Georgia Tech Students to Develop and Provide Prostheses to Underserved Patients

MPSO Students to Work With Atlanta's Good Samaritan Center

Atlanta’s Good Samaritan Health Center (GSHC) and Prosthetic Hope International, in cooperation with the Georgia Institute of Technology’s Master of Science in Prosthetics and Orthotics (MSPO) program, are opening the Prosthetic and Orthotic (P&O) Community Clinic at Good Samaritan. Second-year MSPO students will primarily operate the new P&O lab and will be supervised by Georgia Tech research scientist Rob Kistenberg and licensed prosthetists and orthotists.

“The P&O Clinic at the Good Samaritan Health Center is an extraordinary opportunity for the students in the MSPO program, as it will provide a real-world clinical experience in a comprehensive and holistic health care environment,” says Kistenberg. “The students will be able to combine their didactic education with their clinical and technical skills in a supervised setting to provide prostheses and orthoses to the underserved people in Atlanta. It’s a win-win-win for everyone.”

The clinic is being equipped and stocked through a grant from the St. Luke’s Episcopal Outreach Program. Students will start seeing patients in October.

Dr. Bill Warren founded the GSHC in 1998 in downtown Atlanta with the mission of providing quality healthcare to those unable to afford it. The center is a full-time healthcare home that provides care to uninsured and underserved individuals and families in metro Atlanta with medical, dental, mental health and health education services. Now in its 13th year of operation, GSHC has affiliate locations in Cobb and Gwinnett counties.

In 2010, more than 500 volunteers donated 10,000 hours of service and, together with the center’s full-time staff, provided more than 23,700 patient visits. Roughly 65 percent of those treated were uninsured working poor. Patients pay for services based on a greatly reduced sliding fee scale. Those who are unable to pay receive care at no charge.

Kistenberg is Georgia Tech’s coordinator of prosthetics and the co-director of the MSPO program. His research focus areas include the development of novel upper extremity prostheses and controls, functional aesthetic restoration, and evaluation and enhancement of prosthetic and orthotic rehabilitation services in developing nations.