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Collaborative Team to Evaluate Patient Perception of Prosthetic Devices

Oct. 25, 2012

A team of researchers from Marquette University and the Medical College of Wisconsin received a one-year, $50,000 grant from the Clinical and Translational Science Institute of Southeast Wisconsin (CTSI) to evaluate how patient perception affects the success of prosthetic and orthotic lower limb devices.

Joseph Schimmels, Ph.D., professor of mechanical engineering at Marquette University, is the primary investigator of the grant; co-primary investigators are David Del Toro, M.D., Ph.D., Froedtert & The Medical College of Wisconsin; Stephen Guastello, Ph.D., professor of psychology; Jessica Fritz, senior research technician, biomedical engineering; and Philip Voglewede, Ph.D., assistant professor of mechanical engineering, Marquette University. The team will conduct some of their research at the Clement Zablocki VA Medical Center.

When prosthetic and orthotic devices are engineered, patient perception is not typically part of the design process, according to Dr. Schimmels. In this study, a multidisciplinary team of engineers, clinicians, and psychologists will work together to better understand how patients utilizing these devices perceive and evaluate their quality, and how those perceptions can be incorporated into engineering design criteria. The ultimate goal is to improve the design of lower limb prosthetics and orthotics so that patients are more accepting of the devices.

This is one of 19 pilot projects being funded in 2012 through CTSI. The goal is to create synergy through collaboration, and studies are specifically designed to lead to major research support. The projects explore findings that have the potential to be translated into clinical practice and community health, and are led by investigators at the CTSI’s eight partnering institutions: the Medical College of Wisconsin, Marquette University, Milwaukee School of Engineering, UW-Milwaukee, Froedtert Hospital, Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin, the VA Medical Center, and the BloodCenter of Wisconsin.

CTSI is part of a national consortium of top medical research institutions. Working together, the CTSI institutions are committed to improve human health by streamlining science, transforming training environments, and improving the conduct, quality and dissemination of clinical and translational research. The CTSI program is led by the National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences, part of the National Institutes of Health.

Support for the Pilot Award Program comes from the National Institutes of Health, the John and Jeanne Byrnes CTSI Award, and both MCW’s Advancing a Healthier Wisconsin program, and MCW’s Biotechnology and Bioengineering Center.

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