stacey Brown Wins Sam D. Benson Scholarship

    Stacey Brown, MPO 2020, won the Sam D. Benson ScholarshipStacey Brown (MPO 2020) received the 2019 Sam D. Benson Scholarship, awarded by the International African American Prosthetic and Orthotic Coalition (IAAPOC). This scholarship with a cash prize of $500 is awarded annually to a full-time P&O student of African American descent who demonstrates academic merit.

    Currently attending her on-site clinical practicum at NUPOC, Ms. Brown completed her BS in biology at Georgia State University. She has firsthand knowledge of living with Congenital Flexion Contractures, a physical impairment that prevents full extension of her arms. She has experienced a series of surgeries and grafts, which gave her insight into rehabilitative therapies. Although surgeries did not completely correct the condition, she has consciously adapted to this disability and is fully focused on becoming a Prosthetist-Orthotist.

    Ms. Brown said, “I want to serve the African American community because I believe it is important for patients to interact with practitioners that look like them. I’m also interested in educating others about the field of Prosthetics and Orthotics. I want to show kids that they too can succeed in STEM fields.”

    NUPOC congratulates Stacey Brown!

  • NUPOC International Service in Canada

     NUPOC-IS 2019, Boundless Bracing, Canada.

    NUPOC-IS 2019, Boundless Bracing, Canada.Erica Gillmeister and Cortney Weaver, students in the MPO class of 2019, participated in the 2-week NUPOC International Service (NUPOC-IS) program at Boundless Bracing in Toronto, Canada. Ms. Gillmeister and Ms. Weaver shadowed the clinical team at Boundless Bracing and in several nearby facilities, interacting with supervising P&O professionals to further develop their skills in clinical assessment.

    During Grand Rounds at George Brown College, Ms. Gillmeister and Ms. Weaver presented information about their NUPOC capstone projects. Ms. Weaver said, “It was a great opportunity to share our capstones with new colleagues. Talking with the professors at George Brown College helped me learn about the Canadian healthcare system and the similarities and differences in our programs.

    Each student worked individually with patients whom they assessed and then custom-fabricated an AFO. Ms. Gillmeister said, “I will always remember the fulfillment I felt to see my first real patient walk out the door with an orthosis I had provided.” Both students reflected that their service at Boundless Bracing exceeded their expectations and provided important in-depth opportunities to improve their clinical knowledge and fabrication skills.

    NUPOC appreciates Dan Blocka, BSc, CO(c), FCBC, and everyone at Boundless Bracing for sharing their professional expertise with NUPOC students. 

    Photographs are courtesy of Erica Gillmeister. 

  • Fatone and Caldwell Teach NU-FlexSIV Socket Course at Össur Academy

    Instructors, prosthetists and patient models at NU-FlexSIV Socket Course

    Stefania Fatone, PhD, and Ryan Caldwell, CP, taught the NU-FlexSIV Socket Course to 12 prosthetists from throughout the USA. Hosted by Össur Academy in Orlando, FL, prosthetists brought their own patient models whom they fit with custom-fabricated NU-FlexSIV Sockets. Expressing satisfaction with the socket’s comfort and stability, several of the patient models expressed their interest in continuing to use the NU-FlexSIV Socket instead of their current socket.

    To date, 233 prosthetists have received hands-on training for the NU-FlexSIV Socket technique. Learn more about research and training related to the Development of Subischial Prosthetic Sockets with Vacuum-Assisted Suspension for Highly Active Persons with Transfemoral Amputations

  • NUPOC Welcomes Doctoral Research Student Anna Pace

    Anna Pace, MSc, doctoral research studentAnna Pace, MSc, will conduct her doctoral dissertation research at NUPOC. She aims to develop a simulation study to understand how different combinations of knee and foot components affect the stability of transfemoral prosthesis users during walking. It is expected that outcomes of this research will contribute to prescription guidelines for combining different modular components for transfemoral prostheses. During her 6-month stay at NUPOC, Ms. Pace will be supervised by Matthew Major, PhD.

    Ms. Pace is a doctoral student majoring in biomedical engineering at University of Salford (UK). She completed her undergraduate (2012) and master’s (2015) degrees in biomedical engineering at Milan Polytechnic University. Her bachelor’s thesis examined Energy Exchange analysis in the Elastic Energy Storage Prosthetic Foot; and her master’s thesis examined Design and Development of a New Hybrid Carbon Fiber Prosthetic Foot. She is a licensed engineer (Italy) and a member of the International Society for Prosthetics and Orthotics (ISPO) and the Institute of Physics and Engineering in Medicine (IPEM).

    Ms. Pace uses MATLAB, Solidworks, Java, SQL, Inventor and other software programs. Fluent in English, Italian and Spanish, Ms. Pace has volunteered her skills toward social outreach in Kenya and Sierra Leone; assisted the elderly and homeless in Italy and Spain; and tutored impoverished students. She is a competitive chess player and won 3rd prize in the Italian national competition (2007). She also enjoys athletic activities, including fencing, basketball and salsa dance. We are delighted to welcome Ms. Pace to NUPOC!

  • Fatone Appointed Co-Editor-In-Chief of Prosthetics and Orthotics International

    Stefania Fatone, PhD, Co-Editor-in-Chief, POIStefania Fatone, PhD, BPO(Hons), together with Brian Hafner, PhD (University of Washington), Nerrolyn Ramstrand, PhD (Jönköping University, Sweden), and Michael Dillon, PhD (La Trobe University, Australia), were appointed Editors-in-Chief of Prosthetics and Orthotics International by the International Society for Prosthetics and Orthotics. Dr. Fatone and her colleagues assumed editorial responsibilities on January 1, 2019.

    Prosthetics and Orthotics International is the official journal of the International Society for Prosthetics and Orthotics (ISPO) and a major source of peer-reviewed scientific publications in the field of prosthetics and orthotics. In a departure from tradition, the heretofore single person editorial position has been expanded to an editorial team, enabling POI to keep pace with professional growth and provide more timely reviews of submitted manuscripts.

  • NUPOC Welcomes Postdoctoral Fellow Jenny Kent, PhD

    Jenny Kent, PhD, postdoctoral fellowJenny Kent, PhD, has joined NUPOC as a postdoctoral fellow who will use her expertise in biomechanics, data analysis and software systems to assist Matthew J. Major, PhD, and his ongoing VA-funded research projects.  

    Dr. Kent completed her doctoral training in Exercise Science and Biomechanics at University of Nebraska-Omaha (2018). Mentored by Nicholas Stergiou, PhD, Chair of the Biomechanics Department, her dissertation examined The Implications of Lower Limb Impediment for Our Ability to Walk on Uneven Terrain. She participated in multiple research projects and has garnered nine peer-reviewed publications, with others forthcoming. 

    After graduating with a BEng (Hons) in Mechanical Engineering at University of Nottingham (UK, 2002), she entered a training program at Douglas Bader Rehabilitation Centre and Queen Mary’s Hospital (London). This in-service program integrated a MSc in Biomedical Engineering at University of Surrey (UK, 2005). As a trainee clinical scientist, she received practical training in biomechanical evaluation, physiological measurement, assistive technology and medical equipment design. Her master’s thesis examined The Effect of Functional Electrical Stimulation on Gastrocnemius Length of Children with Cerebral Palsy. With her master’s degree, she also attained a Postgraduate Diploma of the Institute of Physics and Engineering in Medicine (IPEM).

    Between her master’s and doctoral training, she worked as a Higher Scientific Officer at the Academic Department of Military Rehabilitation (2006-2014). She holds a Certificate of Attainment in Medical Physics and Clinical Engineering through the Association of Clinical Scientists. She continues to maintain certifications as a registered Clinical Scientist (UK Health Care Professions Council) and a Chartered Scientist (Physics and Engineering in Medicine).

    A musician as well as a scientist, Dr. Kent is a pianist and musical director. Upon arrival in Chicago, she reports that she cheerfully eliminated her car in favor of public transportation. We are delighted to welcome Jenny Kent to NUPOC!

  • NUPOC Welcomes Eduardo Amkie Dichi

    Eduardo Amkie Dichi, visiting research studentNUPOC is delighted to introduce visiting research student Eduardo Amkie Dichi. Eduardo is completing his undergraduate BSc in Biomedical Engineering at Universidad Iberoamericana, Ciudad de México. He will spend 6 months at NUPOC conducting research toward his capstone project. His project aims to develop methods to evaluate the strength and durability of 3D-printed prosthetic hands for children.

    Matthew Major, PhD, will mentor Eduardo and his work. Additional collaborators on Eduardo’s research project are José Luis Zavaleta, BSc, MPO, and Jorge Zuniga, PhD, University of Nebraska at Omaha. Mr. Zavaleta is a former visiting research student at NUPOC and a graduate of our MPO program. Currently, Mr. Zavaleta works at the Laboratorio de Ortesis y Prótesis, Instituto Nacional de Rehabilitación LGII, Ciudad de México, México.

    Eduardo’s research experience includes conducting systematic reviews, building databases, designing assistive technology for persons with physical impairment, and recommending technological aids for patients with disabilities. He is familiar with multiple computer programs, Including MATLAB. Sociable and interactive, Eduardo speaks English, Spanish and Hebrew, languages that he has used to participate in humanitarian and cultural outreach programs in Mexico, Canada and Israel. 

  • Major Receives Research Award

    Matthew Major with WHRI Marla Mendelson, Teresa Woodruff, Mr. and Mrs. Shaw.  Matthew Major with Mr. and Mrs Shaw

    Dr. Major accepts Shaw Award from WHRI Co-Director, Marla Medelson, MD. Matthew J. Major, PhD, and his research project, Characterizing the Gait Biomechanics of Women with Leg Amputation for Improving Evidence-Based Rehabilitation Practice, have been selected for funding by the 2019 Shaw Family Pioneer Awards. On January 25, 2019, Dr. Major was recognized with a formal announcement at the Women’s Health Research Institute (WHRI) 3rd Annual Celebration of Sex Inclusive Science. WHRI Co-Director Marla Mendelson, MD, presented the award. Stacie Geller, PhD, Director of the University of Illinois-Chicago Center for Research on Women and Gender, presented  Considering the Role of Sex and Gender in Biomedical Research.

    The Shaw Family Pioneer Awards promote sex-inclusive science through collaborative and innovative research. The Awards assist early career investigators to conduct pilot studies that enhance their ability to compete for large federal grants. 

    NIH and VA policies require investigators to consider sex as a biological variable (SABV). Women with amputations face rehabilitation challenges that are different than men, including greater pain, greater dissatisfaction with prosthetic fit and appearance, greater numbers of prostheses received and greater rejection rates, and limitations in footwear. Moreover, women are markedly underserved in prosthetics research and scant information is available to guide prescription of prosthetic feet for women.

    Dr. Major’s pilot project responds to a critical need to advance women-specific prosthetics research and rehabilitation practice for women with limb loss. 

    See more coverage of this event at WHRI Announces 2019 Shaw Family Pioneer Awardees

  • Fatone and Caldwell Teach Third NU-FlexSIV Socket Course in Japan

    Third NU-FlexSIV Socket Course, Sanda, JapanStefania Fatone, PhD, BPO(Hons), and Ryan Caldwell, CP, taught the NU-FlexSIV Socket Course for the third time in Japan on January 18-20, 2019. 

    Hosted by the prosthetics and orthotics school at the Kobe College of Medical Welfare (KCMW) on the Sanda Campus, this course was initially offered in July 2018 but unavoidably was rescheduled due to a typhoon.

    The 3-day, hands-on workshop was simultaneously interpreted by KCMW faculty, Mr. Shin Sasaki, Mr. Kenta Tonai and Ms. Kyoko Kamada. Twenty prosthetists, 18 from Japan and 2 from Thailand, attended this successful training course.

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