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 Presents STEM Program to Scholars de Salud

    IHSCA student uses cable upper limb simulator   NUPOC hosts Scholars de Salud for STEM program  

    NUPOC presented a multimodal STEM program to 22 Scholars de Salud from Instituto Health Sciences Career Academy (IHSCA) Charter High School. Henrietta Barcelo (IHSCA Industry Liaison) and Nicole Paprocki (former IHSCA science instructor, current Schweitzer Fellow, and medical student at the Chicago College of Osteopathic Medicine) accompanied the students. IHSCA prepares students to succeed in competitive university programs and develop readiness in healthcare careers.

    J. Chad Duncan, PhD, presents an overview of upper- and lower-limb prostheses.  IHSCA students learn about upper-limb prostheses  

    J. Chad Duncan, PhD, CPO, CRC, presented information about training and the scope of careers in P&O; and a detailed overview of upper- and lower limb prosthetic devices. Students enjoyed the opportunity to closely examine and manipulate prosthetic devices.

    NUPOC graduate stNUPOC MPO 2018 student panelists discuss preparations for a career in P&O.udents Stephanie Mullen, Morgan Murphy, Aaron Plawecki and Emily Power (MPO 2018) conducted orientation tours of NUPOC facilities and contributed to a panel discussion that highlighted activities and educational preparation for careers in P&O. They generously related experiences that influenced their decisions to enter P&O and contributed insights about foundational activities that would direct students’ career decisions.

    IHSCA student exams cable control of upper limb simulatorThe Scholars de Salud actively participated in the STEM program by asking questions. During the IHSCA debrief, every student stated that they enjoyed the NUPOC STEM program and gained new knowledge. After attending the NUPOC program, two of the students reported that they now are considering P&O among their top 3 career choices! Ms. Paprocki said, "This was a great opportunity to understand the inter-professional collaborations in P&O clinical practice. It was an excellent resource to expand our knowledge and I hope that NUPOC will continue to connect with Scholars de Salud and IHSCA."

    R. J. Garrick, PhD, developed and moderated this STEM program.

  • NUPOC International Service in Guatemala

    NUPOC-IS volunteer fabricating a mold.   2017 NUPOC-IS volunteers.   2017 NUPOC-IS volunteer assists a patient with gait training.

    NUPOC MPO graduates Landon Davis, Renato de los Reyes, Rachael Nolin, Mitchell Petersen, and Joseph Zisk participated in the International Service (NUPOC-IS) program February 4 through 12, 2017. Robert Lipschutz, CP, acted as faculty supervisor. NUPOC-IS contributes P&O expertise to under-resourced Guatemalans with neuro-musculo-skeletal impairments at the Range of Motion Project (ROMP) Kevin O’Halloran Rehabilitation Clinic, in Zacapa, Guatemala.

    Mitch Petersen, who volunteered for the 2017 NUPOC-IS outreach, said, “It was a great experience! I learned so much in the time we were there. It was great to be able to take a patient from evaluation to delivery. Making 3 prostheses that will be taken home and teaching basic transfemoral gait were amazing experiences. It was great seeing how appreciative the patients were. Some had been waiting a long time for a prosthesis. One of my patients had an amputation 5 years ago and lived 12 hours away from the clinic.” 

    NUPOC-IS is an opportunity for NUPOC students to enhance their clinical proficiency while working in an international setting under the supervision of NUPOC faculty and with on-site technicians. Clients are low income Guatemalan adults and children, many of whom travel great distances to receive their first P&O intervention at the ROMP clinic. NUPOC volunteer participants see immediate results as they empower the lives of under-resourced people who live with physical impairments. 

    Launched in 2009, NUPOC-IS is a collaborative service project formally operating with ROMP under a Northwestern University Memorandum of Understanding (MOU). Melinda Thorpe, CPO, Director of International Education, manages NUPOC-IS.

  • Fatone and Caldwell to Teach NU-FlexSIV Course at AAOP 2017

    Ryan Caldwell, CPO, fitting the NU-FlexSIV SocketStefania Fatone, PhD, BPO(Hons), and Ryan Caldwell, CP/L, FAAOP, will present a 90-minute interactive overview of the NU-FlexSIV Socket at the 43rd Academy Annual Meeting & Scientific Symposium of the American Academy of Orthotists & Prosthetists (AAOP) that will be held March 1-4, 2017, in Chicago, IL.

    Held as part of the Academy Meeting on-site at the hotel, this Special Event will use a combination of lectures and live demonstrations with a patient model to introduce sub-ischial socket and vacuum technology. Rather than a 2-day hands-on workshop, this Special Event is a 90-minute overview where participants will learn the fundamentals, fabrication, and fitting of the NU-FlexSIV Socket technique. The same 90-minute overview will be held twice and the attendance of each session is limited to 40 attendees. Participants must indicate that they wish to attend the NU-FlexSIV Socket Course when they register for the meeting. View details about this Special Event

    Prosthetics practitioners throughout the USA and internationally have expressed interest in the NU-FlexSIV Socket. Development of the NU-FlexSIV Socket was funded by a grant from the U. S. Department of Defense. Learn more about the Development of Subischial Prosthetic Sockets with Vacuum-Assisted Suspension for Highly Active Persons with Transfemoral Amputations

  • Matt Treager Photography Exhibit Opens at NUPOC

    Matt Treager Photography Exhibit at NUPOC

    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 six photographs by Matthew Treager. This series details the 2015 Chicago Cyclocross Cup. “I love documenting relatively obscure sports. I shot the Chi Cross Cup in a very loose documentary style.” Mr. Treager’s works include commercial, editorial and documentary photographs and videos.

    Artists and Certified Prosthetist-Orthotists (CPO) cultivate similar skills. A maxim holds that a good prosthetist-orthotist needs the triad 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. They also employ creative artistry that bridges science and technology to fit and fabricate functional, comfortable, wearable prostheses and orthoses.

    NUPOC appreciates Matt Treager for making this exhibit possible.

  • NUPOC Welcomes Martin Buckner, CPO

    Martin Buckner, CPOMartin W. Buckner, CPO, has joined NUPOC as Lecturer in the Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation. Mr. Buckner is well-experienced and brings clinical, instructional, and managerial skills to the NUPOC MPO program. Mr. Buckner is an ABC-Certified and Illinois Licensed Prosthetist-Orthotist who will teach MPO students and guide their clinical practicum as they learn to evaluate, fit and fabricate P&O devices.

    Mr. Buckner has nearly two decades as a P&O clinician in private practice and hospital settings. His clinical interests include Inpatient Orthotic Rehabilitation management, with experience with spinal, upper extremity, and lower extremity orthoses. His work on a unique custom shoulder orthosis has been featured as a poster presentation at the Association of Academic Physiatrists (AAP) Annual Meeting. Mr. Buckner majored in Psychology, minored in Computer Science and graduated cum laude from the University of Southern Mississippi (Hattiesburg). Subsequently he completed his Prosthetics (1997) and Orthotics (2001) training at NUPOC and residencies at The Cleveland Clinic Foundation and Springer Prosthetic and Orthotic Services (Lansing, MI).

    Mr. Buckner has practiced as a P&O clinician and performed management roles in private and institutional settings in Michigan, Ohio, Illinois, and Mississippi. As an educator, he has mentored and conducted cross-disciplinary clinical education for residents at RIC and taught for the Orthotic Prosthetic Technology Program at Joliet Junior College. Mr. Buckner will share his time between NUPOC and the Shirley Ryan Ability Lab, where he focuses on inpatient Prosthetics and Orthotics.

  • Stefania Fatone at La Trobe University for Aussie Research Collaboration

    Stefania Fatone, PhD, BPO(Hons), research collaborations at La Trobe UniversityStefania Fatone, PhD, BPO(Hons), is onsite at Latrobe University, Melbourne, Australia, to work with Michael Dillon, PhD, BPO(Hons), on collaborative research related to an AOPA-funded project, Evaluating Outcomes of Dysvascular Partial Foot and Transtibial Amputation: A Systematic Review and Development of Shared Decision Making Resources.

    Dr. Fatone’s research sojourn at La Trobe is funded through the La Trobe University Science Health and Engineering Research Grants: Collaboration Visits and Exchanges Scheme. From December 2016 to November 2019, the grant provides Dr. Fatone an honorary appointment as Adjunct Associate Professor in the Department of Rehabilitation, Nutrition and Sport (Prosthetics and Orthotics Discipline), School of Allied Health, College of Science, Health and Engineering at La Trobe University. The grant also supports Dr. Fatone’s research effort for 6 weeks at La Trobe, where she is working collaboratively with Dr. Dillon to write grant applications and manuscripts related to shared decision-making resources for persons facing dysvascular partial foot amputation.

  • Steven A. Gard Publishes Chapter in Handbook of Human Motion

    Steven A. Gard, PhD, has authored a chapter, “The Influence of Prosthetic Knee Joints on Gait” published in the Handbook of Human Motion (2016), B. Müller, S.I. Wolf, eds, Springer International Publishing AG. (doi:10.1007/978-3-319-30808-1_75-1)

    This highly readable overview is valuable for its clarity and scope of different prosthetic knee designs and their typical gait outcomes. The chapter concludes with considerations for clinical improvement, prosthetic knee research design, and seminal references.

  • University of Salford Researchers Visit NUPOC, Discuss ESR Prostheses

    David Howard, PhD   James Gardiner, PhD 

    NUPOC welcomed David Howard, PhD, Professor of Biomedical Engineering, and James Gardiner, PhD, Postdoctoral Research Fellow, both from the University of Salford, Manchester, UK. Dr. Gardiner and Dr. Howard visited NUPOC at the invitation of Matthew Major, PhD, who completed his doctoral work at the University of Salford under the supervision of Professor Howard. NUPOC researchers discussed mutual research interests with Dr. Howard and Dr. Gardiner.

    Drs. Gardiner and Howard presented a talk that examined scientific evidence suggesting that passive Energy Storage and Return (ESR) lower limb prostheses do not significantly improve the metabolic cost of walking, partly due to the absence of adequate push-off. They also presented a simulation study they developed to establish the feasibility of using a miniature hydraulic variable displacement actuator (VDA) within a prosthesis. The proposed device would store the eccentric ankle work from heel strike to maximum dorsiflexion in a hydraulic accumulator and then return the stored energy to power push-off. Design optimization established the best parallel spring characteristic and gear ratio between ankle and VDA. In level walking, normal push-off can be achieved and, over each gait cycle, the energy stored in the accumulator would increase by 22% of what is required for normal push-off. Yet to be developed is a miniature, low-losses, lightweight VDA that is half the size of the currently available smallest commercial device.

    NUPOC appreciates Dr. Major for inviting the researchers from the University of Salford and hosting the research seminar.

  • Closing Ceremony for MPO 2016

    Members of the MPO Class of 2017   Yumiko Shepherd receives the MPO cowl   Heloise Cillie (MPO 2017), flanked by John Michael (left) and Elliot Roth (right)

    The Northwestern University Prosthetics-Orthotics Center (NUPOC), part of the Department of Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation, held a ceremony that marked the completion of a one year, on-site practicum for the MPO Class of 2017.

    John Michael, MEd, CPO, introduces Keynote speaker Jane CurryJohn Michael, MEd, CPO, director of NUPOC, moderated the program. Elliot Roth, MD, Chair of Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation and Paul B. Magnuson Professor of Rehabilitation welcomed family, friends and faculty to the event. Diane B. Wayne, MD, Vice Dean for Education, delivered a message from the Office of the Dean of Medicine. Anna Avakian-Li, CPO, FAAOP, presented the Tamarack Awards; Michael Cavanaugh, CPO, presented the Yasukawa Award; and J. Chad Duncan, PhD, CRC, CPO, recognized Lauren Thomas as the Inaugural Dual Degree Student who will graduate with the PT/MPO degrees. The faculty processional also included Steven A. Gard, PhD, Stefania Fatone, PhD, Matthew J. Major, PhD, Christopher A. Robinson, MS, MBA, CPO, Robert Lipschutz, CP, Bryan Malas, MHPE, CO, Melinda C. Thorpe, CPO, Roberto López-Rosado, DPT, MSPT, MA, and Justin Drogos, PT, DPT, NCS.

    Keynote Speaker Jane Curry, who supports NUPOC education as a patient model, delivered a memorable talk about the MPO program, the educational process at NUPOC, and the students’ development as nascent P&O clinicians.

    MPO Class of 2017

    After completing a final quarter of coursework and submitting their capstone research papers, the forty-eight NUPOC students expect to earn the MPO degree, fulfill residency training, and pass certification examinations.

  • Awards at Closing Ceremony for MPO Class of 2017

    Michael Cavanaugh, CPO, announces the Dale Yasukawa Award.  Anna Avakian-Li, CPO, FAAOP, announces Tamarack Awards at the MPO 2017 Closing Ceremony  J. Chad Duncan, PhD, CRC, CPO, congratulates DPT/MPO dual degree student Lauren Thomas

    The Closing Ceremony for MPO Class of 2017 recognized awardees Samantha Wright and Joshua Zumbrun as winners of the Tamarack Award for excellence in orthotics; and Jennifer Murphy, recipient of the Dale Yasukawa Award that supports student attendance at professional meetings. Competition for both awards is available only to full-time candidates who are enrolled in the NUPOC Masters of Prosthetics and Orthotics degree program.

    Anna Avakian-Li, CPO, FAAOP, presented the Tamarack Awards; Michael Cavanaugh, CPO, presented the Yasukawa Award; and J. Chad Duncan, PhD, CRC, CPO, recognized Lauren Thomas as the Inaugural Dual Degree Student who will graduate with the PT/MPO degrees.

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.