McGowan Institute for Regenerative Medicine faculty member Rory Cooper, PhD (pictured), chairman of the Department of Rehabilitation Sciences and Technology and director of the Human Engineering Research Laboratories (HERL), has announced that the University of Pittsburgh School of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences (SHRS) is adding a new master’s program to its curriculum. The Master of Science in Health and Rehabilitation Science, with a concentration in Prosthetics and Orthotics (MSPO), will be available to students the Fall of 2008. This two-year program within the Department of Rehabilitation Science and Technology is designed to prepare students to be certified prosthetists and orthotists.
“Prosthetics and orthotics is rapidly changing the profession with recent advances in materials, intelligent components, and in assessment and limb fitting technologies,” noted Dr. Cooper. “The University of Pittsburgh has been at the forefront of advancing technology for people with disabilities and older adults, and we are excited about expanding our activities in prosthetics and orthotics.”
Orthotics and prosthetics is the evaluation, fabrication, and custom fitting of artificial limbs and orthopaedic braces. These braces, also known as orthoses, are used to stabilize or unload joints, normalize motion and stresses on tissue, substitute for muscle weakness or paralysis, and assist in normal growth, development, or function. Orthoses can be applied to the head, neck, trunk, or limbs. Artificial limbs, also known as prostheses, are used to replace missing limbs or portions of limbs, and to restore more normal function for the upper and lower extremities.
As a strategic part of the health care team, prosthetists and orthotists work hand-in-hand with physicians and therapists to provide the orthotic and prosthetic needs of patients. On a daily basis, they are responsible for the following:
-Performing a comprehensive assessment of the patient’s orthotic/prosthetic needs
-Creating an orthotic/prosthetic treatment plan to meet the needs and goals of the patient
-Performing the necessary procedures to deliver the appropriate orthotic/prosthetic services that may include fabrication of the orthosis/prosthesis
-Providing continuing patient care and periodic evaluation to assure, maintain, and document optimal fit and function of the orthosis/prosthesis
-Participating in personal and professional development through continuing education, training, research, and organizational affiliations, and
-Developing, implementing, and/or monitoring policies and procedures regarding personnel, business, and organizational management.
The University of Pittsburgh School of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences was established in 1969, and today is dedicated to moving lives forward through academic research, technology design, and rigorous training to educate the next generation of health professionals who will help others reach their fullest potential. As one of the university’s six Schools of the Health Sciences, SHRS is the academic partner to the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, which is associated with a variety of multidisciplinary centers including the Facial Nerve Center, the Jordan Balance and Vestibular Laboratory, Sports Medicine Institute, Centers for Rehab Services, and the Comprehensive Spine Center. The school also has established the Center for Assistive Technology, the NIDRR Rehabilitation Engineering Research Center, and HERL, the Pitt/VA Human Engineering Research Laboratories.
Dr. Cooper is also a Professor of Bioengineering and Mechanical Engineering at the University of Pittsburgh.
Illustration: McGowan Institute for Regenerative Medicine.
UPMC/University of Pittsburgh Schools of the Health Sciences Press Release (02/14/08)
Medical News Today (02/15/08)
University of Pittsburgh School of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences