Baylor College of Medicine’s Academic Council and Board of Trustees have approved the new Master of Science in Orthotics and Prosthetics degree program through the School of Allied Health Sciences.

The program prepares professionals to find orthotic and prosthetic solutions for diminished function or altered appearance due to a congenital condition, body part loss, disease, or injury resulting in reduced capabilities or comfort in performing daily activities.

Increased need

The need for providers of orthotic and prosthetic solutions is growing due to an increase in the aging population, the diabetes and obesity epidemics and veterans returning from war. The National Commission on Orthotic and Prosthetic Education now requires a master’s degree for entry level orthotics and prosthetics certification. BCM’s program will be one of the first in the country and the second in Texas to offer this master’s degree.

"The program is a natural extension of our existing programs training physician assistants and nurse anesthetists," said Dr. David Holcomb, dean of the School of Allied Health Sciences at BCM. "With Baylor’s established infrastructure and the applied visions of local and nationally-recognized orthotics and prosthetics industry leaders, we are establishing the foundation for a trend-setting program."

"Expansion of allied health education offerings has been a high priority since I came to BCM," said Dr. Paul Klotman, president and CEO of BCM. "It represents a timely opportunity for us, considering the increasing need for these professionals."

Rigorous training

The two-and-a-half year program will consist of one year of basic science education and will also include 18 months of pre-graduate residency training through BCM’s affiliated institutions. Students will also be required to complete a research project prior to graduation.

"We have exceptional resources in the Texas Medical Center to offer this type of program," said Holcomb.

"That we include both a rigorous didactic year and residency training makes our program innovative," said Dr. Robert McLaughlin, assistant dean of the School of Allied Health Sciences.

Program begins July 2013

Jared Howell has been named the director of the program and Joshua B. Utay has been named the assistant director. They will both begin in April 2012.

Howell is a Certified Prosthetist/Orthotist and has been assistant director of prosthetic education for the Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine for the past two years. He will complete a master of science in product design and development from the McCormick School of Engineering at Northwestern University in June 2012. Utay, also a Certified Prosthetist/Orthotist, comes to BCM with more than 15 years of clinical practice, most recently as the residency director of Orthotic Solutions, LLC in Fairfax, Va.

Graduates of the program, which will be accredited through the National Commission on Orthotic and Prosthetic Education, will be eligible to sit for board exams sponsored by the American Board for Certification in Orthotics, Prosthetics and Pedorthics.

The new program will enroll its first group of students in July 2013 with an expected graduation date of December 2015.