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.

  • AAOP Honors Chad Duncan and Yeongchi Wu

    Chad Duncan awarded AAOP Outstanding Educator   Yeongchi Wu, MD, awarded Honorary Academy Membership 

    The American Academy of Orthotists & Prosthetists (AAOP) honored J. Chad Duncan, PhD, CPO, CRC, and Yeongchi Wu, MD, with awards at the 44th AAOP Annual Meeting & Scientific Symposium held February 14 – 17, 2018 in New Orleans, LA.

    Dr. Duncan was recognized with the Outstanding Educator Award. Dr. Wu was awarded Honorary Academy Membership. NUPOC congratulates Dr. Duncan and Dr. Wu.

  • NUPOC 2018 International Service in Guatemala

    2018 NUPOC-IS group in Guatemala

    Twelve NUPOC MPO 2018 students and two faculty participated in the International Service (NUPOC-IS) program February 3 through 11, 2018. Students Bradley Carver, Courtney Cox, Kierra Falbo, Terese Jenks, Spencer Leckrone, Kara Mehrman, Kyle Miller, Morgan Murphy, Aaron Plawecki, Molly Russell, Andrew Servais and Alyson Tegethoff volunteered their P&O skills at the Kevin O’Halloran Rehabilitation Clinic, in Zacapa, Guatemala. NUPOC educators John Brinkmann, CPO, and Kristin Carnahan, CPO, provided leadership and faculty supervision during the 2018 NUPOC-IS service trip to Guatemala.

    Annually, NUPOC-IS contributes P&O expertise to under-resourced Guatemalans with neuro-musculo-skeletal impairments at the Range of Motion Project (ROMP).

    NUPOC-IS provides 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 volunteers are gratified to see immediate results as they empower the lives of under-resourced people who live with physical impairments. 

    Kyle Miller (MPO 2018), spoke about his experience as a 2018 NUPOC-IS volunteer. "I feel privileged to have shared this experience with the patients, my fellow students and instructors, and the ROMP Guatemala team. I realized that mobility is a unifying concept that transcends culture, language, and background. As a P&O team, we used the goal of improved mobility as a guiding light for communication, understanding, and outcome. My experience in Guatemala will help me grow as a person and a professional."

    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. In 2018, NUPOC-IS introduced a new service program at Boundless Bracing located in Toronto, Canada.

  • John Michael, CPO, Initiates Leadership Change at NUPOC

    John Michael, CPO, initiates leadership change at NUPOCIn 2019, John Michael, CPO, looks forward to stepping away from the NUPOC directorship while continuing as a clinical educator, teaching students the discipline of prosthetics and orthotics (P&O). Mr. Michael looks forward to this change of pace while remaining deeply committed to the P&O profession. Drawing from his multi-disciplinary background in P&O, pre-medicine, psychiatric casework, and business, his continued service at NUPOC will provide valuable overlap with the incoming director, who will be selected later this year. Currently, NUPOC is seeking qualified candidates for director. Mr. Michael will continue to contribute his professional expertise at NUPOC, ensuring stability throughout the leadership transition. 

    Advancing NUPOC’s Mission

    From 2009 when he began his second stint at NUPOC, Mr. Michael established his imprimatur as director. He worked collaboratively to achieve an institutional merger between the Northwestern University Prosthetics Research Laboratory (NUPRL) and the Prosthetics-Orthotics Center. The Northwestern University Prosthetics-Orthotics Center (NUPOC) represents the successful blending of the research and education programs into a more powerful, unified entity.

    A NUPOC graduate, Mr. Michael was instrumental in NUPOC’s move to new, custom-designed, and award-winning facilities. Working with Feinberg School of Medicine and national accrediting institutions, Mr. Michael guided NUPOC’s curriculum transition from a certificate program to a graduate degree program, the Master’s of Prosthetics and Orthotics (MPO). Currently, the sixth MPO cohort is conducting its clinical practicum at NUPOC. Annually, the NUPOC MPO fills to capacity and additional prospective students are waitlisted. As a testament to P&O training excellence, accredited residency programs eagerly compete for NUPOC graduates.

    John Michael’s prescient leadership and combined resources at NUPOC contributed to the successful 2013 transition to the graduate degree program. The MPO program continues to demonstrate unprecedented faculty growth and all full-time NUPOC teaching faculty are Certified Prosthetists-Orthotists. All clinical educators have 5 years or more of clinical experience and the majority hold university rank as assistant or associate professor.

    Mapping the Future

    When pressed about the future, Mr. Michael says that he plans to retire in a few years and asserts that this year is an ideal opportunity to ensure leadership continuity at NUPOC, “I want to secure NUPOC’s progress in P&O education and research well into the future.” Mr. Michael looks forward to less administrative and managerial duties, providing more time to teach and interact with family. “I really enjoy being with my family and spending time with my grandchildren aged 2 and 3 years old. In 2020, my wife and I will celebrate our golden wedding anniversary.” However, in almost the same breath, he admits, “There are so many opportunities to contribute NUPOC that it’s hard to say ‘no’”. With an unapologetic smile, he adds, “I really love this profession!”

    Read more at "NUPOC Announces Leadership Change".

  • NUPOC Students Hoggatt and Jones Volunteer in Canada

    Brandon Jones volunteering at Boundless Bracing, Canada  Michael Hoggatt volunteering at Boundless Bracing, Canada

    Michael Hoggatt and Brandon Jones, both members of the MPO class of 2018, are spending two weeks as volunteer orthotists at Boundless Bracing in Toronto, Canada. Their experience was instructive and hands-on. Photos show Mr. Jones (above left) working at the adult clinic and Mr. Hoggatt (above right) working with a pediatric patient in the Boundless Bracing office. Among many new on-site experiences, NUPOC volunteers learn that the Ontario Ministry of Health and Long Term Care fixes costs for material and labor for biomechanical braces and orthoses. In addition to learning about orthotics as practiced in Canada, Mr. Jones and Mr. Hoggatt reported on their experiences in the NUPOC MPO program to a group of Canadian colleagues.

    Melinda Thorpe, CPO, director of the NUPOC International Service (NUPOC-IS) program, reports that the 2018 pilot session in Canada may foster a new annual service option for NUPOC MPO students. She said, “I hope that a service opportunity at Boundless Bracing, Canada, will expand the NUPOC-IS offering”. Currently, NUPOC-IS affiliates annually with the Range of Motion Project (ROMP) clinic in Zacapa, Guatemala.

    Providing orthotic solutions since 1988, Boundless Bracing is a facility that collaboratively designs and fabricates orthoses for chronic and acute mobility challenges related to arthritis, cerebral palsy, stroke and sports injuries. Led by Dan Blocka, CO(c), FCBC, the Boundless Bracing team consists of four Certified Orthotists, three technicians, two residents and administrative personnel. NUPOC appreciates Mr. Blocka and the Boundless Bracing team for welcoming the inaugural NUPOC-IS volunteers.

  • Fatone and Caldwell Teach NU-FlexSIV Socket Course at Pace Rehabilitation, UK

    Fatone and Caldwell at Pace Rehabilitation, Bredbury, UKStefania Fatone, PhD, BPO(Hons), and Ryan Caldwell, CP, taught the two-day, hands-on NU-FlexSIV Socket course to eight prosthetists from the UK and Scotland on February 6 and 7, 2018. Pace Rehabilitation sponsored the course in their new facilities located in Bredbury, a suburb within Greater Manchester, UK.

    Established in 2003, Pace Rehabilitation provides client-centered rehabilitation services related to mobility and ambulation for individuals who have experienced limb loss. Pace Rehabilitation clinicians also provide expert opinions to the legal profession. 

    Learn more about the NU-FlexSIV Socket.

  • NUPOC Welcomes Miguel Vaca Moran

    Miguel Moran is a master's student in BMEMiguel Angel Vaca Moran, BSc, has joined NUPOC as a master’s student in biomedical engineering (BME). Steven A. Gard, PhD, will mentor Miguel and his research. Miguel said, “I have always been interested in solving puzzles. I enjoy building, fixing and learning how things work.” Formal training in engineering became a natural expression of his lifelong interest and BME will provide the tools he needs to help people directly. 

    Miguel completed his undergraduate work in Engineering-Mechatronics at the Department of Energy and Mechanics, the Universidad de las Fuerzas Armadas-ESPE in Sangolquí, Ecuador. Post-graduation, he gained 2 years of practical experience as an execution engineer for Smartbus S. A. (HDL Ecuador) in Quito, where he helped to design, implement and supervise smart communications technology for homes and businesses. Miguel enjoyed programming smart systems, yet preferred to apply his engineering skills to help humans more directly. He set his sights on graduate work in BME with an emphasis on prosthetics to improve the quality of life for persons with an amputation. He systematically prepared for the TOEFL and GRE exams and successfully applied the McCormick School of Engineering.

    In addition to analytical, research and applied business skills, Miguel brings an affinity for language arts, such as public speaking and writing. He is eager to learn and apply information from his BME courses that include experimental design, neurophysiology, neuromechanics of movement, and Control of Human Limbs and Their Artificial Replacements, which Dr. Gard teaches.

    Miguel looks forward to interacting with individuals who live with amputation and he is involved in a research project, led by PI Steven A. Gard, PhD, that develops and evaluates more functional prosthetic foot-ankle mechanisms to improve standing and walking performance. Welcome to NUPOC, Miguel!

  • Tim Bliamptis Exhibit Opens at NUPOC

    The Tim Bliamptis Exhibit is on view at the 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 photographs by Tim Bliamptis.

    Tim Bliamptis, phototgrapherTim Bliamptis is an amateur photographer with a passion for capturing images of nature and wildlife.  A long-time Chicago area resident, he has shot nature images on five continents. Mr. Bliamptis photographed this series on various islands of the Galápagos archipelago. Aside from the wide-ranging tropicbird, these animals are unique to the Galápagos Islands, Ecuador. The images of printed on white aluminum, ultra-gloss. Image Wizards, Lexington, North Carolina, printed the five images. 

    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. 

  • Steven Gard Conducts STEM Outreach

    Steven A. Gard conducted STEM outreach at Waubonsie HSSteven A. Gard, PhD, was invited to speak about STEM opportunities in biomedical engineering (BME) and prosthetics and orthotics (P&O) during career day at Waubonsie Valley High School (Aurora, IL). At the invitation of Pam Westfall, teacher of Physics, AP Biology and Honors Biology, Dr. Gard spoke to Girls in English Math and Science (GEMS). Ms. Westfall mentors the GEMS.

    Dr. Gard related his preparatory training and education for a career in biomedical engineering; described research projects conducted at NUPOC; and discussed how BME and P&O can improve the lives of individuals who live with a physical disability. Students responded with interest and asked questions. 

  • NUPOC Students Hoggatt and Smith Awarded Scholarships

    Michael Hoggatt (MPO 2018) and Charity Smith (MPO 2019) won IAAPOC Scholarships

    Michael Hoggatt (MPO 2018) and Charity Smith (MPO 2019) have been selected to receive the International African American Prosthetic & Orthotic Coalition (IAAPOC) Sam D. Benson Scholarship. Mr. Hoggatt and Ms. Smith, both of African descent, are graduate students at NUPOC, a NCOPE-accredited P&O program. Billy Gordon, who graduated in the NUPOC MPO Class of 2017, is a past year's recipient of the IAAPOC Sam D. Benson Scholarship. To win this competitive scholarship, the awardees wrote a 200 word essay, and submitted their most recent college transcripts and professional references from 2 CPOs. 

    The IAAPOC promotes the P&O profession within the African-American community. IAAPOC members and other supporters fund the scholarship. Sam Benson, CO, achieved ABC Certification in 1981, became a founding member of the Coalition and served as its first president in 1990. 

  • Northwestern University MPO Class of 2018 Closing Ceremony

    Laura Marden receives the Master's cowl is conferred on     Morgan Murphy receives the Master's cowl

    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 and 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.

    NUPOC faculty presided at the MPO 2018 Closing Ceremony  

    Viva Henson presented the KeynoteDepartment 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; 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.

    MPO 2018 at Closing CeremonyThe MPO class of 2018 distinguished itself by competing and earning more awards for professional distinction than any prior class. Kyle Miller and Sheila Pach each won a Tamarack Award  funded at NUPOC by J. Martin Carlson, CPO, for excellence in orthotics; Roger Rose, won 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 MPO degree program. Jacqueline Sickels won the New Jersey-AAOP Scholarship; and Kierra Falbo won the Otto and Lucille Becker Award, for a meritorious scientific paper presented as a poster at the AOPA National Assembly.

    The MPO 2018 class elected Kyle Miller to present the Class Address and NUPOC Educational Model Viva Henson to present the Keynote.

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.