March 31, 2017

Yeongchi Wu, MD, Leaves Northwestern to Pursue New Challenges

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Photograph by R. J. Garrick.

Yeongchi Wu, MD, is leaving his position as a research associate professor of physical medicine and rehabilitation (PM&R) at the Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine (FSM). The Northwestern University Prosthetics-Orthotics Center (NUPOC), together with the Department of PM&R, recently honored Wu and his career contributions to O&P as a physician, researcher, patent-holding innovator, and prosthetist.

Wu is a Northwestern University (NU) medical alumnus who has been on the faculty at FSM for more than 40 years. He completed his medical degree at Kaohsiung Medical University, Taiwan, where he trained in orthopedic surgery. After immigrating to the United States, he retrained in PM&R, and he is a 1984 graduate of the NUPOC prosthetics certificate program. Wu devoted his career to improving the rehabilitative care of patients and improving the lives of people who live with physical impairments. His rigid removable dressing system for patients after amputation is a best practice worldwide. Wu also developed and patented the touchless catheter, and he developed a novel communication board for individuals who are nonverbal and have disabilities. His current research focuses on dilatancy casting technology that is designed to reduce the time and cost for the fabrication of O&P devices and to translate that technology into clinical practice. He trained FSM medical students, interns, and residents who now practice PM&R, and has mentored and influenced generations of O&P clinicians.

Wu held professional positions as associate professor in PM&R at FSM; associate director of spinal rehabilitation at the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago (RIC); director of amputee rehabilitation at RIC; associate medical director at RIC; director of research at the Center for International Rehabilitation (CIR), Chicago; and principal investigator for the CIR Rehabilitation Engineering Research Center, as well as for various O&P research projects.

Wu has been recognized many times for his work, among those accolades are the outstanding scientific exhibit, in 1978, from the American Congress of Rehabilitation Medicine for “An Innovative Removable Rigid Dressing for Below-Knee Amputees”; the 1979 Presidential Management Improvement Award from President Carter for Achievement for Outstanding Improvement in Government Operations; Citation for Meritorious Service from the Disabled American Veterans, in 1980; the 2001 Professional Achievement Award from the Amputee Coalition; the Virtual Mentor for Young Physicians from the American Medical Association, in 2001; the 2003 Lifetime Achievement Award from Hanger Prosthetics and Orthotics; and the Best Paper Award for technical innovation at the 13th World Congress of the International Society of Prosthetics and Orthotics (ISPO) in 2010. In October, Wu will receive the United States National Society of ISPO Lifetime Achievement Award.

In addition to being a physician, prosthetist, and researcher, Wu is an artist and sculptor whose works are exhibited internationally. Although he steps down from his positions at NU at the end of March, he will teach courses in dilatancy technology and plans to renew his creative work.

Editor’s note: This story was adapted from materials provided by R. J. Garrick, PhD, Northwestern University.

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