Sept. 4, 2003
CONTACT: Pamela Young

New Graduate Program at Eastern Michigan Addresses Acute
Need For Specialists in Orthotics, Prosthetics

YPSILANTI - More than 260,000 Americans lose a limb or are disabled each year due to vascular disease, trauma or cancer and that number is growing. However, the number of skilled professionals trained to help amputees and the disabled is not keeping pace.

Now, a new certificate program offered by Eastern Michigan University addresses the need for skilled professionals, called prosthetists and orthotists, who can help amputees and others with disabilities, regain a normal lifestyle.

Prosthetists design, fabricate and fit patients with artificial limbs. Orthotists design, construct and fit custom-made braces for patients with sports injuries or diseases such as arthritis or multiple sclerosis

“We are extremely excited about this program because it is the only university-affiliated graduate program in orthotics and prosthetics in Michigan,” said Douglas Briggs, associate professor at Eastern Michigan University and director of the program. “The need for certified prosthetists and orthotists is growing and this will help serve that need.”

Offered by the Division of Sports Medicine within EMU’s Department of Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance, the new 15-month graduate program is geared toward producing certified professionals who are trained in the latest advances in orthotics and prosthetics.

Orthotists, prosthetists and administrative staff from the University of Michigan Orthotics and Prosthetics Center (UMOPC) in Ann Arbor will provide clinical and teaching support.

“There is an international shortage of qualified, certified practitioners and that’s why this program is so important,” said Briggs. “The shortage of qualified graduates in the United States alone is so acute that by the year 2005, it is estimated that we will only be able to serve 55 percent of the persons needing orthotics or prosthetics.”

“We’re thrilled to be part of the program and we’re looking forward to teaching and helping to train future leaders of our field,” said Anita Liberman-Lampear, administrative director of the University of Michigan Orthotics and Prosthetics Center.

Students must have a bachelor’s degree in a related field to enroll in the program. The program consists of 31 credit hours, with classes scheduled during evenings and Saturdays. For more information, call 734.487.0090 or visit the website at

Eastern Michigan University is a public, comprehensive metropolitan university that offers programs in the arts, sciences and professions. EMU prepares students with the intellectual skills and practical experiences to succeed in their careers and lives, and to be better citizens.

Eastern Michigan University was recently named “A Best Midwestern College” by Princeton Review’s “The Best Midwestern Colleges: 150 Great Schools to Consider,” and a “best tuition value” by Kaplan’s “Unofficial, Unbiased Guide to the 328 Most Interesting Colleges.”

EDITOR’S NOTE: Looking for an expert source for a story? Check out EMU’s Eastern Experts on-line at