The Orthotic Department at Rancho Los Amigos Medical Center in affiliation with California State University, Dominguez Hills, offers a one year, post-graduate Certificate Course in Orthotics, combined with a clinical internship offering extensive patient treatment experience. The program, which is accredited by the National Commission on Orthotic-Prosthetic Education (NCOPE) (CAAHEP accreditation anticipated in 1998), is sponsored by the Los Amigos Research & Education Institute and is designed to prepare individuals for entry into the field of Orthotics at the practitioner level. It fulfills the certificate course requirement to sit for the American Board for Certification examination in Orthotics.
Rancho Los Amigos Medical Center, located in the Los Angeles suburb of Downey, is a major multi-disciplinary rehabilitation facility with an international reputation in orthopedics and rehabilitation. The Orthotic Department has developed a number of orthotic systems in use today including the HALO, the wrist-driven wrist-hand orthosis, and the Linear Mobile Arm Support.
This unique program offers highly personalized instruction to small classes of four or five students. Program didactics are combined with an integrated clinical internship in which students obtain approximately 1000 hours of clinical experience during the year. Studentís involvement with the clinical activities of the department provides subsidy to the education program and allows the program to keep tuition low.
Students receive a mixture of didactic and laboratory instruction as well as extensive interaction with patients in a wide variety of actual clinical settings. Students rotate through various clinical services to acquaint them with the prevalent pathologies and treatment philosophies. These include Spinal Cord Injury, Neurology, Spina Bifida, Muscle Disease, Diabetes, Arthritis, Pediatrics, and Post Polio.
The didactic portion of the course is divided into lower limb, upper limb, and spine. Each of these divisions contains instruction in anatomy, pathology, kinesiology, pathomechanics, and orthotic design principles. Other specialized classes include gait analysis, biomechanics, muscle testing, and strength of materials. The laboratory portion is designed to teach students the necessary fabrication skills.
During non-classroom time students are assigned one-on-one to a staff orthotist and are involved in a full range of patient activities, including evaluation, measuring, fabrication, and fitting of various orthoses. In addition, they attend such activities as out-patient clinics, ward rounds, and conferences.
Depending on the amount of lab activity, students spend varying amounts of time in the classroom. The remainder of each day is spent in patient-related activities. This program is designed to build competency in all aress of orthotic practice including patient management, system design and fabrication, fitting and problem-solving, and interaction with other health team members.
Classes begin in July of each year and the application deadline is December 31. Applicants must have at least a Bachelor degree and coursework in college-level algebra, psychology, biology, chemistry, computer science, and physics. Students are eligible for guaranteed student loans through the university.
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