June 17, 2008

Georgia Tech Debuts PhD in O&P

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The School of Applied Physiology at the Georgia Institute of Technology (Georgia Tech), Atlanta, Georgia, has announced the introduction of the world's first O&P PhD program. The PhD in Applied Physiology, Focus in Prosthetics and Orthotics program, will prepare students to become leading-edge academicians and research investigators in general rehabilitation medicine and specifically in orthotics and prosthetics, according to Georgia Tech. The program will accept three students per year in a collaboration with Georgia Tech's College of Engineering and nearby Emory University's school of medicine. Robert Gregor, PhD, the program's director, describes the program as "interdisciplinary education and research in biomechanics and the physiological basis of movement control." According to a university press release, "the flexible curriculum with a series of required and elective classes is designed to accommodate basic undergraduate preparation in engineering and the lifesciences as well as pre-professional applicants and post-professional applicants in the fields of medicine, prosthetics/orthotics, as well as physical and occupational therapy."

Two students have been accepted for fall 2008 classes, which begin August 18, and applications for the third position are still being accepted on a "rolling-deadline" basis, Gregor noted. With additional funding from the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the university will support each student for three years, including a stipend, tuition waiver, travel budget, and funding for related expenses.

Gregor commented that the program will provide "an education that is patient-based. We're focused on the interface between patient and device. We have good engineers who provide devices, but patients have to learn to use the systems to be effective."

Students and faculty in the program will also collaborate in research projects and educational experiences with students and faculty in the university's master of science in prosthetics and orthotics (MSPO) program, which includes 26 graduate faculty and over 50 clinical faculty residing in five separate schools at Georgia Tech, two schools at Georgia State, and two departments in the School of Medicine at Emory University.

For more information, contact Joy Daniell: joy.daniell@ap.gatech.edu

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